Urbana has lost one of its best-known and best-liked citizens.
Former Urbana Mayor Hiram Paley, who died Monday at age 78, was a man of many passions and interests.
Perhaps best known for serving 12 years as an elected official in Urbana city government, he spent decades on the fringes of politics in the service of many different causes.
He was a man of unswerving principles, and for that he deserves respect.
But Paley had many other interests besides politics and government. Most prominently, there was his professional life as a math professor. He joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1959 after receiving his doctorate in mathematics and stayed until his retirement in 2003.
Paley also was an enthusiastic photographer, joining and later reviving a local camera club. An avid sports fan, he followed UI sports closely and was a regular at the Assembly Hall for Fighting Illini basketball games.
Behind his gentle exterior, he was a fighter. Paley battled cancer for years with the same vigor he brought to his political activities before succumbing to the disease.
He was an amiable conversationalist, a worthy political opponent, loyal supporter of favored causes and a good friend to many.
In short, he was the kind of person who helps make Champaign-Urbana such an interesting and lively place, and he will be missed.