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Obituaries

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

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.

Don Koeneman
Don Koeneman
Don Paul Koeneman, 80, passed away on Jan. 16, 2015, at Memorial Hospital in Belleville.

He was born to the late Bruno William and Marguerite (nee Finley) Koeneman on April 24, 1934, at his Grandmother Koeneman's home in Steeleville. He lived in Steeleville until 1947 when the family moved to Chester. Don attended Chester Grade School and graduated from Chester High School in 1952. While attending Chester High School he participated in basketball and tennis, and was the editor of The Summit yearbook.

In 1956 Don graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and received a commission to the U.S. Air Force JAG Corp as a Second Lieutenant. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Washington University Law School in 1958. While attending Washington University, he participated in the Air Force ROTC, and was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

On June 30, 1956, Don married Mary Ann Uffelman in Chester. In October of that year, he entered active duty at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base followed by two and one half years at the Azores Air Transport Station in Azores, Portugal.

Stewart Strawn Dixon
Stewart Strawn Dixon
Stewart Strawn Dixon, 84, of Lake Bluff died December 14, 2014. He was a founding member of one of Chicago's leading corporate law firms, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, today known as Edwards Wildman and Palmer.

Practicing law in Chicago for over half a century, Dixon started his legal profession as Partner at Kirkland and Ellis, before teaming up with Max Wildman, Bernard Harrold, and Thomas Allen in 1967 to form Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon out of a small cramped office located on the fourth floor at Six North Michigan Avenue. Dixon practiced in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Antitrust, Corporate, Securities and Tax, and Estate Planning, Probate and Family Law. His bar admissions included: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar member) Supreme Court of Illinois, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuitas well as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dixon served more than 25 years as lead Counsel to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a nationally recognized non-profit association of advertisers, ad agencies and publishers. Dixon also served as a Director of New York based Lord Abbett Family of Mutual Funds from 1976 2002. Additionally, Dixon represented, American Stock Exchange, Edward Hines Lumber Company, Ducks Unlimited, North American Wildlife Foundation, and William Blair & Company.

Clyde Meachum
Clyde Meachum
Clyde Meachum, 94, of Danville passed away on Jan. 26, 2015 at Colonial Manor in Danville. Clyde was born Feb. 3, 1920, in Hallsville, the son of Fred and Ruth Meachum. He married Virginia Harvin on Dec. 30, 1942, in Chicago. She precedes him in death, having passed on Feb. 23, 2010.

Clyde is survived by a son, Bruce (Sharon) Meachum of Danville; two daughters, Carol (Kim Walter) Meachum of Seattle and Connie (Elizabeth Most) Meachum of Harbor Springs, Mich.; two grandchildren, Lynette Baisch of Seattle and Grant Meachum of New York City; and two great-grandchildren, Ruben Baisch and Marco Baisch.

Clyde graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Education degree. Following service as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1948.

Clyde was an attorney for nearly 60 years, retiring in 2008. He began his legal career in Danville in 1948, as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Walter Lindley. From 1949 to 1961, Clyde was the Referee in Bankruptcy for the U.S. District Court, covering 45 counties in eastern and southern Illinois. He entered the private practice of law in Danville in 1951, in partnership with Ray Foreman. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he had been a partner in the law firm of Meachum & Martin in Danville.

Michael R. Galasso
Michael R. Galasso
As a young lawyer in the 1960s, Michael R. Galasso represented individuals in difficult divorces and child custody battles and saw up close the need for the justice system to do more to help families and couples in crisis. During a 16-year judicial career he was able to do something about it, instituting reforms for the system’s handling of divorce cases and offering help to troubled youths. And in the final decade of his career in private practice at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck he shared his expertise and wisdom with young lawyers and with clients.

Judge Galasso died Friday, January 23 at the age of 78.

“Our firm lost an outstanding attorney, a respected, admired judge and a good friend with the passing of Mike Galasso,” said Donald C. Schiller, senior partner, Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. “He showed great foresight as a judge, bringing psychological services, mediation and evaluation to divorce cases in DuPage County. He was so respected he was appointed to the Appellate Court. Mike simply excelled at everything he did.”

Mr. Galasso spent the bulk of his career litigating family law cases in DuPage County after graduating from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1961. He was appointed an Associate Judge in DuPage County in 1984 and went on to serve as Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations and Law Divisions and Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of DuPage County.

Walter Simhauser
Walter Simhauser
Walter J. Simhauser died on January 16, 2015, in Springfield at age 96. He was retired from a long career as a lawyer in Springfield and central Illinois.

He is survived by his wife, Jean, his brother, John Simshauser, son, Val Simhauser (Patty Hagner), stepchildren Kathy (Richard) Crider, Karen (Carl) Schmidt, Brian Berg, and Melanie Berg, nephews Andy and Peter Simshauser, niece Kitty Lavin, other nieces and nephews, grandchildren Matt (Amanda) Simhauser and Mark Simhauser (fiancée, Caitlin Dungan), Ali Berg, Anna and Nate Schmidt, Kyle and Adam Crider, and great-granddaughter, Ava Simhauser.

Mr. Simhauser was Springfield’s City Attorney from 1955 to 1959 and from 1963 to1969. He was also the city attorney for Leland Grove, aiding in its founding in 1950 and serving until 1990, and for Jerome, Southern View, Grandview, Auburn, and Chatham.
He was born in May 1918 in Bloomington, Illinois, the oldest son of Val M. Simhauser and Daisy (Burke) Simhauser.

He was predeceased by both parents, and by a brother, Judge Louis E. Simhauser. His father was a railroad machinist who moved on to self-employment after the 1922 strike at the Chicago & Alton yards in Bloomington, and who also served several terms as a Bloomington alderman. His mother was a teacher and a graduate of the State Normal School. Education, books, and reading were integral parts of life in the family’s Bloomington household. He and his two brothers became lawyers.

Joseph A. Tecson
Joseph A. Tecson
Joseph A. Tecson passed away peacefully at home in Riverside on Sunday, January 11. Joe and Caroline recently celebrated 60 years of marriage, and his good humor, wisdom and support were a blessing to his children, grandchildren and great grandchild. He shared his zest for life and values with his family, many governmental and charitable institutions, and Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. where he headed the Governmental and Healthcare Practices of the firm.