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Obituaries

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

William R. Stanczak
William R. Stanczak
William R. Stanczak of Waukegan, died Tuesday, September 8 after a short illness. He was 78. Born January 10, 1937 to Celia (née Svedo) & Bruno W. Stanczak, Bill graduated from Holy Rosary Grade School, Waukegan High School and Marquette University Law School. 

A practicing attorney in Lake County since 1960, Bill was a long-time member of Glen Flora Country Club, City Club, The Lake County Bar Association and Marquette's "M" Club for former athletes. He was also a member of the Wilmot Mountain Ski School Bill loved skiing, golf, basketball, hunting and playing with his dogs. Friends and family will miss his twinkling eyes and mischievous smile.

Survived by his wife of 25 years Lynn Stanczak (née Murray) and five children: Lisa Stanczak (Skip Lemon) of Bloomfield Village, MI; Heidi Dyer (Timothy) of Mequon, WI; Kristine Stanczak of Libertyville, IL; Suzanne Stanczak of Gurnee, IL; Bill Stanczak (Jessica, née Olive) of Evanston, IL; and one step-son, Joshua Neuwirth (Marylu, née Pajente) of Waukegan, IL. Bill will be missed by ten grandchildren: Christian Lemon, Heidi Lemon, Gretchen Lemon, Neal Dyer, Phoebe Dyer, Gillian Dyer, Julia Elsmo, Sophie Elsmo, Olivia Stanczak and Emily Stanczak; and two step-grandchildren: Caleb Neuwirth and Cylla Neuwirth.

Bill is also survived by his brother Dr. Ronald (Patricia) Stanczak of Gurnee, IL and a sister, Susan (the late David) Everett of Canon City, CO and brother-in-law, Steve Murray, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, golf buddies, former law partners, business associates and three very spoiled dogs: Joe Black, Maxine and Tootchie.

Hon. Patrick McLaughlin
Hon. Patrick McLaughlin
Hon. Patrick McLaughlin, 68, passed peacefully August 28, 2015, surrounded by family after a 3 and 1/2 year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mr. McLaughlin was born in Keokuk, Iowa. He attended Western Illinois University and graduated with a B.A. in political science. He attended law school at St. Louis University and received his J.D., cum laude, in 1974.

Drafted from law school, Pat proudly served in the U.S. Army before returning to finish his Juris Doctorate.

Pat began his law practice in St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as an associate for several years. He moved his family to Olney and practiced law, specializing in Civil and Criminal Trial Practice. He was Board Certified in 1986 by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Pat was elected Circuit Judge of Second Judicial Circuit, Illinois, in 1986 and served in that capacity until 1997. During his tenure in Illinois, he sat, at times, as a special judge of the Illinois Court of Appeals.

In 1997 Pat was appointed as a U.S. Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration and assigned to Jacksonville, Florida, where he remained. 

Pat was an active member of Saint Paul’s Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and American Legion. Pat was the founder of the Florida Pancreas Cancer Coalition, a 501 c (3) organization. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January of 2012, he was passionate to raise funds to support research for the disease.

William Sneckenberg
William Sneckenberg

William J. Sneckenberg, 68, brought his Nebraskan-bred blend of practicality and humanity to a legal career that spanned more than four decades.  Known for sporting black cowboy boots year-round, in court and out, Bill (“Sneck” to his many friends) established himself as an astute trial lawyer and consummate gentleman.  He was widely respected among colleagues, clients, judges, and adversaries alike.

Bill graduated fifth out of a class of 120 from Creighton University School of Law in 1972 and launched his practice career at the Chicago law firm of Clausen Miller.  In 1977, he left big-firm practice to co-found Lev & Sneckenberg, and in 1982, he established William J. Sneckenberg & Associates, Ltd.  In 2004, the firm was renamed Sneckenberg Thompson & Brody, LLP.

Throughout his career, Bill remained committed to the high-quality, personal touch of a focused boutique practice.  Numerous attorneys, law clerks, and administrative professionals enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from him.  He possessed the rare ability to connect with people from a diversity of backgrounds, often over an after-work cocktail, because he genuinely enjoyed their company.  His love for people made him effective not only as a lawyer in front of a jury, but as a friend to the many who knew him and the countless strangers who encountered him.

Phillip Ames Theis Sr. died at the age of 79. Born March 10, 1936 in Granite City, IL, he was the son of the late Dr. E. H. Theis and Lida CotterTheis. He was also predeceased by his brother Dr. E. Howard Theis.

He was a graduate of Washington University, where he earned his undergraduate and Doctor of Law degrees. Mr. Theis practiced law in Granite City for many years and was especially proud when his son, who also earned a Doctor of Law degree, joined his law firm. They practiced law together until Mr. Theis was forced to retire in 1996 because of failing health. Mr. Theis was Chairman of the Granite City Planning and Zoning Administration for many years prior to his retirement.

After his retirement Mr. Theis and his wife traveled for several years in a motor coach, visiting all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. They lived in Naples, Florida and Swansea, Illinois before returning to live in Granite City in 2010.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Tellor Theis who he married on December 21, 1957. He is survived by two children, Terri Kaye Shaw (David) and Phillip A. Theis (Suzan); his grandchildren Melanie Crews Welsh, Jessica Shaw Chance (Tom), Adam Shaw (Michael Pohlman), SeanTheis, Jenna Theis Donahue (Danny), and John Theis; and four great grandchildren Aiden Welsh, Ty Phillip Cooper, Skylynne Donahue, and Jaxx Donahue. In addition he leaves sisters-in-law Sherri Tellor Ledbetter (Jimmy) and Lynda Tellor Teague (Tom), brother-in-law Ronald Tellor (Robin), several nieces and nephews and many good friends.

David Apter of Highwood, IL passed away on Sunday, May 17th, 2015. He was beloved husband of Susann nee Much. Loving father of Kevin (Stacy) Apter, Greg (Leslie) Apter and Steve Apter. Cherished grandfather of Morgan, Jacob, Nathan, Ben, Noah, Talia and Joey Apter. Devoted brother of John (Sherry) Apter and Carol (Keith) Reichard. Dear brother-in-law of Tina (Wayne) Levenfeld and Todd (Janice) Much. Fond uncle, cousin and friend to many. Services have been held. In lieu of flowers remembrances to Parkinson's Disease Research Society (PDRS) 25 N. Winfield Road, 4 North Tower, Winfield, IL 60190 would be appreciated. Arrangement by Mitzvah Memorial Funerals, 630-Mitzvah (630-648-9824) or www.MITZVAHFUNERALS.com.


85-year-old Richard Carr Cochran of Fairfield passed away at 4:43 p.m. at his home Thursday, September 3, 2015.  Richard attended public schools in Carmi.  He obtained a B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1952 where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.  He was in the United States Army Signal Corps from 1952-1954 where he was a corporal in the 366th Signal Battalion in Camp Gordon, GA.  Richard obtained a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1957.  Richard held a law practice in Fairfield from 1959 until his retirement in 1998.  His law firms included Loy & Ziegler, Loy & Cochran, Cochran & Harrison, Cochran & Garrison, Cochran & Jordan, Richard C. Cochran, Cochran & Kakac, and Cochran, Kakac & Vaughan.  He was Assistant States Attorney for Wayne County from 1952-1972, City Attorney for Fairfield from 1967-1977, and also a special prosecutor for the Charles B. Harris Murder, Arson & Perjury Trials and Appeals.  Richard was Corporate Counsel for multiple area schools and towns.

Richard was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Fairfield where he served on the Administrative Board, Board of Trustees, Stewardship Chairman, and Treasurer.  He was an active member of the Lions Club for over 55 years where he was a past President.  He was a member of the Fairfield Hospital Foundation from 1988-1994 and a member of the Sierra Club.  Richard volunteered for Meals on Wheels for many years and also loved running, photography, camping and hiking.


Phyllis Jean Beverly, 62, of Glenarm, died at 8:12 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, at her home.

Phyllis was born June 17, 1953, in Springfield, Ill., the daughter of Gerald and Elsie Wallsten Heckler. She married Thomas E. Beverly on Feb. 15, 1980, at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.

Phyllis worked at The Apple Barn in Chatham for over 20 years. Prior to that, she worked 17 years for the Attorney General. She had also been employed by the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Medical Society. Phyllis was a member, past deacon, elder, and Sunday school teacher at First Presbyterian Church. She enjoyed flowers and gardening, being outside, and spending time with her family.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one son, Stephen G. Beverly.

Phyllis is survived by her husband, Thomas E. Beverly of Glenarm; four children: April Bridges of Bloomington, Thomas (Carmen) Beverly of Chatham, Heather (Jason) Konzelmann of Georgia, and Dylan Beverly of Glenarm; eight grandchildren: Shelby, Jayden, Nathan, and Katrina Beverly, Keegan and Summer Bridges, and Carly and Audrey Konzelmann; three sisters: Nancy Schwermin of Springfield, Cheryl (Victor) Linderman of Glenarm, and Joyce Padget (Bill Peters) of Chatham; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services have been held. Please visit boardmansmith.com to offer your condolences.

Gary Cline
Gary Cline
Gary L. Cline, 59, of Franklin, passed away on Saturday, September 5, 2015, at Memorial Medical Hospital in Springfield.

He was born on May 23, 1956, to George and Mary Louise Kaiser Cline. In 1978, Gary married his high school sweetheart, Linda Bergschneider, and she survives. Together they raised their three children, John Cline of Austin, Texas, Nicholas (Mallory) Cline of Evanston, and Elizabeth Cline at home. He is also survived by three sisters, Cathy (Dave) Rhea of Waverly, Connie Fairless of Jacksonville, and Carol (Robert) Seymour of Franklin. He loved his family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many nieces and nephews.

Gary earned a bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois. He was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1981 and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar in 1985. He was a past president of the Sangamon County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and a member of the ISBA Assembly, Lincoln-Douglas Inns of Court, and Trial Lawyers Association. Gary joined Rammelkamp Bradney as a partner in 2002. Gary also taught a business law class at Illinois College.

Gary’s service to the community laid a foundation for pieces of his children’s lives. He spent many years serving on the Franklin CUSD #1 school board, as a scout leader, and a cross-country coach. In the past several years he, donated countless hours volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County both locally and internationally.

Gary was generous with his time and skills. He always saw the best in the world around him and worked to see it realized.

Molly Warner Lien, age 67, died on Sept. 11, 2015, at the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids as a result of cardiomyopathy and complications of heart surgery. She was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 26, 1948, the only child of the late Cornelius and Donna (Dora M.) Beukema. She grew up in Homewood, Illinois, and she attended the Interlochen Arts Camp, and finished her last two years of high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy, graduating in 1966 with a major in voice. She won the concerto competition twice at the Arts Camp and again during her senior year at the Arts Academy. She also played the leads in several productions, including those by Gilbert & Sullivan, and the high school musical.

After attending the University of Michigan her freshman year, she graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in music. She sang numerous operatic roles, but ultimately was drawn to a career in law. She graduated with honors from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta in 1978 where she was President of the Women’s Law Student Association, Articles Editor of the Law Review, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honorary Society, and a member of the Order of the Coif. She was also voted the Wall Street Journal Award by the Faculty for Outstanding Academic Achievement in the field of law.

Donald Hoppe
Donald Hoppe
Donald Hoppe, age 67, a lifelong resident of the Wheaton/Glen Ellyn area, passed away at home with his family on Thursday, August 27, 2015. He was born on September 19, 1947.

Don grew up in Wheaton and graduated from Wheaton Central High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois. Don was a passionate medical malpractice defense attorney, working for firms in Chicago including Kirkland & Ellis, Peterson & Ross, and Johnson & Bell. In recent years he practiced with his wife, Karren.

Don was an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, where he taught on trial practice and professional liability. He enjoyed sports and coached his children in both baseball and basketball. He loved rescuing animals, traveling, and rooting for the Chicago White Sox (and whoever played the Cubs). He was an active member of the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church.

Don is survived by his wife Karren; his daughter, Michelle; his sons, Steve and Bryan; his granddaughter, Brooklyn; and his two dogs, Lady and Fred.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Nelson and Alice Hoppe.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, September 3, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Hultgren Funeral Home, 304 N. Main St., in Wheaton, IL. A funeral service will be held on Friday, September 4, at 11 a.m. at the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church (now known as the Compass Church), 520 E. Roosevelt Rd., Wheaton, IL 60187.