With the death last week of Thomas Harrington Sr., Champaign-Urbana lost one of its leading citizens.
A onetime high school and college athlete who became a successful lawyer and businessman, Thomas Harrington Sr. died last week. During his long life, the 81-year-old Mr. Harrington, was involved in a variety of major local commercial and charitable endeavors. Indeed, it is hard to think of many local activities in which Mr. Harrington did not participate.
He served on the board of the Carle Foundation, was the lead fundraiser in the effort to build the High School of St. Thomas More and was honored with the Honorary Varsity "I" Man for his support of University of Illinois athletics.
But he was best known as a highly effective lawyer who followed his father into the legal profession after graduating in 1955 from the University of Illinois College of Law. In fact, Mr. Harrington not only practiced law with his father, but with a brother and later a son and grandsons. But his greatest local impact may have been as a developer who literally changed the face of Champaign-Urbana, particularly on its southwest corner.
One of Mr. Harrington's close friends, former Champaign High School classmate George Shapland, summed things up best when he said that Mr. Harrington was "just a good citizen," the kind of person communities need more of to move ahead.