URBANA – Another candidate has stepped forward to run for Champaign County coroner next year.
Republican Steve Thuney, deputy chief of the coroner’s office, initially had no plans to run for the office, but said he changed his mind last week after speaking with Coroner Duane Northrup.
Northrup resigned and will leave Nov. 30. Thuney will lead the charge between then and next year’s elections.
So far, two Democrats have also said they plan to run. They include Laurie Brauer, a deputy coroner who works with Thuney, and Champaign funeral home owner Seon Williams.
Thuney, 58, of Champaign grew up in Urbana and has worked in the coroner’s office for more than 13 years.
He started in the coroner’s office as a chief deputy and before that as a loss prevention manager for Bergner stores in the central Illinois area.
“I’ve had some really great jobs,” he said.
Thuney also worked in the volunteer fire department for 36 years.
He started with the Edge-Scott Fire Protection District, then served as chief of the Carroll district, then went to the Tolono district as an instructor and investigator, then returned to Edge-Scott in 2015, where he is currently chief.
The coroner’s office has a big learning curve, he said.
“You learn something new every day,” he said. “It’s not a job where you can walk in and say, ‘Hey, I can do this.’”
Thuney said a big challenge ahead will be finding a new forensic pathologist to replace Dr. Shiping Bao, who will leave in December.