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Obituaries

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

Richard "Dick" Rasmussen, 81, of LaHarpe, died Feb. 15, 2017, at Memorial Hospital, Carthage. He attended the University of Iowa College of Law and began his career as a lawyer in LaHarpe in 1963, where he practiced for decades. He served as LaHarpe City Attorney for more than 40 years. Services have been held. 

Mary L. Sfasciotti
Mary L. Sfasciotti
Prominent Chicago immigration attorney Mary L. Sfasciotti died February 26 after a long illness. The daughter of Joseph and Lilia Sfasciotti, Attorney Sfasciotti was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on November 5, 1941. She earned her law degree in 1965 from Northwestern. She started her legal career as an attorney for the Immigrant's Service League, a non-profit in Chicago. She then went on to work for the US Board of Immigration Appeals for several years. Thereafter, she was trial counsel with the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Illinois, and then Assistant Regional Counsel for EEOC. From the early 1980s, until she was forced to retire due to illness, she was in private practice in the Chicago area where she specialized in immigration law. She was a published author in the field of immigration law and taught immigration law at John Marshall Law School. She was active in the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association and the Alumni Associations of both Ripon College and Northwestern Law School. She is survived by her brother, Robert Sfasciotti, and her sister, Ginevra Cuira. Services have been held.

Roger Benson
Roger Benson

Former Kankakee County Associate Judge Roger Benson, 84, died February 10 at his Bourbonnais home. He had been battling health problems for a few months. Last June, he received the Illinois State Bar Association's John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award in the outstanding individual attorney category. 

Benson practiced law for 58 years. He studied pre-law at Northwestern University and received his law degree in 1958 from DePaul University. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, a son, two daughters, a stepson and two stepdaughters. He was preceded in death by a son. Services have been held.

Allen Landmeier, 74, died on Saturday, February 25 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Charlotte, sons; Matthew (Megan), Mark (Karen), and Michael (Anna), and granddaughters Eleanor, Caroline, and Charlotte Landmeier. The son of Vernon and Eleanor Landmeier, Allen was born on November 24, 1942 in Elmhurst. On July 8, 1978 he married Charlotte (nee Ekern) at the Geneva United Methodist Church. He was a graduate of St. Charles High School and received his bachelors and law degrees from Valparaiso University. An active member of and contributor to the ISBA, he was editor of the State and Local Taxation Section newsletter for more than 20 years. He won the Austin Fleming Newsletter Editor Award in 1997, the newsletter program's highest honor. He was Lieutenant in the US Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, city attorney of St. Charles, and senior partner at Smith, Landmeier, and Elders, PC in Geneva until his retirement. He was a past president of the Kane County Bar Association. Services have been held.

Roy Claybourn Palmer
Roy Claybourn Palmer
Roy Claybourn Palmer died February 27, 2017. He was born in Kearney, Missouri on August 9, 1935 and moved to Chicago shortly after his birth. After serving in Korea with the US Army 7th Cavalry, he married his first wife, Nancy Barclay and had three children, Claybourn John Palmer, Heather Ann Palmer Roberts and Allyson Lynn Palmer. He started his professional life with the Federal Trade Commission then followed into the private sector, eventually starting his own firm. Focusing on business law, among others practice areas, he represented the Visiting Nurses Association and the Illinois State Savings and Loan Association. He attended Chicago's Lake View HS, Lake Forest College and Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate with Honors. He established and endowed the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize at Chicago-Kent College of Law for writings that explore the tension between our civil liberties and national security in contemporary American society. In 1983 he married Susan Marie Kelly. Shortly thereafter they embarked on an adventure that would change the world of many Native American tribes. As a pioneer in the Native American Gaming Industry, he was said to have "found a loophole in the law and drove a mack truck through it". He worked most notably for the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin who awarded him their highest honor by presenting him with an Eagle Feather. From California to Florida he fought many legal battles to gain the tribes their gaming rights.

Morton A. Kier of Elmwood Park, respected attorney for over 50 years, died at age 88. He was also a talented and passionate trumpet player and music teacher. He is survived by his wife, Louise Olivo-Kier; his daugther, Cheryl (Mike Procter) Kier; and his son, Brian Kier. Services have been held.

Penny Nathan Kahan
Penny Nathan Kahan
Penny Nathan Kahan, nee Schwartz, formerly Penny Nathan Furhman, age 72, died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by her husband Brian Burrows and sons Daniel Furhman (Claire Sebastian) and Noah Furhman (Karina).

She was born in Chicago, attended Sullivan High School, earned a B.A. from Roosevelt University in 1966, did graduate work at the University of Chicago, and earned a J.D. from Berkeley Law in 1978. She worked in the state's attorney's office and founded the law firm of Penny Nathan Kahan and Associates in 1983.

Her career as an attorney was focused on helping people who suffered from workplace unfairness and discrimination. She was one of the co-founders of The National Employment Lawyers Association in 1985 and the founder of its Illinois affiliate. In 2000 she was elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Law and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2002. In 2008 she was recognized as one of the Top Ten Woman Lawyers in the state representing individual consumers of legal services. She closed her practice in 2010 due to complications from her illness.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Illinois Chapter, illinois@ovarian.org. A celebration of her life will be held at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd (at Niles Center Road) on Sunday, February 19 at 2PM.

Eugene Dechter, Buffalo Grove, died at age 81. He is survived by his wife, Iris Sinitch; and sons Larry (Patti), Mark, and Bradley (Lisa) Dechter. He was a lawyer with the Chicago Park District, Ash & Dechter, and Dechter & Dechter, and a 50 year member of the Illinois State and Chicago Bar Associations. Services have been held.


Francis X. Mahoney
Francis X. Mahoney
Honorable Retired Judge Francis X. Mahoney of Freeport died Friday, February 3, 2017. He is survived by brothers Johnny, Tommy and David who all live in the Boston area; his son, the Honorable Judge P Michael Mahoney (Cris) of Freeport; grandchildren Dan (Kim) and Tim Mahoney both of Freeport; and step grandchildren Jeff Pukacz (Michelle) of Bloomington and Julie MacAllister (Matt) of Sycamore.

He attended St John's Prep and Boston College before he enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946. After his discharge he attended Northwestern University Law School on the GI Bill and received his Law Degree in October of 1948. He moved to Ashland, Wisconsin in 1948 and he began practicing law there. In 1951 he moved to Park Falls, Wisconsin to practice law with Arthur DeBarteleben. In 1955 he moved to Freeport, and in 1962 he formed a law partnership with Harold Nettles.

James W. Ryan of Hillside, age 81, died January 28, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and nephews and nieces Lynne (John) Rooney, Barbara (Joe) Martin, Chris (Colleen) Kamin, Patrick, Kevin, Kate and Bryan Kamin. He worked as a Cook County Assistant States Attorney for more than 50 years. Services have been held.