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Obituaries

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

David Schmidt
David Schmidt
The University of Michigan lost one of its most ardent fans Wednesday, March 4, 2015, when David Faulkner Schmidt, the mayor of Park Ridge, Illinois, died after a sudden illness at his home. He was 57.

Dave was, in fact, a sports fan of all teams Detroit: Lions and Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings.

Dave was a talented lawyer, a member of Chittenden, Murday & Novotny LLC, with more than 20 years of litigation, trial and appellate experience in courts in Illinois and elsewhere in the U.S. In 2011, 2012 and 2014, he was named a Leading Lawyer, an honor shared by only 5 percent of all lawyers in Illinois.

A staunch Republican, Dave launched his career in nonpartisan local politics as an alderman serving the 1st Ward on the Park Ridge City Council. He was elected Park Ridge mayor in 2009 and re-elected – handily – in 2013.

A graduate of New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois, Dave earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and political science from Iowa's Coe College in 1978. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Chicago's Loyola University School of Law in 1990, where he was second in his class. While in law school, Dave served as the president of the Student Bar Association.

He was active as a Cub Scout den leader, and he especially enjoyed coaching his son, Kevin, on their Little League Baseball teams.

Patrick D. Ertel
Patrick D. Ertel
Patrick D. Ertel passed away at the age of 67 on Sunday, March 15th, in his recently adopted hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina, after suffering a massive heart attack.

The youngest son of Louis G. Ertel and Edith (Marks) Ertel, Patrick was born on October 21st, 1947, and was raised in Muncie, Indiana. He graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame (1970) and earned his Juris Doctor from Northwestern University (1973). He practiced intellectual property law for 42 years in Chicago, the past 16 of those years with Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, where he served as a Managing Partner.

Patrick was respected as a generous mentor, whether it was by colleagues at work or by youth on the soccer field. He held a commitment to education and not only actively pursued his own ongoing learning, but also proudly supported anyone whom he might be able to help do the same. He saw athletics as a tool to positively impact the lives of young people—especially his three daughters, as well as many of their teammates—and was a dedicated youth soccer coach who retired his whistle with a winning record.

Patrick died doing something he loved: running. He ran three days per week during most weeks, and although it had been decades since he completed the Chicago Marathon, he may have been in the best shape of his life. If there was any other activity that Patrick might have chosen as his last, it surely would have been captaining his boat, Pearl of the South, across the waterways of the Lowcountry with his wife and dog by his side.

Thomas Novotny, Sr.
Thomas Novotny, Sr.
Thomas Francis Novotny Sr., attorney and former CPD; 66, of Beverly; passed away peacefully March 20, 2015, after valiantly battling congestive heart failure due to complications from lifelong diabetes.

Devoted father of Thomas Jr. and Annie (Rob Jeffries), proud grandfather of Cecilia Louise; dear brother of Marilyn, Joanne (John) Patterson, and Nancy; beloved uncle and friend.

Alum of St. Rita H.S. '66, Lewis College '70, and Kent College of Law '80. Tom had many talents and his careers included teaching English and coaching hockey at St. Rita H.S., serving on the Chicago Police Department (9th district and Dept. of Research and Dev't.), and eventually practicing law on Chicago's South Side and Oak Lawn.

Member of The Beverly Area Planning Association and DuPage Amateur Radio Club, Tom was an avid ham radio enthusiast (handle W9LCL). Although Tom wore many hats, he cherished his family above all else. Tom will be remembered for his wit and humor, his intelligence and kindness. He will be missed by all.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org)

Elinor Swiger nee Porter, 87, of Glenview, passed away peacefully at home March 7, 2015.

Mrs. Swiger received her Bachelor and Law Degrees from The Ohio State University. At Ohio State she was involved with the YWCA, Student Court and Mortar Board. After graduating from law school she was a tax attorney in the Chief Council’s Office of the IRS where she met her future husband, Quentin. During her parenting years she was a member of a writer’s workshop which led to her writing and publishing six books. She wrote two books on travel to Mexico and Europe that were family based, three law books for high school and law students and a biography on famous women lawyers including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. After raising her three boys, she was a lawyer for 25 years with the Chicago law firm, Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor Ltd. where she practiced until she retired. Elinor was also very active in her community, serving two terms on the Glenbrook District 225 School Board, two terms on the Glenview Police/Fire Commission and 10 years as the chairman of the Glenview Zoning Board. She was passionately involved with the Bar Association, Character Counts, the Northfield Chapter of the Lyric Opera and the Glenview Community Church. She greatly enjoyed the game of golf, gardening and travel.

Beloved wife for 59 years of the late Quentin G. Swiger; loving mother of Andrew (Sherry), Calvin (Kathy), and Charles (Patty) Swiger; cherished grandmother of Matthew Swiger; dear sister of Marilyn (Ed) Eschliman; fond aunt of many nieces and nephews.

Interment will be private. Memorials may be made to The New Foundation Center, 444 W. Frontage Road, Northfield, IL 60093.

Robert W. McCarthy
Robert W. McCarthy
Robert W. McCarthy, 90, of Decatur, IL passed away on Thursday, March 19, 2015 in his residence.

Robert was born in Lincoln, IL on May 28, 1924 to James and Anna McCarthy. Robert served proudly in the U.S. Army. Following his service in WWII, Mr. McCarthy graduated from Lincoln College and the University of Illinois, College of Law 1947, where he was affiliated with Phi Delta Theta Social Fraternity.

He commenced his practice of law in Lincoln, IL the same year and moved his practice to Decatur in 1965. He was the senior named partner prior to his retirement in 2008 in the Decatur Law Firm of McCarthy, Rowden and Baker, and he was an acknowledged authority on worker’s compensation law.

As a state legislator in 1957 he overrode Governor Stratton’s veto of the public administration bill. This was the first override in 22 years. He was active in labor legislation and the chief sponsor of the revised worker’s compensation law of 1975. In 1959 he was the organizer of a campaign event in Decatur for John F. Kennedy, then a United States senator in Massachusetts and later President of the United States. McCarthy was active in Democratic politics and served in the Illinois General Assembly as a representative from 1954-1960 and senator from 1961-1977.

He was a member of the Decatur Athletic Club, Decatur Symphony Guild, Club at Pelican Bay at Naples, FL, Decatur Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and Ss. James and Patrick Catholic Church in Decatur, IL. Robert married Mary Fielding on September 6, 1952 in St. Joseph’s Church, Springfield, IL.

Shirl B. Laughlin
Shirl B. Laughlin
Shirl B. Laughlin, 86, of Freeport, died March 3, 2015 at FHN Memorial Hospital. Born on February 23, 1929 in Freeport, he was the son of Edward E. and Edna M. (Heeren) Laughlin. Shirl graduated from Freeport High School in 1946 and from Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1950 with a BA degree. He graduated from the University of Illinois Law School in 1953.

He spent January of 1954 until January 1956 in the U.S. Army. On February 4, 1956 Shirl and Hope Dupee were married in Freeport. They had three daughters, Laura, Lisa, and Ellen. Shirl was a lifelong resident of Freeport. Hope and Shirl met while playing in the Freeport Concert Band in Krape Park. Shirl played the 1st chair cornet in the band for 40 years. He and Hope were joined in the band by all three of their daughters at one time or another.

On return from his Army duties, he joined in law practice with his brother, Everett E. Laughlin, in the firm of Laughlin & Laughlin which was founded by their father, Edward E. Laughlin. He practiced law in the area for over 50 years until his retirement in 2003. Shirl was an avid fisherman and hunter and enjoyed hunting pheasants in this area with his German Shorthaired Pointer dogs. He was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather. Always a man of his word, many will remember his sparkling wit and dry humor which kept us smiling even as his health was failing.

Chester Blair
Chester Blair
It was during a visit to a hometown library in the segregated South that a young Chester Blair had one of his earliest encounters with racism.

Pulled aside by a disapproving librarian after going through the checkout line, the Texas native was told not to return to that library — one serving mostly whites — and to bring his book back to the library closer to where he lived in a black section of town.

"He was just a boy, but he knew that wasn't right," said his wife of 46 years, Judith. "He knew you don't treat people like that."

Years later, after moving to Chicago and attending college, Mr. Blair taught in Chicago Public Schools before earning a law degree and building a law practice.

"He was the kind of person that kept pushing his life forward, and by doing so, he advanced the lives of so many others," his wife said.

Mr. Blair, 86, the first elected African-American president of the Chicago Bar Association, died Monday, March 16, at a special care facility in Cincinnati, of complications related to Alzheimer's disease. Formerly a longtime resident of Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, he and his wife had moved to Cincinnati two years ago to be closer to family members.

Read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

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.