For the first time since the passing of its leader, the Ogle County Board comes together for its September board meeting.
Chairman Kim Gouker passed in his Byron home last week.
Tuesday evening, board members honored their friend while looking to the future.
“[Gouker] served the citizens of Ogle County as a steadfast statesman committed to promoting and preserving our regional values and small town assets,” said Ogle County board member Benjamin Youman (Dist 1-R) .
A jacket and rose lay where Gouker once sat inside the board room at the Ogle County Courthouse.
“[The] jacket was really meaningful for us,” said Ogle Co. Board member Martin Typer (Dist 5-R). “Just to see it there like he’s still with us, we’ll certainly remember it that way.”
Board members say he was a generous man that cared for Ogle County.
“One of the nicest guys you’d run into,” said Ogle County Board Chairman John Finfrock (R). “He was driven to do what was right for the county and the people in it. It’s going to be a big loss.”
“It’s just hard to put it all into a few short words as to all what he has done,” said Typer. “With his vision for the future, he was a visionary.”
Ogle County Clerk Laura Cook worked alongside Gouker for seven years, she says he was a brilliant historian that genuinely loved government.
“He was just a great guy,” said Cook. “We worked with him very closely in the clerk’s office for a number of years. I’ve been in there for 20 years. We’re just going to miss him a lot.”
Cook says the characteristics that made the Chairman unique will be one of the things they’ll miss the most.
“Kim was always on his own time,” said Cook. “He would run a little bit late for a meeting but you knew he was going to be there eventually. We always teased him about being on Byron time.”
Board members further honored Gouker with a proclamation declaring September 21, 2019 as Kim Gouker Day. County officials say he loved to acknowledge others for their achievements and gave proclamations frequently.
“[Recognition to] football, basketball teams when they went to state or did things,” said Finfrock. “It was something he liked and we’re going to try and honor him in the same way.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Finfrock was elected and approved as the county board’s new chairman. He previously served as vice-chairman under Gouker.
Patricia Nordman (Dist 2-R) was elected as the county’s new vice chairman.