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E. George Thiem, Two-time Pulitzer Winner, Dies At Age 90

July 10, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ E. George Thiem, an investigative reporter who twice won the Pulitzer Prize at the Chicago Daily News, has died at age 90.

He died Wednesday in an Evanston nursing home on his birthday.

The Daily News, which folded in 1978, won a public-service Pulitzer in 1949 based on reporting by Thiem, who along with Roy J. Harris of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, uncovered 51 newspaper employees secretly on the payroll of Gov. Dwight Green.

In 1956, Thiem won another public-service Pulitzer for digging up one of the biggest scandals in Illinois history: the embezzling of $2.5 million by state Auditor Orville Hodge.

After Hodge went to jail, Gov. William Stratton was urged to sponsor Thiem for public office. ″Tell ’em I’d rather be a reporter,″ Thiem responded.

However, Thiem did enter politics after retiring as a full-time reporter in 1962. A Republican, he was elected to an at-large seat in the Illinois House in 1964 and was a Sanitary District trustee from 1966-74.

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1921, he edited Prairie Farm magazine and was information officer for the Illinois Agricultural Association.

He became farm editor of the Daily News in 1942 and exposed wartime black- market sales of beef and veal, and testified before a Congressional committee.

Switching to political reporting, he opened the Daily News Springfield bureau in 1949.

Thiem did not always relish exposing wrongdoers. In 1966, as a Daily News consultant, he discovered that a farm boy who raised a steer that won an International Live Stock Exposition prize had given the animal an illegal injection.

″George reported the fraud in full,″ Editor Roy M. Fisher later wrote. ″But his typewriter wept tears. ‘It was the hardest story I ever wrote,’ he said.‴

A memorial service was planned Sunday in Evanston. Burial will be in Morrison.

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