Adlai E. Stevenson III

Adlai E. Stevenson III

Adlai Ewing Stevenson III, died peacefully after a long illness on Monday, September 6, 2021, at his home in Chicago with his family holding his hand. A simple graveside gathering for family and local friends will be at 1 PM on Saturday, September 11, 2021, in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Irish Hollow Road, rural Galena, IL. The Furlong Funeral Chapel, Galena is assisting the family.

Born into an Illinois political family, Adlai E. Stevenson III carved a path through American politics that placed him at the forefront of leaders who foresaw the nature of the post-WWII order and prepared the United States to thrive within it. The son of Illinois Governor (1949-1953) and two-time Democratic nominee for President Adlai Stevenson II, and great-grandson of former Vice President Adlai Stevenson, Senator Stevenson employed his legacy and institutional savvy to promote future-oriented policies in finance, technology, and innovation to sustain the United States’ leadership position in the collaborative world order.

As comfortable at his farm near Galena, IL as he was in the halls of power in Washington, Senator Stevenson epitomized a generation of American political leadership that was able to connect the heart of America to the forward-looking policies that would sustain its primacy in world affairs.

Stevenson was born in Chicago, IL in 1930, the son of Adlai Stevenson and Ellen Borden. He attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts, Harvard College (1952), and Harvard Law School (1957.) Stevenson was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952, served in Korea, and was discharged from active duty in 1954. He continued to serve in the Marine Reserves and was discharged in 1961 as a captain.

Stevenson met his future wife, Nancy Anderson, in 1953 while he was in tank training at Fort Knox, Kentucky in preparation for his deployment to Japan and then Korea. The couple was married in 1955 at Nancy’s home outside of Louisville.

After serving in the Illinois House of Representatives (1965-1967) and as Illinois State Treasurer (1967-70) Stevenson was elected to the United States Senate in a 1970 election to fill the balance of the term of Everett Dirksen who died in office. He was reelected in 1974.

In the Senate, Stevenson served on the Commerce Committee (Chairman of the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space,) Banking Committee (Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Finance), and Intelligence Committee (Chairman, Subcommittee on the Collection and Production of Intelligence.) A reformer, he served as the first Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and Chairman of a Special Committee which led the first major reorganization of the Senate since its Committee was formed in the early 19th Century

Stevenson co-authored the energy legislation of the mid-1970s as Chair of the Senate
Subcommittee on Oil and Gas Production, including legislation to establish the Department of Energy, fuel efficiency standards, emergency natural gas pricing, and projects for the development of alternative energy sources. To promote economic competitiveness, he authored the Stevenson Wydler Technology Innovation Act which spurred cooperative research, and the technological innovation which followed in the 1990s. Stevenson’s experience in the Middle East led him to conduct the first in-depth Congressional studies of terrorism, introducing the Comprehensive Anti -Terrorism Act of 1979 with predictions of “spectacular acts of destruction and disruption” and an “international terrorist scene.”

Stevenson opted to not run for reelection in 1980 and returned to Illinois to practice law and mount a campaign for Governor against incumbent Republican James R. Thompson. The 1982 contest ended up in court when the final tally showed Stevenson trailing by 5,074, or 0.14 percent of the nearly 3.7 million votes cast.

Four years later Stevenson’s second attempt at the Governor’s Mansion was derailed in the March Primary when the candidates he supported for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State were upset by followers of the controversial, fringe gadfly Lyndon LaRouche. Stevenson was forced to resign his Democratic nomination and form a third party which doomed his chances. He said at the time he “would never run on a ticket with candidates who espouse the hate-filled folly of Lyndon LaRouche.” Though Stevenson went down to defeat along with his third-party candidates for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of state, all the other Democratic statewide candidates and nearly all the other Democrats on the ballot won their races.

In and out of government, Stevenson’s career had focused on international issues, especially in finance and East Asia, including the development of an East Asian monetary regime which he saw as part of the foundation for a global monetary regime grounded on the International Monetary Fund but reflecting the shift of economic resources to the East. He was a past President of the U.S. Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, former Co-Chair of East Asia Financial Markets Development Project, former President and Chairman of the Japan America
Society of Chicago, former Chairman of the Midwest U.S. Japan Association, a member of the U.S. Korea Wisemen Council, the Advisory Board of the Korea Economic Institute, and member of the U.S. Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific.

He was Chairman of SC&M Investment Management Company (the first Sino-U.S. financial intermediary, Founder, and Chairman of the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy, and Chairman of the Midwest U.S. China Association. He authored “The Black Book” which records American politics and history as his family knew it over five generations of active engagement, starting with Abraham Lincoln in central Illinois.

Stevenson’s eldest grandchild, Kate Neher, wrote to him in a letter shortly before his death: “Sometimes, when I’m being flippant about my family’s history, I say I’m ‘descended from a long line of politicians who were too idealistic for their own good.’ I value the way you’ve always seemed to approach politics–with honesty and a stubborn belief that the right and the thoughtful thing is worth doing, even when it’s not the most advantageous thing.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, and brothers John and Borden. Adlai and Nancy have four children, Adlai IV (Adlai IV (former wife Barbara Ligner Stevenson), Lucy Stevenson (Husband Christopher Neher), Katherine Stevenson (husband Larry Kramer), and Warwick Stevenson (wife Winifred Stevenson). Adlai and Nancy also have nine grandchildren, Adlai Stevenson V, Katherine Neher, Anna Neher Johnston, Maxwell Kramer, Benjamin Kramer, Toby Bahrmasel, Jonas Bahrmasel, Olivia Bahrmasel and Liam Bahrmasel.

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