Lawrence J. Ferolie 1922-2012
He began his law career as a Winnebago County assistant state's attorney to Bill Nash; they later became law partners. In 1960, Larry was named city attorney under Mayor Ben Schleicher. In 1964, he opened what is now known as Ferolie & Perrecone, a practice focused on personal injury law. At one time, he was cited as "Winnebago County's Top Plaintiff Attorney".
Larry was an active member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Assn., serving as secretary and treasurer and as a member of the Board of Managers for 26 years. He also served several terms on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association, and served as chairman of its civil practice and procedure as well as tort law sections. He was particularly passionate about continuing education for lawyers, teaching about all aspects of personal injury trials around the nation.
He made more than 30 trips to Italy, reconnecting his American family with the Italian cousins his mother sent care packages to during World War II. He was never happier than when sitting with his extended Italian family at their winery, watching his grandchildren run through the vineyards. He was inducted into the Rockford Italian American Hall of Fame.
Larry's paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1895. Their son, Albert, met Tersilla Bottazzi in New York; they married, had two sons, Larry and younger brother, Charles, who died in 1990. They eventually moved to Rockford, settling on North First Street in an Italian neighborhood.
Larry attended grammar and high school in Rockford, playing football and contributing to the school newspaper. While in high school, he was cast as a lawyer in "Ladies of the Jury" and won his first case. He attended University of Illinois and returned to get his B.A. degree there after World War II in 1947. He received his law degree from John Marshall Law School In 1951. In 1991, the school awarded him a Citation of Merit as a Distinguished Alumni.
In World War II, Larry was a second lieutenant, infantry platoon leader in the 12th Armored Division, earning a Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge. He remained in the Army Reserves upon his return home.
Larry was also active in the Rockford community. He served on the Board of Directors of the Rockford Civic Assn., Crusader Community Health, sponsor of the Rockford Symphony, and was known for many years as the announcer for the Symphony's Summer Concerts at Sinnissippi Park. He was also a member of the American Lombardi Club, Giuseppi Verdi Society, Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Assn., St. James Men's Club, Justinian Society, University of Illinois Alumni Assn., and the University Club of Rockford, whose staff always made him feel at home.
Larry married Gloria Bonomo on April 21, 1951 and they were married for 50 years. She preceded him in death in 2004. They had five children, John, who died in 1992; Terry, who died in 2004, was married to Phil Benson and they have three children, Kristen, Kelly and Phil Jr.; Robert who is married to Mary, has four children, Nick, Sam, Julia and Jake; Carl and his wife, Robin have two children, Anthony and Giana; and Albert and his wife Lisa Wells have a son, Henry. Albert followed his father into the law. Carl and Robert are in sales.
For more than 50 years, he also regularly visited New Melleray, a Trappist monastery near Dubuque, Iowa, where he found great solace. The family would like to thank everyone there for their prayers and especially thank friend and law partner, Frank Perrecone and Sue Richardson, friend and caregiver for being such a loyal and positive force in their father's life during his last years.
Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at St. James Catholic Church, 428 N. Second St., Rockford. Burial in Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, at Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory, 1860 S. Mulford Rd., Rockford, and from 9 a.m. Saturday to time of service at the church. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130. To express condolences online, please visit www.fitzgeraldfh.com.
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