Springfield woman recognized with state's highest civilian honor for public service

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Evelyn Brandt Thomas, one of the founders of the worldwide agri-business Brandt Consolidated, Inc. headquartered in Springfield, was named a 2024 recipient of the Order of Lincoln, the state’s highest civilian honor for professional achievement and public service.

The Lincoln Laureates, which include Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Thome and bluegrass music legend Alison Krauss, were named by the governor's office late Monday.

There will be a convocation and investiture ceremony at the Chicago History Museum on April 13.

Evelyn Brandt Thomas of Springfield was named a 2024 Lincoln Laureate by the governor's office.
Evelyn Brandt Thomas of Springfield was named a 2024 Lincoln Laureate by the governor's office.

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Brandt Thomas, who turned 100 last summer, still goes into the West Koke Mill Road office every day. She is involved with Brandt's charitable and philanthropic work.

Brandt Thomas was the 2022 State Journal-Register First Citizen.

In August, the Evelyn Brandt Thomas Innovation Center was dedicated at Brandt's facility in Pleasant Plains. The site has a 300-acre research farm and test plots and is close to Salisbury Township, where she was born.

Brandt Thomas and her brother, Glen, founded Brandt's 70 years ago. The company now has a footprint in 80 countries.

Farm World called Brandt Thomas “a pioneer who helped create an agricultural empire.”

Evelyn Brandt Thomas in the board room of Brandt Consolidated, Inc. in Springfield in 2022.
Evelyn Brandt Thomas in the board room of Brandt Consolidated, Inc. in Springfield in 2022.

Among the other Lincoln Laureates is former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice and Aurora native Rita B. Garman.

In a press release, Gov. JB Pritzker said the Lincoln Laureates "embody the spirit of our state. I am honored to recognize them for their service and dedication to Illinois.”

Thome, a Peoria native, clubbed 612 home runs in 22 seasons for the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, and Baltimore Orioles. He was a five-time All-Star.

Born in Decatur and raised in Champaign, Krauss has won 27 Grammy Awards in her career. She has sold more than 12 million records to date and has made 14 albums, including two collaborations with Robert Plant, with whom she is touring later this year.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788; sspearie@sj-r.com; X, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: 100-year-old Springfield woman named Lincoln Laureate with Jim Thome