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Carl Hoffee
Carl Hoffee
Carl O. Hoffee, 80, of Springfield, beloved husband, father and grandfather, cherished friend, and long-time attorney, passed away on June 5, 2015.

Carl, the son of Emmitt and Ethel Hoffee of Fairfield, Ill., was born July 7, 1934. Raised in Wayne County, Ill., Carl married Dian Johnson on Dec. 27, 1959, in Fairfield.

Carl received his law degree in 1958 from the University of Illinois School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and served on the law review. He was admitted to practice in Illinois in 1958.

Carl served as law clerk to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Harry B. Hershey from 1961-1962. Carl also worked for Albert Harno, former Dean of the University of Illinois Law School, when he became Illinois' first Supreme Court Administrator. Carl began his private practice at Hoffman and Hoffman in Springfield, later joining Barber and Barber in 1968.

At his death, Carl was the senior partner of Barber, Segatto, Hoffee, Wilke & Cate, having been with the firm for nearly 50 years. Carl was noted for his expertise in real estate matters. Carl was a member of the American, Illinois and Sangamon County Bar Associations, and a member of the Federalist Society.

Nathan Hinch
Nathan Hinch
The McLean County Bar Association at the June 16, 2015 annual meeting of its members announced that Nathan Hinch has been selected as the recipient of its annual “Young Lawyer of the Year” award. The Young Lawyer of the Year is awarded to the MCBA member attorney, age 40 or younger or with 10 or less years practicing law, who exhibits the highest achievements in the areas of 1) employment history, 2) individual achievements in the practice of law, 3) service to the MCBA, and 4) community service and pro bono work.  

Hinch is a partner at the law firm Mueller, Reece & Hinch, LLC, where he assists clients in the general practice of law, particularly business counseling, estate planning and probate, and real estate law. Under Hinch’s guidance the firm was recently the first law firm in the State designated a “Green Business” by the Illinois Green Business Association. He is a 2007 graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law and a 2000 graduate of Wheaton College. Hinch was named a “40 Under 40” honoree in 2014 by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Pantagraph, and a 2010 “30 Under 30” honoree by the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves as chairperson of the Underwood Professionalism Committee of the MCBA, the continuing legal education chair of the ISBA’s construction law section, and as a member of the American Bar Association and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is an ISBA President’s Club member and a fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation.  

Elizabeth Jeane Dibble (Elsey), age 56, of Freeburg, IL passed away on March 2, 2015 at her home, surrounded by family and friends after successfully surviving colon cancer for several years. Jeane was married to John Taylor Dibble on June 7, 1980 in Kewanee, IL. He survives as do their children, James Taylor (Anna Beasley) Dibble of St. Louis, MO and Katherine Elizabeth
Dibble of Austin, TX.

Jeane was born on May 26, 1958 in Hammond, Indiana to Janet D. Lane Elsey and Harold Elsey and older brother James. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Kewanee, IL and was joined by second brother, Kenneth.

After graduating from Kewanee High School in 1976, Jeane enrolled at MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois, earning a special education degree in three years. After a brief time teaching she enrolled at Southern Ilinois University School of Law, Carbondale, IL, graduating in 1983. Jeane welcomed her son, James, in 1983 and daughter, Katherine, in 1985. She was a devoted mother and confidant, spending much of her free time at her children's sporting events, relaxing at the family cabin and traveling with her family.

Charles "Chick" Chapin
Charles "Chick" Chapin
Charles Armstrong "Chick" Chapin, 94, lawyer, scholar, decorated WWII Marine officer, civic servant, husband, father, horseman died Sunday, May 31 at his Chatham home, Windridge. He lived most of his life in Springfield. He attended and graduated from Carleton College, served in World War II as a Marine Artillery officer and studied law at the University of Michigan. He joined his father Roger E. and brother John R. in the family law firm of Chapin & Chapin. For the past decade he was Of Counsel at the law firm of Brown, Hay, & Stephens.

Sangamon County First Assistant State’s attorney Karen Tharp has been appointed as Associate Judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Sangamon County. Tharp has been the First Assistant State Attorney of Sangamon County since 2014. Tharp, who will take office in early July, replaces Judge April Troemper who was recently appointed to be a Circuit Judge in the Seventh Judicial Circuit.

Tharp brings to the bench over 26 years of legal experience, Presiding Judge John Belz, who has presided over many jury trials in which Tharp was an attorney, said "Karen Tharp has a long and distinguished record as a trial lawyer in Sangamon County that will serve her well on the bench. She is generally recognized as one of the hardest working and most dedicated attorneys in Sangamon County.”

Tharp is a 1980 graduate of Springfield High School and attended then Sangamon State University where she obtained her undergraduate degree in legal studies. She obtained her law degree in 1988 from the University of Illinois law school where she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors.

Tharp, 53, has been a lifelong resident of Springfield, Tharp is a member of the Sangamon County Drug Court Treatment Team, participates in the Sangamon County Juvenile Justice Council and a Board member of Calvary Academy.

Chief Justice Garman with her "Spirit of Lincoln Award"
Chief Justice Garman with her "Spirit of Lincoln Award"
The Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) awarded Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman with its first-ever “Spirit of Lincoln Award”. The award was established to recognize individuals who have displayed the spirit of Abraham Lincoln in their professional careers for the betterment of humanity. The award was presented by Robert A. Stuart, Jr., President of the ALA, at the Sangamon County Bar Association Law Day luncheon. The award itself is a bust of Abraham Lincoln by Illinois sculptor John McClarey specifically created for this award.

President Stuart stated that in President Lincoln’s legal career he represented integrity, professional ability, reverence for the law, fair mindedness, professional neutrality, goodwill and collegiality. The ALA believes that Judge Garman has upheld these principles as the longest-serving female judge and the second-longest serving judge in Illinois. She also has received a lifetime achievement award from the Illinois Judges Association and she was named Person of the Year by Chicago Lawyer magazine in 2013.

President Lincoln and his administration were the force behind many laws that Americans still feel the effects of today. The fact that he worked to improve the lives of Americans through legislation while serving as commander-in-chief during the Civil War inspired a committee of the ALA board members to create this annual award.

Harry Sonnemaker, Jr.
Harry Sonnemaker, Jr.
Harry H. “Hank” Sonnemaker, Jr., of Dunlap passed away at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2015, at his residence.

Harry was born on Dec. 6, 1926, in Peoria to the late Harry Sr. and Grace (Reiferscheid) Sonnemaker. He married Dorothy Boyer on June 12, 1948, in Peoria. She survives.

Harry attended Spalding Institute. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he obtained his undergraduate education from St. Ambrose and Bradley Universities and later graduated from the University of Illinois with his law degree.

He first entered the Navy in November 1944 and served on active duty until 1946, principally in Hawaii, the Marianas and Guam. He was commissioned Ensign in 1950 and served in various line and security-intelligence billets until 1955. When the JAG Corps was established, he became a JAGC Officer, serving for over 30 years including a two-year term as the Judge Advocate General for the Navy. When he retired, he was the senior most captain in the Navy Reserve in the United States.

Harry was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1955. He served as the first legal aid counselor for Peoria in 1957. He was in private practice for 50 years. From 1974 to 1986, he shared his office with his son. Other attorneys that either he either shared an office with or worked for him were Judge Robert Manning, Lou Benassi, Judge Mike O’Brien, Jerry Serritella, and Judge Joe Vespa.

The Village of Chatham, Illinois, is seeking outside counsel to serve as its Village Attorney. Interested attorneys/law firms should submit a letter of interest, resume(s) and firm brochure outlining the candidates municipal law experience and retainer/fee  proposal. Please send 10 copies of requested documents. Responses should be sent to Jill Butler at the Village of Chatham, 116 Mulberry, Chatham, IL 62629. The submission deadline is May 12, 2015.

McLean County attorney Mike McElvain and McLean County Judge Elizabeth Robb (Ret.) will be honored by the Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation at a reception Thursday, April 30 from 5 to 6:30 pm at McLean County Museum of History (Old Courthouse), 200 N. Main St., in Bloomington.

The Illinois Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is honoring attorney McElvain and Judge Robb for their professionalism and commitment to assist the legal profession in serving the public.

The mission of the Illinois Bar Foundation is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who have fallen upon hard times.

Individual tickets are $35 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (312) 726-6072 or visit The Illinois Bar Foundation is located at 20 S. Clark St., Suite 910, Chicago, IL  60603. Information also is available at

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a Circuit Court vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Scott H. Walden on June 30, 2015. Judge Walden has been a Resident Circuit Judge in the Eight Circuit since 1996.