Merle Le Sage

Merle LeSage (October 13, 1925 – January 8, 2005) was a mayor best known for his mayoral tenure in Geneseo, IL lasting approximately five years. Though living a long and active life, LeSage will be best remembered posthumously. Speaking before the Mark Foley scandal came to light, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert eulogized LeSage:

Geneseo has lost a tremendous leader in the passing of its Mayor, Merle LeSage. Anyone who knew Merle knew of his deep commitment to the Geneseo community. From leading efforts to improve resident services to glowing over the latest Geneseo football victory, he loved the community and never stopped envisioning what was possible.

LeSage founded the University of Illinois Alumni Association in 1956. He was also the CEO of Chicago Order Buyers Inc. During his career, he purchased more than 1 million head of hogs, which even animal rights activists have ultimately agreed is impressive.

In 2002, LeSage caused a small amount of controversy by stating that September 11 had hurt Geneseo's chances of obtaining a rail depot. Luckily, most citizens in town were more concerned with American flag decals, which LeSage unabashedly supported. Later, in reference to the prevalence of "Support the Troops" stickers in the town during the early stages of the Iraq war, LeSage mused "The entire community should be proud of what has been done over the past year and excited about what is to come." He then immediately declared his candidacy by stating "And I'm not just saying that because I will once again be throwing my hat into the ring for re-election."

Merle LeSage was succeeded as mayor by Patrick Eberhardt by the former's death and a vote of city council members in January 2005.

Merle married Mary Louise Houser on July 16, 1950 in Rushville, IL. Mary died 1/11/1998 in Geneseo, IL. They are the parents of William Logan LeSage born 9/20/1960, John Merle LeSage born 9/29/1963 and Jane Louise LeSage born 11/7/1966.

All 3 children were educated in Geneseo, IL and graduated from JD Darnall High School. Son, John is a 1986 graduated of the University of Illinois and is a legacy to his Father as an AGR. John holds a BS Degree is Agriculture Communications and resides in Greenwood, IN with his wife Lori(Utterback), also reared in Geneseo, IL and son, Jacob Ian LeSage. John's adult stepdaughter, Jessica Mariman and grandson Jayden Hawkins reside in Indianapolis. John is a TV News Photographer for WISH-TV. Daughter Jane, graduated from Illinois College with a degree in Music Education. She has obtained a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University, resides in Pekin, IL, teaching Music for Pekin Schools. Jane will be marrying Matthew Stropes also from Pekin, IL on June 21, 2008 in Pekin. The oldest son Bill and family reside in rural Kewanee, IL. Bill has carried on in his father's footsteps with his love of farming and buying Hogs for Weichman Pig. He is married to Laurel Hepner, reared in Kewanee, IL and together they are the parents of Amanda Laurel and Brandon Merle. Amanda will be graduating with an Nursing degree in May 2008 from St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, IL.

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