The medical examiner’s office will need to conduct further tests before determining the cause of death for Evanston township assessor-elect Sharon Eckersall.
A neighbor found Eckersall, 69, unresponsive Wednesday morning in her home in the 2500 block of Ashland Avenue, according to police. She was slated to take office in January, when current township assessor Bonnie Wilson retires.
A representative for the medical examiner’s office told Patch Thursday that doctors are now waiting for the results of a toxicology test, among other tests. Those tests could take up to eight weeks, according to Evanston Police Cmdr. Jason Parrott.
Parrott said police have not found any signs of foul play in her death. However, he said police ordered an autopsy because no one witnessed her death, because her family did not report any medical issues, and because there were no signs that anybody harmed her or that she harmed herself.
Eckersall served for three terms as Evanston township assessor before Bonnie Wilson took office, and ran a failed campaign for Cook County assessor in 2009.
“The Township of the City of Evanston was truly saddened to hear of the passing of Sharon Eckersall,” Wilson said in a statement along with township supervisor Gary Gaspard. “We would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Eckersall family.”
Outside of elected office, Eckersall had a long career as a real estate with Coldwell Banker. Barbara Haran, managing broker for the Evanston office, described her as an extremely hard worker.
“You would always find her in the office at night and over the weekend,” Haran said in a statement. “Her strong work ethic was also evident in her role as the Evanston Township Assessor and as a foster parent to many golden retrievers in need. The agents in my office and I will miss her greatly.”
In a strange coincidence, Eckersall happened to be the owner of a golden retriever that recently mauled a smaller dog, according to Evanston Police Cmdr. Jason Parrott. The smaller dog’s owner decided to put the dog down, based on the severity of its injuries.
The two dogs got into a fight, and their owners separated them, then went their separate ways, according to Parrott. When the owner of the smaller dog had to put her dog down, she contacted police, looking for the golden retriever’s owner. Eckersall came forward after she heard police were looking for her, and there were no charges against her.
“She was an advocate for animals,” he said. “It was just an unfortunate tragedy that occurred between her dog and another dog.”