Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

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Hiram Paley

Hiram Paley, 78, of Urbana, died on January 9, 2012.

Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm, Champaign, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Born in Rochester, NY, on September 9, 1933, he was the son of the late Lesser andpaley Zelda Paley. After attending Monroe High School in Rochester, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics (1955). He followed with MA and PhD degrees in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956 and 1959.

Paley came to the University of Illinois in 1959 as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 2003. In 1989-1991, he taught college math courses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA). This experience instilled in him a newfound love of travel.

Paley served two terms as alderman on the Urbana City Council (1967-1973) and one term as Mayor of Urbana (1973-1977). He was an active member of the local Democratic Party from 1962 until his death, and was proud to serve as Chair of Senator Dick Durbin’s Champaign County campaign in 1996, 2002 and 2008. His activism also led to terms on the boards of the Urban League of Champaign County and the CCDC Foundation in the 1980s; and on the board of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Champaign County (known formerly as the Champaign County Memorial Society) from 1986-2002, with a term as President from 2000-2002.

Paley was particularly proud of his work for the ACLU. A member since 1960, he served multiple times as the Champaign Chapter Representative to the Illinois ACLU, as well as on the ACLU’s state board. In 2005, he received the Roger Baldwin Award of the Illinois ACLU for a lifetime of service to civil rights and civil liberties.

In 1981, following a course in darkroom photography at Parkland College, Paley joined the Champaign County Camera Club and was an active member until his death, serving multiple terms as President. In 2004-2006, Paley served as President of the Central Illinois Camera Clubs Association. Paley was instrumental in organizing an annual community Best in Show photo competition.

Paley was a dedicated Illinois athletics fan, and he and his wife rarely missed a home men’s basketball game, even during the course of his illness. He also enjoyed attending events with his wife at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, a short walk from their near-campus home.

Hiram is survived by his wife of fifty years, Jean Passovoy Paley; son Joshua (Suzanne) of Redwood City, CA; daughters Elizabeth (Stefan) of Durham, NC, and Nina of New York, NY; grandchildren Allison, Karen, Trevor, and Elias; sister Marcia (Morton) Camac of Lexington, MA; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. He instilled in his family the importance of staying true to one's values and fighting for what's right, and that love can be expressed in all sorts of ways, including baking bread and doing triple integrals.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the Illinois Affiliate of the ACLU, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2300, Chicago, IL, 60601-9919; the Roy Brahana Fund for Undergraduate Education in the Dept. of Mathematics at UIUC; and the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, 333 Mamaroneck Avenue, #492, White Plains, NY 10605.

A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, March 10, 2012, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Illinois Terminal Building, 4th Floor (City View North), in Champaign. The family would love to have you join them in celebrating a life well lived.

Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Jack and I send our heartfelt condolences to all of you; Hi was a stalwart in Urbana and in the campus community. His efforts were appreciated by all. Hoping that your grief is ameliorated by the outpouring of sympathy you'll be receiving and by your memories of his many good deeds.

With affection,

Nina Baym and Jack Stillinger


Dear Jean and family,

Thinking of you at this time. I first met Hiram and the family when Joshua was barely a toddler, before Elizabeth and Nina came along. I always enjoyed the hours I spent in your home, babysitting for the children. Talking to Hiram was always a delight, up through our association with the Camera Club contests in more recent years when The News-Gazette was involved. Such nice memories.

Wishing you well.

Best regards,

Sally Weeks
Brownsville, Texas


Jean and all of your family,

Sadness at the loss of Hiram is being expressed throughout the community. Simply, I am joining with the many in saying that he has left a lasting memory for the Paley Family and all of Urbana-Champaign plus the Democrats.

Warm regards, Pattsi Petrie


Dear Jean and Family,

We are so sorry to hear of Hiram's passing.

Even though he had been suffering for so long it is still a shock to know that he is no longer with us.

He was such a wonderful, kind and generous man; a good friend and
loving father and husband; a wonderful human being who cared deeply for the rights of others and who was not afraid to stand up for those rights.

He was a standard bearer for those of us lucky enough to have crossed his path in life, and life will not be quite the same without him.

We hope that you can find comfort and consolation in the family and friends around you at this time and that you all have a long and fulfilling life.

With best wishes,

Elliot and Rosalind Weinberg


Dear Family of Prof. Paley,

My husband, John, and I are both graduates of the math department at UIUC. We are fortunate to benefit from Prof Paley's educational contributions. Prof Paley was such a dedicated and devoted teacher, author, supporter of his community, and role model. He gave so much of himself in his professional life and I am sure he also did the same in his personal life. He leaves a huge void that cannot be filled.

We send you our greatest sympathy and prayers for your mourning to be lightened.
May God bless you and keep you all in his grace,

Janet and John Spoonamore
Morrisville, NC 27560


Dear Jean,

We were deeply saddened to hear of Hiram’s death. He will indeed be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues, but more importantly by the Champaign-Urbana community that he served so well for so very many years. His contributions to civil rights, civil liberties, and fundamental human rights throughout his adult life are an impressive legacy. Not many men leave behind such a record.

You and your family are in our thoughts.


Pat Simpson and John Elder


Dear Jean and Family,

I am saddened to hear of your loss and you have my condolences. It was my pleasure to speak with Hiram this fall. His contributions to our community, both educational and political, will be felt for a long time. I personally appreciated his well wishes and support for my own endeavors and I am glad that I had the chance to converse with him one more time. He will certainly be missed and remembered. May your memories console you in the days ahead.


George Danos