I never met or covered former U.S. Senator Charles Percy (I was still in junior high school when his political career ended) but I’ve always found him fascinating—evidence of a once-vibrant species that’s now essentially extinct.

Percy died over the weekend at 91, and while the Tribune‘s obit referred to him somewhat wistfully as a “moderate,” the Washington Post was more precise: he was a “liberal Republican” from a time when such things still existed.

Percy also occupied an unusual place in Chicago politics—a Republican with appeal in the black wards that provided the Daley machine its most consistent support.