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Obituaries

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

Robert "Bob" Thomson Jr.
Robert "Bob" Thomson Jr.
Robert Bruce "Bob" Thomson Jr., 75, of Ashland, Ill., died Friday, Nov. 29, 2014, at St. John's Hospice in Springfield, Ill.

He was born Dec. 7, 1938, in Jacksonville, Ill., the son of Attorney Robert Bruce Sr. and Isabel Jane Ballow Thomson.

He is survived by four daughters and two sons: Elizabeth (Peter) Cappas of Elgin, Ill., Kathryn (Christopher Lu) Thomson of Arlington, Va., Sarah (Will) Palmer of Landsdowne, Va., Rachel Gray of Memphis, Tenn., Robert Bruce (Erin) Thomson III of Arlington, Va., and Charles Andrew Bowman Thomson of Naples, Fla.; nine grandchildren; and special friend and fiancée, Cynthia Gutmann of Ashland.

He was preceded in death by a daughter at birth, Rebecca Bently Thomson; sister, Marilyn Jane Thomson; and brother, William Lloyd Thomson.

Mr. Thomson graduated from Illinois College in three years, and then obtained his law degree from University of Illinois. He was a practicing attorney for over 50 years, first at Thomson & Thomson, then Robert B. Thomson Law Firm in 1974 followed by Thomson & Strawn for five years. He then had his own practice before being joined by Charles "Chuck" McNeely, and most recently he again had his own practice.

John D. Norcross
John D. Norcross
John D. Norcross passed away on November 9, 2014, in Chicago.

John spent his final days surrounded by the love of his closest friends, pastor, and wife. His last afternoon was filled with harmony and joy as musicians from Sharing Notes played works by Strauss and Brahms, his favorite composers. He passed away peacefully that evening in his sleep.

The dearly beloved husband of Joanna Elin Petroff Norcross, John was also the loving brother of Mary Jane (late John C. Rainey) Norcross, the late Peter Christopher Norcross and the late Richard David Norcross; and the cherished uncle of Cynthia (Jeffrey) Penney and Ginger (T.J. McCall) Tougas.

John was a lifelong resident of Chicago, a city he loved. He was born to Dr. John R. Norcross and Louise M. Ballschmider Norcross. After attending Loyola Academy he majored in economics at Stanford University. A graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law, he was a Founding Partner in the law firm Crane and Norcross. John lived with his wife in the Gold Coast neighborhood, where he co-founded Gibsons Restaurant Group and took a great interest in the original steakhouse, now in its 25th year. Well-known for his investing skills, John began each morning trading for himself, family and friends. John was a man of great faith and devotion to the Catholic Church, a sportsman, traveler, and supporter of the performing arts.

Hon. John T. Keleher
Hon. John T. Keleher
John “Jack” Thomas Keleher - devoted husband, loving father, adoring grandfather, dear brother, uncle, cousin; friend of the less fortunate and oppressed; lover of nature, poetry, and history; compassionate, kind and gentle soul - passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 13, 2014.

Jack was born on October 29, 1923, the son of Irish immigrants Elizabeth J. Sampey and Patrick J. Keleher. He grew up in Chicago and was the oldest of three brothers, Francis, James (Joan), and Patrick (Joan), who predeceased him, and one sister who survives him, Sr. Jean Keleher, CSC. Jack was married to the love of his life, Dorothy Agnes Catalano, for 67 years. They met when both were members of a Catholic youth group focusing on social justice. They married on May 24, 1947, at St. Giles Church in Oak Park.

Jack went to Our Lady Help of Christians grammar school and Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He served as an officer in the Navy during WWII after training at Notre Dame and Harvard. He graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 1947 and Loyola Law School in 1951. He was a law professor at Loyola and Kent law schools, practiced law for 26 years, and served as a circuit court judge of Cook County for the last 16 years of his career. He helped establish and implement the Mandatory Arbitration Program in the Circuit Court of Cook County, and became its first supervisory judge in 1990.

Frederick Niemi
Frederick Niemi
Frederick Charles Niemi, 76, died in his home Friday, November 7, 2014. Born on October 10, 1938, in Chicago IL, Fred was raised in Berwyn, IL and attended Morton High School where he played trumpet in the jazz band. Fred graduated with a history degree from the University of Illinois Champaign and later from the Chicago Kent College of Law. Fred operated a private law practice in Riverside, IL for over 40 years.

A dedicated steward of his Finnish heritage, Fred served as the Honorary Consul of Finland for 34 years, spanning from 1974 to 2008. During his tenure as the Honorary Finnish Consul, his many years of service and dedication were recognized and he was awarded the decoration of the Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland. This designation is awarded for civilian and military merit. Fred's strong sense of civic duty was also exemplified by his involvement in local community charities and organizations. Fred served on the boards of the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce and the former Suomi College (now Finlandia University) and was a member of the Nordic Law Club.

His strong desire to help others also led to board positions with the Fillmore Center for Mental Health and the Berwyn Kiwanis Club. Fred was an avid reader of history, an outdoorsman, a lover of music-notably Sibelius, Mahler, Stan Kenton, Coleman Hawkins, and Puccini, and a frequent traveler with journeys that took him to Finland, Russia, China, Sweden, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, the British Isles and Italy.

Lane Evans
Lane Evans
Congressman Lane Allen Evans, 63, of Rock Island, died Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at Hope Creek Care Center, East Moline. He died of complications brought on by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1995.

Lane was born Aug. 4, 1951, in Rock Island to Lee H. and Joycelene E. (Saylor) Evans. He was the second of four brothers, Steve, Doyle and Dave. Lane attended Sacred Heart School in Rock Island and graduated from Alleman High School in 1969. He then joined the Marine Corps and completed boot camp in San Diego. Lane was stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam War due to the Sullivan Act because his brother Steve was already in Vietnam.

Two years later, he was honorably discharged and began his studies at Black Hawk College. Lane then attended Augustana College and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1974. He completed his education with a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977. During these years, Lane volunteered for the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and populist Fred Harris. He was a field staff organizer for Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign. He worked out of his home as an attorney until opening the Community Legal Service Practice with two other attorneys, Dennis Buchneger and Jean Becker, in 1981.

John Sprague Jr.
John Sprague Jr.
John Reno Sprague Jr., 73, a resident of O'Fallon, Ill., went to be with the Lord on Nov. 4, 2014.

John was the eighth great-grandson of the pilgrim Francis Sprague of Plymouth, Mass. John was born March 21, 1941, son of John Reno Sprague and Mary, nee Chamblin, Sprague of Belleville, Ill. Growing up, he attended St. Luke's Grade School and Cathedral High School. He was very active in the Boy Scouts of America and became an Eagle Scout at age 15, making him one of the youngest Eagle Scouts at that time. He attended the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree in California.

Bill Costigan
Bill Costigan
ISBA Laureate William F. “Bill” Costigan, 88, of Bloomington, died at 4:25 p.m. Friday (Nov. 14, 2014) at his home surrounded by his family.

Bill was born Feb. 6, 1926, in Bloomington, the son of Will F. and Madalon Carroll Costigan. He married Marilyn Cassidy on Nov. 29, 1952, in Peoria. Marilyn preceded Bill in death, along with three of their children, Mary, Bill and Diane Costigan.

Surviving are five daughters, Ann (Dean) Davis, Sally (Michael) Sprague, Katie (Tom) Kloss, Susie (Jim) Derry, Christy (Steve) King; and one son, Casey (Beth) Costigan. Bill was blessed with 28 grandchildren, all of whom adored their “Pappa Bill,” as well as three great-grandchildren.

In 1995, Bill married Connie Sloan in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She survives in addition to her three children, Steve (Marcy) Sloan, Cheryl (Jerry) Parsel and Kim (Michael) Coolbroth; and her seven grandchildren.

Bill attended Washington Grade School, Bloomington High School and the University of Illinois. He received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Illinois and started his law practice with the firm of Costigan, Wollrab & Yoder.

Alan E. Morrill
Alan E. Morrill
Alan E. Morrill, 89, of The Villages, Florida, died Friday (September 19, 2014) with his family by his side.

Alan was born to the late Gladys and Byron Morrill, Aug. 30, 1925, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and lived in Chicago, Illinois, during his later childhood and throughout his career, before retiring to Ft. Myers and then The Villages, Florida, with his devoted wife, Doris. Alan graduated from Sullivan High School in 1943 before enlisting in the U.S. Navy to serve in WWII, where he served on the USS La Salle, the lead ship of a class of transports, and participated in major battles including those of Leyte, Luzon and Okinawa. Following the war, on the GI Bill and while working to support a young family, Alan graduated from John Marshall Law School, which later honored him with its "Distinguished Alumnus Award."

Imy J. Feuer
Imy J. Feuer
Retired Judge, Imy J. Feuer, 94, a resident of The Bickford House in Springfield, died on Monday, October 20, 2014.

He was born November 22, 1919 in Springfield, the son of Morris and Goldie E. Spiegel Feuer. He married Ruth M. Swoik on March 24, 1955. She preceded him in death on May 4, 2007.

He was also preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Walter and Julius Feuer and one sister Sarah Moscove.

He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November, 1943 and he practiced law until he was appointed an Associate Judge on October 1, 1971, serving until his retirement from the bench on November 25, 1979.

He received his law degree from Lincoln College of Law in Springfield. During his years of law practice he served in the City of Springfield Legal Department for 26 years in the various positions of Assistant City Attorney, prosecuting ordinance violations, City Attorney, handling litigation matters for the City, and Corporation Counsel for the City Water, Light and Power Department being its legal advisor.

He was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Sangamon County Bar Association. He was a long time member of the Springfield Motor Boat Club, having served as commodore. Additionally, he played violin for the Springfield Symphony for a period of ten years.

He is survived by his stepson Thomas F. Swoik (wife Gayle) of Springfield, granddaughter, Jaime M. (Swoik) Linderman of Springfield, grandson, T.J. Swoik of Springfield and great grandchildren, Madalyn and Charlie Linderman of Springfield and several nieces and nephews.

Jerry J. Burgdoerfer
Jerry J. Burgdoerfer
Jerry J. Burgdoerfer, 56, of Chicago, Illinois, passed away September 17, 2014, following a five year battle with multiple myeloma, with his spouse and partner in life, Sam Tek Tang, at his bedside. In addition to Sam, Jerry is survived by his parents, Barbara and Jerry Burgdoerfer; his brothers Steven (Jennifer) Burgdoerfer, Jeffrey Burgdoerfer, and Stuart (Laney) Burgdoerfer; his nieces Jennifer, Heather, Prentice and Abigail; and his nephews Greg, Erik, John and Jack. Jerry and Sam were married on February 10, 2014, in one of the first same-sex marriages performed under the new Illinois law, after eleven years as life partners.

Jerry was born May 3, 1958 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. During Jerry's early years the family lived in New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin, as his father climbed the corporate ladder, before setting down roots in Brookfield, Connecticut, where Jerry graduated from high school in 1976. As a young man, Jerry enjoyed working with cars and electronics, and developed a love of music which he carried throughout his life.

Jerry loved spending time with his brother Steve on their DuraNautic boat on Candlewood Lake. Jerry earned three degrees at Indiana University - Bloomington: B.S., 1980, from the School of Business; M.B.A. and J.D., cum laude, 1983. Jerry was a member, and a generous supporter, of the social fraternity Phi Delta Theta - Indiana Alpha chapter at IU Bloomington.