Louis James Perona 1928-2016
Mass of Christian burial will be at 11:00 AM, Monday, November 21, at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church (St. Anthony building on Mautino Drive). Rev. Robert Spilman and Abbot Philip Davey will officiate. Burial will follow at Valley Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, Sunday, November 20, at the church, as well as one hour before funeral services Monday, at the church. The Barto Funeral Home, Spring Valley, is assisting the family.
Known as Jim or Louie to his friends, Judge Perona was born on March 16, 1928, in Spring Valley, Illinois, to Attorney Paul D. Perona, Sr. and Lena (Guerrini) Perona. He married Joan M. Shadensack on February 5, 1952 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception. He was a 1946 graduate of St. Bede Academy and attended St. Bede Junior College and DePaul University before obtaining a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul Law School, where he served as Editor for the first DePaul Law Review. He enjoyed practicing law for over 50 years, first with his father at Perona & Perona, and later with his brother Paul and son Tom. He was a Circuit Court Judge in Ottawa for 18 years. He also served as City Attorney for Spring Valley, Public Defender of Bureau County, and Environmental Counsel to the State of Illinois. In his retirement, he founded a Catholic radio station, WSOG, which his son Jim continues to operate.
Judge Perona was elected as a delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention, and served as an alternate delegate to the 1972 and 1976 National Republican Conventions. As a lifelong Spring Valley resident, Judge Perona participated in many local organizations and received several awards. He received the Pere Marquette Service Medal and the St. Bede Award. He helped establish a Jaycee chapter in Spring Valley, served as its charter president, and was chosen as Jaycee of the Year in 1961. He served on the Catholic Consolidated School’s Board of Education and on the Building Committee for St. Anthony’s Church. He acted as chairman of the fund drives for the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Bureau County Red Cross. He was a founding Director of the First Federal Savings and Loan of Bureau County, a Director of the Bureau County Historical Society, a member of the Lions Club, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Judge Perona was an athlete, coach, and fan. He played baseball and basketball at St. Bede Academy and St. Bede Junior College. He acted as manager for the 1983 Illinois State Champion Spring Valley-Ladd Junior League team, which included his son Jim. He was a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan. He also enjoyed watching high school and college football and basketball and was an enthusiastic world traveler.
Judge Perona is survived by his wife, Joan, his children, Thomas (Lena) Perona of Western Springs, Illinois, Mary (Darrell) Gualandri of Metamora, Illinois, Patricia (William) Collins of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, Claire (Timothy) Murphy of Western Springs, Illinois, Joseph (Julie) Perona of Chicago, Illinois, and James (Amy) Perona of Spring Valley, as well as nineteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is survived by his sisters, Therese Brolley of Oglesby and Bernadette (Richard) Raffin of Valparaiso, Indiana, as well as a brother, Paul D. (Carole) Perona, Jr. of Peru, Illinois. He was predeceased by a brother in infancy, a son, Louis John, as well as his grandsons Greg Perona and Luke Gualandri.
Memorials may be directed to St. Bede Academy in Peru, Illinois 61354 or to Spirit Educational Association (WSOG), P.O. Box 34, Spring Valley, Illinois 61362.
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