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Central Illinois

Adam J. Lagocki
Adam J. Lagocki
Adam J. Lagocki, 34, of Peoria passed away at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in Lacon.

He was born on Nov. 7, 1977, in Bloomington, the son of Dr. James and Janet Lagocki. He married Angie Speck on June 26, 2004, in Peoria.

Adam is survived by his wife; two children, Addison (4) and Andrew (1); his parents; a sister; and countless loving friends.

Adam graduated from St. Thomas Grade School, Peoria Notre Dame (1996), Indiana University (1996 to 2000) and the University of Illinois Law School (2000 to 2003).

Adam shared his enjoyment of life with everyone he met.

His interests included cheering for Indiana University Hoosiers, golf, fantasy football, being a lifelong Jimmy Buffett fan, movie or music trivia and weekend brunches with the kids.

Adam was a respected member of the legal community. His professionalism and dedication earned local and statewide recognition. He was active in the Peoria County Bar Association, Abraham Lincoln American Inn of Court and the Greater Peoria Claims Association. He also was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and American Bar Association.

Adam was a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Please visit Adam's story at

Memorial contribution checks should be made out to Edward Jones. Sent to Edward Jones, 8500 N. Knoxville, Suite F, Peoria, IL 61615-2079, in care of Addison and Drew.

Edward Allen Verchota III, a resident of Champaign, passed away Thursday (Jan. 12, 2012) in Champaign.

Mr. Verchota was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Paris, Ill.

Mr. Verchota graduated from Champaign Central High School in 1979. He earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1983 and a juris doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law in 1987.

Allen was admitted to practice law in the state of Illinois in 1988 and was a respected attorney in the Champaign-Urbana area, specializing in litigation and personal injury law.

Allen loved spending time with his son, playing golf and traveling, especially enjoying warm weather, going to the beach and taking cruises.

He also was an avid University of Illinois sports fan and an active participant in a local investment club. Allen's life was ended far too soon by complications from liver disease and alcoholism; another gifted and much loved individual's life cut short by addiction.

A private memorial service will be held for family and close friends. Allen will be greatly missed by all.

Mr. Verchota is survived by his son; his wife, Kristen Conley Verchota of Savoy; his parents, Judy and George Bryan of Champaign and Edward Allen Verchota Jr. of Paris; one brother, Michael (Kara) Verchota of Monticello; four sisters, Valari Verchota (Richard) Dillingham of Monticello, Anne Bryan (Paul) Peebles of Houston, Texas, Melissa Bryan (Thomas Harrison Jr.) of Berwyn and Brandi Verchota (Rich) Temples of High Ridge, Mo.; as well as five nieces and four nephews. He is further survived by other relatives and many dear friends.

ISBA President-elect John E. Thies recently gave a speech to representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Justice who were visiting the University of Illinois.

He covered several topics including: an overview of the ISBA; the range and purpose of U.S. bar associations and the services they provide; the regulation of the legal profession; the licensing of lawyers; the accreditation of law schools (and the education of law students); minimum continuing legal education; legal aid; and limited scope representation.

Group leader Mr. Ma Chi (photo at right) presented President-elect Thies with a lovely rolled print as a token of the delegation's appreciation. Ma Chi serves as the Vice Deputy Chief Judge from Gansu Province.

Philip C. Wherry
Philip C. Wherry
Philip Comstock Wherry, 72, of Chicago, died Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, from complications due to Parkinson’s disease.

He was born in 1939 in Pekin, to Dr. Roland C. and Miriam Platt Wherry. He was raised in Pekin.

His parents preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife, Cookie; his daughter, Chandler; his brother, Richard (Nancy) Wherry; and a loving circle of family and friends.

He was educated at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; and graduated from the University of Miami, where he met “the love of his life” and future wife, Helen “Cookie” Reichert.

After moving to Chicago and graduating from IIT Kent College of Law, Philip became a senior clerk to the late Federal Judge Julius J. Hoffman in Chicago. He became an associate at the law firm of Winston & Strawn before founding the firm of Abrams & Wherry, which specialized in business litigation, both in Chicago.

Philip had a life-long devotion to the community and historic preservation. He worked closely with Burt Natarus, former alderman of the 42nd Ward, to achieve down-zoning of the Near North Side of Chicago. For 30 years, Philip was involved with the North Dearborn Association, ultimately serving seven terms as its president. He was a co-founder of the Near North Preservation Coalition, which helped retain the beauty of that neighborhood.

The Peoria, Illinois law firm of Johnson, Bunce & Noble, P.C. is pleased to announce that Patrick T. Chambers and Susan Dawson-Tibbits have become shareholders in the firm.

Chambers has practiced law since 1978, having graduated with honors from Chicago Kent Law School. He primarily practices in the areas of real estate, title insurance, estate planning, probate, and unemployment benefits.

Dawson-Tibbits has practiced law since 1979, having graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. A member of the Illinois State Bar Association Elder Law Section Council, the Board of Directors of the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and other related organizations for many years, she concentrates her practice in elder law, advanced directives, guardianships, long-term care advice, and other issues involving the elderly.

Johnson, Bunce & Noble, P.C. is a Central Illinois law firm primarily focusing in: business law, real estate, estate planning/probate, elder law, taxation, creditors’ rights, and related litigation.

Thomas G. West
Thomas G. West
Prominent attorney Thomas G. West, 71, was born in Galesburg on March 21, 1940, the son of Helen Jo (Bondi) and Joseph E. West, and died in Northfield, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011.

He was a 1958 graduate of Galesburg High School, a graduate of Northwestern University, BBA, 1962, and University of Chicago Law, JD, 1965. He taught business law at Wisconsin State University, Whitewater, Wis., from 1965-66. He served as assistant state's attorney for Knox County from 1966-67 and Illinois assistant attorney general - condemnation 1968-76.

Tom gave freely of his time to the greater Galesburg community. In addition to his association with Simpson Law Office, he served as vice president of Bondi Building Corporation.

Among other activities and local interests, Tom was past president of Soangetaha Country Club and a member of its Hole-in-One Club. He was past chairman of OSF St.Mary Medical Center Board of Directors and served as a board member of OSF St. Mary Medical Center Foundation. Tom was serving on the IFMC-IL advisory board. From 1971-75, Tom served on the board of trustees for Carl Sandburg College and in 2007 was the recipient of its Founder's Circle Award. He served as attorney for Galesburg District 205 and Knoxville District 202 school boards. Tom was past president and treasurer of Temple Sholom board of directors.

Hartzell Givens
Hartzell Givens
Hartzell Givens, 99, of Taylorville, IL died at 3:00 am Friday, December 2, 2011 at Taylorville Care Center.

He was born November 29, 1912 in Heyworth, IL the son of John P. and Rosa L. Hawthorne Givens. His mother was a cousin of the famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne. On June 16, 1940 he married Louise D. Dunbar in Taylorville and she preceded him in death on January 11, 1999.

Hartzell graduated from Eureka College in 1936, and on the 75th anniversary of his graduation he was the oldest living graduate of Eureka College. He then went to Loyola University where he graduated with his Juris Doctorate in 1939. Hartzell had the rare distinction among lawyers of having been one of the few that never lost a case. Hartzell specialized in Abstracting and Title work and went to work for Chicago Title Company in Chicago after graduation. He came to Taylorville in January 1946 and worked at the Taylor Abstracting Co. His association with Chicago Title and Trust lasted for 75 years.

Hartzell was a veteran of World War II serving with the Navy in the Seabees. One of his assignments was in the Marshall Islands and he was present at Tinian when the Enola Gay took off for Hiroshima. The Taylorville Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Richard W. Paterson
Richard W. Paterson
Richard W. Paterson, 84, of Champaign passed away Dec. 10, 2011, surrounded by his wife and children.

He was born Jan. 25, 1927, in Champaign to Harold and Dolly (Webb) Paterson. He attended Champaign schools, graduating from Champaign High in 1945. After serving in the Army, he returned to Champaign to earn a law degree from the University of Illinois. He was an attorney in the community for 52 years.

Richard is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marietta Ripley Paterson, and his sister, Bonnie McLauthlin of Denver, Colo. Richard and Marietta have three daughters, Nancy Strang (David), Mary Kaminsky (Lenny), and Martha Henss (Mark). Their beloved grandchildren are Emma and Jake Henss, Maggie Henss Jones, Tucker, Cameron and Shelby Strang, and Bonnie and Lauren Kaminsky. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Norman Paterson.

Brian C. Silverman, 68, of Champaign passed away on Nov. 23, 2011 following a long illness.

He was born in Chicago on Aug. 2, 1943, the son of Mary (Cutler) and Isadore Silverman.

Brian graduated from DePaul University Law School. He became a Cook County assistant public defender, eventually serving as head of the Juvenile Division.

In 1979, he moved to Champaign to become the first full-time public defender of Champaign County. After leaving the Public Defender's Office, Brian had a private practice specializing in criminal defense and family law.

Brian loved the Champaign-Urbana community. He was generous in giving back to it through donations and public service, including providing free legal representation to people in need. He was also a longtime supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

An active Republican, Brian served as a precinct committeeman and loved talking politics with anyone who was willing. He was a frequent guest on "Penny for your Thoughts."

A lifelong sports fan, Brian bled Illini Orange and Blue and was always happy supporting Chicago's sports teams. His beloved Cubs often disappointed him, but he never lost his enthusiasm for every one of their games. He often joked that being a Cubs fan prepared him to be a public defender because he was used to losing.

Despite his disabilities in later life, Brian was a model of courage and determination, continuing to be an active part of the legal community.

Underneath his sometimes misunderstood exterior, at the end of the day his friends and family would tell you that his heart and loyalty were unparalleled.

Hugh A. Strickland, 80, died on Oct. 26, 2011, at the Jerseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after a lengthy illness.

Born May 3, 1931, in Rockford, Ill., he was the son of the late Marie Elmer Johnson and Hugh A. Strickland.

Mr. Strickland graduated from Senn High School in Chicago and received a bachelor's degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. While at Knox, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. He graduated in 1953. He received his JD from the Chicago Kent College of Law in 1959. He was a U.S. Army Veteran during the Korean Conflict and served from 1953 to 1955.

Mr. Strickland was a partner in the law firm McDonald, Strickland & Clough in Carrollton until his recent retirement. He was certified by the Illinois Bar Association in 1960. He was a charter member of the Illinois Bar Foundation, a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Greene County Bar Association, the Southwestern Bar Association, the Illinois Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute. He was very civic-minded, serving on the Greene County Welfare Services Committee and the Illinois Heart Association Board. He was also a trustee and past president of the Thomas H. Boyd Memorial Hospital, and past president and member of the Long Lake Association in Vilas County, Wis. He was a member of the Elks, Westlake Country Club in Jerseyville and the Big Sand Lake Club in Phelps, Wis.

He married the former Donna McDonald on Aug. 11, 1956, in Carrollton. She survives him.