Former Macomb Major Passes Away

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

Members of the Macomb community are mourning over the loss of their former, long-time mayor, Robert Anstine, who died last Friday in Springfield, Ill.

After a short stint on the city council, the Industry, Ill. native was elected mayor of Macomb at the age of 36 in true wunderkind-fashion. Anstine made himself at home in the mayor’s chair, where he was eventually re-elected six times, and would become the longestserving mayor in the history of Macomb.

After his tenure as mayor, Anstine had the pleasure of working under thengovernor Jim Edgar as an assistant in Springfield, Ill. He would later become the senior advisor at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, further showcasing his success in politics.

Edgar recalled Anstine’s passion and trustworthiness. “Bob (Anstine) was a public servant at heart. He was on the front line of providing service and leadership to his community,” Edgar said. “Bob was someone I relied upon for wise and common sense advice when dealing with issues involving local governments in Illinois.”

Anstine was responsible for the inception of Heritage Days, a long-running tradition in the Macomb community. Additionally, he served as the president of the Illinois Municipal League, which was a group that included over 1,200 fellow Illinois mayors, while also helping start the Macomb Area Industrial Development Corporation, the Macomb Downtown Development Corporation, and the Macomb Public Building Commission.

The 1959 University of Iowa graduate was still active following his political days; he was president of the McDonough County Historical Society, co-founder of the Macomb Community Foundation, board member of the Friends of Oakwood Cemetery and the McDonough County Cancer Society, all while continuing to contribute to society as a civic leader.

He went back to work as a part-time pharmacist, circling back to a career he had decades prior. Anstine was a licensed pharmacist in three states and was recognized with the Bowl Hygeia award, designed to honor pharmacists with an exceptional community service record. He also served in the Air Force National Guard, where the crisis in Berlin forced President Kennedy to call Anstine to active duty in 1961.

Mayor Mike Inman was impressed with Anstine’s work ethic when remembering the former mayor. “He never fully embraced this idea of retirement,” Inman said, emphasizing how committed and active Anstine had been in the community. Reverend Dr. Howard White officiated Anstine’s funeral, which was held on Thursday, May 3, in the Oakwood Cemetery in Macomb. Those close to Anstine described him as “loving, thoughtful, and easy going,” and someone who always found time to contribute to society despite his busy and demanding career.