Other Investigations

Still More On Galvin Murders

A research colleague of mine recently revisited the old Normandy Place neighborhood in Evanston, Illinois, where Motorola founder Paul Galvin, his wife Lillian, and son Bob all were living when Lillian was shot to death in October 1942. Household maid Edna Sibilski similarly was killed there at the same time. In this latest visit, my colleague was provided with additional information which strongly supports the analysis of the case previously offered on this website.

After initially concluding that the Galvin murders must have been “a family affair,” my first suspicion fell on Paul Galvin just by playing the odds. Far more wives are murdered by husbands that mothers are killed by sons. And Paul Galvin certainly had a motive with an increasingly dysfunctional marriage — including apparent infidelity on her part — at a time and place in which divorces under those circumstances would have been exceedingly messy, difficult, and expensive. Accordingly, I wondered if Paul might have arranged a professional “hit” on Lillian when he conveniently happened to be out- of-town. 

I subsequently have been persuaded, however, to shift the blame to son Bob Galvin as homicides actually committed by him in the course of what may have been an acute psychotic break on his part. In addition to his anger at his mother over her seeming marital betrayal of her husband, her growing disregard for Bob’s much-loved and respected father, she also reportedly was refusing to help Bob in covering sizable mob-bookie gambling debts that probably had become dangerously overdue for payment. 

In the current visit to the old Galvin neighborhood in Evanston, my colleague knocked on a few doors, finally finding a man in one nearby residence whose family had been living there continuously all the way back to the early 1940s. Based on what he had been told over the years by deceased relatives, that fellow volunteered the following:

(1) It had been quite common knowledge in that neighborhood back in 1942 that the Galvin murders were “an inside job,” committed by one of the Galvin men. 

(2) Lillian Galvin had been the intended victim, with maid Edna Sibilski also killed just because she was present as a witness. 

(3) Close law enforcement friends of the Galvins took control of the case away from Evanston PD to cover-up what really happened to protect the remaining Galvin family. 

The related personal breakdown which son Bob Galvin evidently suffered at the time must have been a severe one. In addition to his prompt medical discharge from the U.S. Army while still in special training in Chicago and able to live at home, Bob looks to have been laid up on a very lengthy road to recovery for perhaps a year and a half or so after the violent episode in October 1942. Family documents reveal that Bob was not sufficiently back on his feet to accept employment by his father’s company until some point in 1944. But he eventually even rose to become CEO of Motorola himself after his father Paul’s death. 

Paul Galvin died in 1959 while his son Bob Galvin died much more recently in 2011. And Bob’s authorized obituary tellingly omitted any mention whatsoever of his murdered mother Lillian. 


Copyright © 2020 Don Devereux, All Rights Reserved

Journalists, historians, teachers, and students are free to quote from any of this material in writings of their own, provided that they do so with proper attribution and acknowledgement of applicable copyrights.

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