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Central Illinois

Robert Watts
Robert Watts
Robert Allan Watts, 75, of Champaign, passed away on June 25, in Holland, Mich. Mr. Watts was a long-time summer resident of the Lakeshore.

Mr. Watts was born in Adrian on July 4, 1936, to Richard Prosser Watts and Florence Hooker Watts.

After his mother died in 1942, he went to live with his aunt and uncle, Margaret and Anthony Janata of Urbana, Ill. The Janatas were also long-time summer residents and retirees on the Lakeshore.

He married Emily Stipes on Aug. 31, 1958, in Champaign. She survives.

Also surviving are his three sons, Benjamin Hooker Watts (Judith Argentieri) of Champaign, Edward Stipes Watts (Stephanie Wengert Watts) of East Lansing and Thomas Janata Watts of Saugatuck; four grandchildren, Anton and Alexander Watts of East Lansing and Olivia and Samuel Watts of Champaign, Ill.; his sister, Sally Watts Dawson (Robert Dawson) of Richmond, Va.; a sister-in-law, Joan Watts of Atlanta; and seven nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, the Janatas, his brother Richard and his half-brother Christopher.

Robert G. Cronson
Robert G. Cronson
Robert G. Cronson, 87, of Springfield, died Tuesday, July 3 at St. John's Hospice after a lengthy illness.

Robert was born December 23, 1924 in Chicago, the son of Berthold and Ethel Cronson. He married Agnes Kohorst on December 5, 1987.

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1946, he earned a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College. He then entered the University of Chicago Law School and was awarded a law degree in 1950. Mr. Cronson was elected in 1974 to serve as Illinois' first Constitutional Auditor General, a position he served faithfully for 17 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, and one brother.

He is survived by his wife, Agnes Cronson of Springfield; two sons; two daughters; nine grandchildren; and three step-children.

Cremation was accorded by Butler Cremation Tribute Center prior to ceremonies.

Services have been held.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Animal Protective League, 1001 Taintor Rd., Springfield, IL 62702.

Please visit to offer your condolences.

Charlie Evans
Charlie Evans
Charles “Charlie” Moynihan Evans, age 35, passed away in his Chicago home on July 6, 2012 after a bold and arduous two year battle with cancer. Charlie was born in Champaign, Illinois on July 28, 1976 to Mr. And Mrs. Charles Victor and Ruth Ann Evans, and he spent his childhood in Belleville and Champaign.

During his youth Charlie was very active at Indian Acres Swim Club in Champaign as a beloved coach, life guard, and seasoned member of the swim team. He was also a member of the St. Matthew’s Youth Group. Charlie is a 1994 graduate of Central High School, where he led the swim team, and the experiences and friendships he formed in Champaign enriched his life.

Charlie graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998 with a degree in Economics, and after spending time in Taiwan teaching English, he returned to the University of Illinois College of Law, where he graduated in 2003 summa cum laude and was an Articles Editor of the school’s Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.

Charlie enjoyed his legal career, especially his clerkships with the Honorable James F. Holderman of the Northern District of Illinois and the Honorable Michael S. Kanne of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He proudly ended his career as an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission.

Charlie met his wife Tiana Nell Evans in law school in 2002. They married in Evanston on December 20, 2008. The couple has two precious sons, Charles John “Jack” Evans, age 2, and Patrick Moynihan Evans, age 1. They were Charlie’s proudest accomplishments and will be his lasting legacy.

Thomas Lamkin
Thomas Lamkin
Thomas Michael Lamkin, 78, of Clinton passed away on June 12 at Advocate BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal.

Tom was born on Jan. 25, 1934, in Watson, the son of Raymond and Myrtle (Sprinkle) Lamkin. He married Nancy West on Sept. 19, 1975.

Tom is survived by his wife, Nancy Lamkin; seven children, Dan (Rhonda) Matthews, Tracy (Chris) Ryan, Sarah (Jay) Peterson, Julie Lamkin, Tom (Diane) Lamkin Jr., Kathleen (Don) Penn and Maria Dolbeare; one sister, Rita Lockard; 11 grandchildren, Meghan, Connor, Joey, Dexter, Dustin, Alyssa, Drew, Colin, Austin, Andrew and Matthew; and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Raymond Lamkin.

Tom was a graduate of Effingham High School and the University of Illinois Law School. He was an attorney for 51 years. He also was a former DeWitt County state's attorney.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Tom enjoyed golfing, fishing, hunting and gardening. Most importantly, he loved his family and will deeply be missed.

Memorials may be made to Angel Tree, Presbyterian Church Youth Group or First Christian Church Food Bank.

Online condolences may be emailed to

Patrick "Rick Davis
Patrick "Rick Davis
Patrick Carl "Rick" Davis, 58, of Carrollton, died June 15 at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

He was born on April 28, 1954 in Alton, and was the son of Carl F. & Patricia (Wall) Davis. Rick grew up in Alton, and graduated in 1972 from Alton Senior High School, where he was president of the National Honor Society. He went on to the University of Illinois where he graduated with B.A. in Accounting, and obtained his law degree from Illinois State University in Normal.
He was currently employed as an attorney with the Gustine & Theivagt LTD. law firm in Carrollton and was a member of the Greene County Bar Association, and a former member of the Carrollton Lions Club.
He married the former Elaine Turner on Sept. 13, 1997 at the First Assembly of God in Jerseyville, and they have shared nearly 15 wonderful years together.
Surviving are his wife, Elaine Davis of Carrollton; his mother, Patricia Davis of Jacksonville; a brother & sister in law, Edward & Laura Davis of Gillespie; his mother in law, Anna Turner of Jerseyville; a brother in law & sister in law, Rev. Terry & Debbie Turner of Virden; a sister in law, Tammy Purcell of Jerseyville; numerous nieces and nephews, and his faithful canine companion, Otis.
In lieu of flowers and plants, memorials would be appreciated to Simplicity of St. Louis, which is a church recently established by his niece & her husband, Revs. Shaun & Shelly Williamson.

Illinois State Bar Association President John E. Thies (front row, center) gave a speech to representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Justice, including Zhao Jianji (front row, second from left), the Director of the Ministry's Department of Legislative Affairs. The delages were on a two week trip to the U.S., coordinated by the University of Illinois. President Thies discussed the various bar associations in the United States (including their respective activities, and how such associations benefit various members of the legal profession and public); lawyer regulation; legal ethics; legal education; and legal aid (among other topics).

John Lafond is one of those rare people who enjoys being slapped up side the head day after day with perspective.

"Every day I see people getting by with not very much at all. I'm grateful for every little bit of what I've got. It's just an added bonus when you can do something that brings spiritual satisfaction to the material comforts," he said.

Lafond is not a minister or a counselor. He's a lawyer practicing in a niche that few pursue: public service law.

The 52-year-old Urbana man has spent all of his 25-year career with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, advocating in civil matters for those who can't afford a lawyer. For that, he's being honored next month by the Illinois State Bar Association with the first annual Joseph Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award.

Read the full feature story in the Champaign News-Gazette

Thomas C. Maas
Thomas C. Maas
Thomas Conway Maas, 61, of Fairview passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, April 14, 2012, after a two-year battle with a brain tumor.

He was born Sept. 23, 1950, in Wausau, Wis., to Mary and Conway Maas. He married Deon (Lock) Maas on June 30, 1979, in rural Farmington. She survives.

Thomas graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in 1973 and Chicago Kent College of Law in 1976.

He worked as an assistant state's attorney in Fulton County from 1976 to 1980. For the remainder of his law career, he was in private practice as a partner with John Potter, then as sole owner of Baudino, Potter & Maas, finally serving as "of counsel" to Froehling, Weber & Schell, LLP. Because he so loved the practice of law, he worked part time through his illness, until six weeks before his death. His primary practice was family and criminal law.

In service to his community, he taught several criminal and juvenile law classes at Spoon River College, was the former president of the Fulton County Bar Association, the Farmington Rotary, the Illinois Association of Boards of Health and the F.C.R.C Board of Directors. He was a charter member of the Fulton County CASA group, a past Cub Scoutmaster and a past board member of the Spoon River College Foundation. During his 33-year membership of the Lincoln Douglas Toastmasters, he held many offices, including division governor of District 54 Toastmasters and participated in many speech contests.

Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a Circuit Court vacancy in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge John P. Shonkwiler on July 31, 2012. Judge Shonkwiler has been a resident circuit judge since 1974.

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment. The application process will lead to final Court approval. The applicants will undergo an evaluation and screening process.

Notice of the vacancy has been posted in courthouses throughout the Circuit. The application form and instructions may be obtained by visiting the Illinois Supreme Court’s website at and follow the instructions on the “Latest News” scroller announcing the Sixth Judicial Circuit vacancy. Original applications must be submitted via mail to:

  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • attn.: Mrs. Mary Hurley
  • 3607 North Vermilion, Suite 1
  • Danville, Illinois 61832

No electronic or facsimile applications will be accepted.

Deadline for submission of applications is Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will serve until the position is filled by election in November, 2014. To be eligible for consideration for appointment, the applicant must be a lawyer licensed to practice law in Illinois.

The Sixth Judicial Circuit is comprised of Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.

Quincy University's new Mock Trial Courtroom
Quincy University's new Mock Trial Courtroom
Quincy University recently hosted oral arguments from the Fourth Appellate Court. The proceedings took place in the university's new mock trial courtroom. Arguments were heard before the current president of the Illinois Judges Association, Appellate Judge Carol Pope, Appellate Judge John W. Turner of Lincoln, and Appellate Judge Robert Cook of Quincy. Several Quincy University Pre-law students attended and joined in a lunch with the Judges following the proceedings.

Local media and area judges also attended to observe how the media might handle a local Circuit Court session. In January the Illinois Supreme Court announced it would allow video recordings as a pilot program across the state. Chief Circuit Judges can decide whether or not to allow the cameras in the courtroom. The 8th Judicial Circuit Court, which serves Adams County, has yet to approve courtroom cameras.