By Mary Wisniewski
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former Illinois Governor Daniel Walker, a Democrat who walked across the state talking to voters before his 1972 election and later went to prison for bank fraud, has died at the age of 92, the state's current governor said on Wednesday.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, expressed his condolences to Walker's family and friends in a statement, saying he and his wife Diana were "saddened" to hear of Walker's passing.
Walker died at his home in California, the Chicago Tribune said, citing his family.
"He fervently believed in the power of democracy and the importance of including everyone in our democracy," said former Governor Pat Quinn, a fellow Democrat. "He loved his family and leaves behind many friends. His patriotism, service and compassion will never be forgotten."
Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in California, Walker had served two tours of duty with the Navy, during World War II and again during the Korean War. Between tours with the Navy, Walker received a law degree from Northwestern University, according to the Illinois Blue Book, a state record of facts and history.
As a lawyer, Walker specialized in trial work and was a member of the Chicago Crime Commission from 1957 to 1971. He directed the team which reported in 1968 on the conflict-filled Democratic National Convention. The "Walker Report" was controversial, describing Chicago police violence against protesters and bystanders as a "police riot."
Walker walked 1,197 miles as part of his campaign for governor, and served one term from 1973 to 1977.
Ten years later, he was sentenced to federal prison for fraudulently obtaining bank loans, and served about 17 months.
He was among four Illinois governors in the last 50 years to be convicted of federal criminal charges - the others were Otto Kerner, Jr., George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Walker's conviction was not related to his term as governor.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Lisa Lambert)