MADISON — Former Madison mayor and Democratic Party chairman John Bellcoff has passed away at age 90.
Bellcoff died on Sunday at Relais Bonne Eau Hospice House in Edwardsville.
He was born in Madison in 1922, and lived there most of his life. He graduated from Madison High School in 1940, and married Diana Nickoloff in 1959. He attended Washington University and worked with his father at Bellcoff and Son Grocery in Madison until he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant.
After returning from the war, Bellcoff worked at First National Bank in Madison until he retired in 1993 as vice president. He was also a firefighter for 21 years, eventually serving as assistant fire chief.
But he was more widely known for public service. First elected to the Madison School Board in 1951, he served 19 years there, 15 as board president. He served as city clerk from 1967 to 1985, when he was elected mayor. He served 12 years as mayor of Madison, retiring in 1997, and as Democratic Party chairman from 1990 to 1994.
"We have lost a great friend and gentleman, and he will be missed," said Jim Stack, current Madison County Democratic Party chairman.
Bellcoff is survived by his wife and daughters. Visitation will take place 2-8 p.m. Friday at Irwin Chapel in Granite City, with a Panikhida wake at 6:30 p.m. and a Masonic service at 7 p.m. Funeral Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in Madison. Burial will be in Sunset Hill Memorial Estates in Glen Carbon.
Donations are requested to the John Bellcoff Tamburitzan Scholarship at Southwestern Illinois College Foundation, or to Hospice of Southern Illinois Relais Bonne Eau Hospice House in Edwardsville.