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Obituaries

Illinois Lawyer Now lists obituaries for ISBA members. Please send information, including local newspaper links, to myingst@isba.org

Michael A. Meschino
Michael A. Meschino
Michael A. Meschino died Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. He was born on February 15, 1955 in Chicago to Albert and Mary (nee Magnone) Meschino.

An attorney for more than 30 years, Michael practiced at the Law Offices of Michael A. Meschino in Palatine. He was formerly with the law firm of Judge and Knight, Ltd. as well as a senior partner at Capozzoli & Meschino. Michael was the President of NWSBA from 2013-2014 and held various other positions in the association for many years, including Editor-in-Chief of Newsbriefs and was the zealous author of the “Family Matters” column.

Mike, as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, was a life force in any room. His love for the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bears was evident in his attempts to give strongly worded advice to the teams through the TV. His colorful language and quick wit was unparalleled. He will be fondly remembered as a fiercely loyal friend and family member, a lover of history, and an avid reader. His clients will remember him as an animated and passionate lawyer. The community will remember him as a sports coach for his children’s teams, a lawn-obsessed neighbor and a frequent bike rider. Michael loved many things – his teams, his lawn, his car (better known as ‘The Fifth Child’), his law practice – but nothing in the world compared to his pride, love, and affection for his children.

Throughout his legal career, he was also a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and American Bar Association.

Hon. Henry A. Budzinski
Hon. Henry A. Budzinski
Presiding Judge Henry A. Budzinski (Retired), age 91, passed away in his sleep on February 24, 2015. He is survived by his children; Henry, an Engineer with the Department of Defense at the Pentagon and Wife Lisa; Elizabeth, who is an Illinois Circuit Court Judge; beloved grandchildren Julia and Ladd. Fond brother of Jenny, Louis, Olga and Eddie; including nieces and nephews.

He served honorably in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Judge Budzinski was one of the longest serving judges in Illinois, retiring after 34 years on the bench, including 18 years as Presiding Judge of the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. He also served as Interim Acting Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Notable cases he presided over included the estates involving Helen Vorhees Brach, a candy heiress, George Halas Sr. and George Halas Jr. who both had ownership interests in the Chicago Bears and the distribution of the assets of Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam. While he served as a high-ranking judge for years and handled significant cases, he preferred to remain in the background, explaining it was just his nature. Judge Budzinski was known for his intelligence, contributions to the law, leadership, wit, humility and compassion.

Judge Richard C. Ripple
Judge Richard C. Ripple
Judge Richard C. Ripple, 80, of Carthage, passed away at Memorial Hospital in Carthage on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at 1:53 A.M.

Richard was born September 9, 1934, the son of Harold and Eathel (Romer) Ripple in Maquoketa, Iowa. After graduation from high school he went on to attend Cornell College and received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa in 1955 and his law degree in 1958 also from the University of Iowa. On May 14, 1960, he was united in marriage to Janet Manternach. She preceded him in death. He practiced law in Carthage at the Capps & Ripple Law Firm until 1976 when he became an associate judge. In 1984 he was united in marriage to Saundra Farmer. She preceded him in death. In 1988 he became circuit judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. In 1991, he became the Chief Judge of the circuit until his retirement in 1997. Richard was a member of the Hancock County and Illinois State Bar Association. He was a member of the Carthage Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, and served on the boards of the Hancock County Red Cross and Hancock County Cancer Society. He loved following Carthage and Illini West athletics and spending time with his grandchildren.

Richard is survived by two children, Brett (Roanna) Ripple of Jacksonville, IL and Jenny (Thor Bendickson) Ripple of Tempe, FL; one step-son, Scott (Debbie) Becker of Staunton, IL; and eight grandchildren, Hailey, Olivia, and Brock Ripple, Jett Midulla, Scout Bendickson, and Jennifer, Stephanie, and Steven Becker.

Calvin Campbell
Calvin Campbell
In his early 20s, Calvin Campbell saw college as a nearly impossible dream for an African-American in the segregated South during the Depression, his family said.

He had returned from combat in World War II permanently scarred — losing a finger and part of his left hand — and it took a wily Army guidance counselor to convince this battle-scarred veteran to try college for a semester, said Mr. Campbell's daughter, Cathy.

"She told him, 'You can always quit.' But she must have seen something in my father that made her believe in him."

Mr. Campbell went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington in 1948, and then earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1951.

In November 1978, he became the fourth African-American elected to the Illinois Appellate Court.

"He was a mentor of mine," said First District Appellate Court Judge Shelvin Louise Marie Hall. "He was a very courtly, gentlemanly and kind person, who taught me a lot."

Mr. Campbell, 90, died of respiratory failure on Thursday, Feb. 12, at The Carlton at the Lake, a nursing facility in Chicago, his family said.

Robert Fuchs
Robert Fuchs
Robert J. "Bob" Fuchs' life was one of service to others.

The 85-year-old Army veteran and former Cary mayor and village trustee died Jan. 2 in Lisle.

His vision and leadership helped guide the McHenry County village toward becoming a robust suburban community, while preserving its small-town charm, family members say.

"He was a leader – smart, educated," said Fuchs' daughter Mary Ann McLean of Elmhurst.

Fuchs was a graduate of DePaul University College of Commerce and DePaul Law School. He moved with his family from Chicago to Cary in 1961. He served as a village trustee from 1965 to 1969, when he was elected mayor – a­ post he held until 1976.

"Being mayor was just one further act of service on his part," McLean said. "He was a role model of hard work and integrity."

As a part-time mayor for a town of 4,500 residents, Fuchs' job didn't end at village hall.

People would call our home all the time," McLean said. "Once we were just having a huge rainstorm in early 1970s. He got a bunch of buckets, got in the car and started helping people bail out their basements. A year or two after that, the village upgraded the storm water system."

Warren Carl Behr
Warren Carl Behr
Warren Carl Behr, 93,  died Sunday, February 1 at Vista Medical Center East. He was born on February 6, 1921, in Oak Park, Illinois, he He spent his early childhood in Cleveland and the family later moved to Chicago. He graduated from Lane Technical High School in 1939 and attended Wright Junior College in Chicago before entering the US Army.

Warren served in the Artillery during World War II and upon returning home married Ruth Helen Collins. They moved to Champaign, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor degree and later a juris doctor degree. He moved to Waukegan with his young family where he was a title officer with Chicago Title and Trust. Later he was appointed Assistant State's Attorney in Lake County and in subsequent years also served as Waukegan Town Clerk and Waukegan Township Supervisor.

He was a longstanding 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight. He practiced law in private practice until 1993, when he and his wife moved to San Benito, TX. He and his wife returned to Lake County in 2002 and moved to the Victory Lakes Retirement Community in Lindenhurst. At Victory Lakes he was very active in many activities and especially enjoyed singing with the Vocalaires group.

William "Bill" Bass
William "Bill" Bass
William Kieran “Bill” Bass age 59, passed away peacefully February 9, 2015, after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his family at his home in Evanston. Son of William and Jacqueline Kay Bass, Bill was 1974 graduate of St. John’s Jesuit High School (Toledo, OH) and received a Film degree from New York University. He received his Juris Doctorate cum laude from the University of Toledo. Bill received the prestigious Burton R. Maddux Scholarship for academic achievement and was inducted into the Order of the Coif, legal education’s equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa.

Bill was a veteran trial and appellate attorney who specialized in matrimonial law and father’s rights; he was currently practicing with The Law Firm of Jeffrey Leving Ltd. He recently was awarded the “Heart of the Firm” the firm’s most prestigious award. Bill was an avid reader and a collector of literature and shared his mother’s love for art. He loved music and attended the Lollapalooza music festivals each summer in Chicago with his friends and children. He lit up a room with his sense of humor and loved practical jokes. Bill’s greatest joy was being a father and spending time with his four children

Edward Vertovec
Edward Vertovec
Edward J. Vertovec, of Elmhurst, died on the 12th of January at the age of 91.

Ed was born in Elmhurst on March 13th, 1923, to Frank and Caroline Vertovec. He grew up in Elmhurst with his 5 siblings: Fran, Frank, Carl, Ray, and Jean.

He later graduated from Elmhurst College and received his law degree from DePaul University. During World War II, he served in the Air Force, specializing in radar navigation training.

Following his service, Ed married his beloved wife Betty J. Pace on June 21, 1947. According to Ed, Betty made their 67 years of marriage total happiness and bliss. Ed lived and maintained a local law practice in Elmhurst where he championed numerous public works projects, including the advancement of the Chamber of Commerce and the Elmhurst Park District, along with Co-Chairing the Underpass Committee. Ed was presented the Thousand Points of Light Volunteer Award by President George H.W. Bush in a ceremony in Salt Lake City.

In 1988 Ed and Betty retired to Skidaway Island in Savannah, Georgia. Ed devoted countless hours to his lifelong love of volunteer work, donating his time to multiple organizations including The Chatham County Victim Witness Assistance Program, The Chatham County Juvenile Court Panels (which assisted judges in caring for minors), The Village Library at Skidaway, and The Howard Young Medical Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin.

Betsy Wong
Betsy Wong
Betsy Pendleton Wong, 65, of Champaign passed away peacefully on Friday morning (Jan. 23, 2015) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, after a courageous fight with cancer.

Betsy was born on Sept. 19, 1949, in Urbana, the daughter of John and Eleanor Pendleton. She met her soul mate and love of her life, Kam Wu Wong, on a float trip down the Grand Canyon and married him on Aug. 8, 1970, in Champaign.

She is survived by her loving husband; two sons, David (Adriane) of La Grange and Michael (Jennifer) of Elgin; a granddaughter, Allyssa, and two grandsons, Devin and Blake; her father, John (the late Eleanor) Pendleton; and siblings, Don (Julienne) Pendleton of Marshall, Ill., Pamela (Robert) Thickens of Mequon, Wis., Kip (Anne) Pendleton of Woodbury, Minn., and Sandie (Terese) Pendleton of Shorewood, Wis.

Also surviving are 11 nieces and nephews, three grand-nieces and nephews and her beloved dog, Bon-Bon.

Betsy received a B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1971, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1974.

After graduating from law school, Betsy joined the law firm of Phebus, Tummelson, Bryan & Knox and subsequently opened her own law office and continued practicing law in Champaign County for 40 years.

Betsy practiced law with tenacity, a passion for justice, remarkable ingenuity and a deep loyalty to clients, often forging friendships with those whom she represented.

Betsy had a thirst for knowledge that led her to spend an endless number of hours reading books and frequenting the public library.

Robert Neely
Robert Neely
Robert Joseph (Bob, Bobby Joe) Neely, 92, a resident of rural Grantsburg, passed from this life Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Mr. Neely is survived by his wife, Sharon, (nee Bremer) Foss Neely.

Mr. Neely was born Jan. 22, 1923, in Marion, to Ralph and Lanta (Brush) Neely. He was the beloved grandson of the late Honorable Rufus and Emma Neely and the precious nephew of the late Bertha Otey, Horace Neely and John Neely.

Mr. Neely graduated from Marion High School in 1940. Following high school, Mr. Neely worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C., where he met his late wife, Lois LeMay Neely. While in Washington D.C., he took courses at George Washington University and Georgetown University. He graduated from St. Louis University in 1950 and later became the Metro Division Manager for State Farm Insurance Agency. In 1955, he completed his academic studies with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri Law School at Kansas City, number one in his class, as well as, a member of the prestigious Order of the Bench and Robe. In 1960, Mr. Neely moved his young family to Marion, where he opened his private practice. Mr. Neely served as the Massac County State’s Attorney from 1969 to 1972. In 1972, he moved his practice to Metropolis, and then to Vienna, in 1993, where he has practiced law as a true servant to all until the present time. Mr. Neely practiced law for no other reason than that he loved the truth. He loved serving others, and he truly gave himself to the needs of anyone and everyone through his wisdom and legal practice.