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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) -Illinois Governor Pat Quinn remembers Joel Brunsvold as the man who led efforts to build the World Shooting Complex in Sparta.

Brunsvold died Tuesday after suffering a stroke.

The 68-year-old represented part of the Quad Cities for twenty years in the General Assembly.

It was during Brunsvold’s stint as director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that the Shooting Complex became a reality.

and this from another paper...

Joel Brunsvold, a former chief of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and before that a longtime state lawmaker, died early Tuesday after suffering a stroke over the weekend.

Brunsvold, 68, was taken to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa, where he died at 12:08 a.m. Tuesday.

Joel Brunsvold was a former chief of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and before that a longtime state lawmaker.
“He was a humble giant,” said former state Sen. Denny Jacobs (D-East Moline).

Brunsvold, an avid outdoorsman and gun-rights advocate, served in the Illinois House from 1983 to 2003, representing the Quad Cities area of northwestern Illinois.

In 2003, Brunsvold left House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership team to head the Department of Natural Resources under then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. His relationship with Blagojevich strained, Brunsvold left that post in late 2005 and began working as a lobbyist. Jacobs said Brunsvold thought the ex-governor had “emasculated” his agency.

“I know he never forgave Blagojevich for that,” Jacobs said.

His Obituary:

Former Illinois State Representative and former Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Joel D. Brunsvold, 68, of Milan, died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Iowa City.

Funeral services are 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 115 W. 12th Ave., Milan. Visitation is 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.

Another prospective of the man who advocated the Outdoors:

Joel Brunsvold was a big shooter. He was one of the most politically connected to ever head the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or its predecessor, the Department of Conservation.

Mr. Brunsvold, 68, died early Tuesday after suffering a massive stroke over the weekend.

Even before he took his dream job -- 'This is a labor of love' -- as IDNR director in April 2003, Mr. Brunsvold was dealing in Illinois outdoors and politics in a big way.

He was an insider.

He and the late Republican state Sen. Harry 'Babe' Woodyard were co-founders of the bipartisan Illinois Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus. During a 20-year career in Springfield, Mr.Brunsvold rose to be the No. 2 Democrat in the House.

I had big hopes when he became IDNR director for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. With Democrats in office, I hoped more of the IDNR money would end up in the Chicago area. Mr. Brunsvold had big plans for the department. He hoped to leave his mark on the IDNR by funding land acquisition.

'We need a flow of money specifically targeted at land acquisition,' he said in 2003. 'We need a dedicated flow of money. If you can get that source of revenue and restrict it to that, then it is harder to mess with.'

Dedicated funding sources for Illinois outdoors remains a distant dream to this day.

Mr. Brunsvold saw his other major role with the Blagojevich administration as representing hunters and shooters.

'I am here to supply Blagojevich with information about sportsmen and shooting sports,' he said. 'He needs to have someone on staff who knows the issue. I am going to argue our issues as vehemently as possible.'

Within a short period of time, it went to pieces. The IDNR saw a quarter of its work force slashed. Mr.Brunsvold was left to patch together a working department with a demoralized work force.

It was not pretty.

The former insider was looking in from outside. He resigned as IDNR director in December 2005.

But Mr. Brunsvold leaves lasting monuments in Illinois outdoors.

Beside the sportsman's caucus, his legacy includes the World Shooting & Recreational Complex, the monument to shooting sports in Sparta.

I will miss Mr. Brunsvold. We started off on a good footing. It became rockier during the gutting under Blagojevich. To the end, I could depend on him to give me his straight opinion.

During the tumultuous days when Blagojevich was booted from office and Gov. Quinn took over, I called Mr. Brunsvold. He had some sharp opinions on Quinn's notion that a 'natural resources professional' should run the IDNR.

'Professional what?' Mr. Brunsvold fumed. 'As I told you before, we have 100 biologists over there. I never took a sample of water. You don't need to be a biologist or chemist. It is a PR and an administrative job. ... PR is probably more important.

'I was a science teacher and an outdoorsman. ... It is more important being somebody who can get out and meet the public and put staff together as an administrator.'

There's a lot of truth there.

It took a non-professional like Mr. Brunsvold to at least open perch fishing for kids in July on Lake Michigan again.

Some of us remember that.

3,536 Posts
I had the pleasure of hunting and shooting with Joel on a few occassions and he may well be one of the last true outdoorsman to hold a high political office. He called a spade a spade and did many many good things for the sportsmen in the state of Illinois. And anyone that lives here knows all to well how politically corrupt this state is. It is not just the Govoner's office here that is corrupt. Joel was one of the good guys in a state full of hypocrits and liars. He will be missed and has been missed even before now. Godspeed to Joel and God bless his family and friends.

9,529 Posts
I had several conversations with Joel Brunsvold during the time the ATA was considering moving to Sparta. He spent several hours in the Delegates locker room at Vandalia. He was a very impressive Gentleman. He was a Democrat, but I would not hesitate voting for him to represent me. He will be missed in Southern Illinois.

Pat Ireland

Well-Known Member
5,060 Posts
In 1998, when the Naperville range was temporarily closed pending EPA action, I was fortunate to make Joel Brunsvold's acquaintance through my state rep at the time. He was a take action type of guy who made the calls that needed to be made and got the IL EPA moving in our favor.

Over the years, I was pleased to support the Sportsmen's Caucus auctions and dinners with donations as well as dollars. His presence was tremendous in any room he was in.

Even after our range reopened, we managed to keep in touch... Joel was one helluva guy!

regards all,

Jay Spitz

Premium Member
10,498 Posts
His name should have been on the entry sign, instead of that dope Blagoavich's name. Rod had nothing to do with the WSRC other than visiting it once in during an election year.

I didn't know him but knew his efforts there. Thanks Joel.
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