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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 Manzella
Richard M. “Rich” Manzella, 45, Normal, passed away on June 2 at Heartland Health Care Center in Normal, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Born Oct. 6, 1965, in Chicago, he was the son of Richard and Cathy Manzella. He married Veronica Harcar on June 15, 1996, at St. Stephen’s Church, Streator. She survives in Normal. He is also survived by his children, Matthew and Jennifer Manzella, Normal; his mother, Cathy Manzella-Hensley, Joliet; sisters, Lorrie (Grady) Bourland, Plainfield, and Julie (Ward) McCloskey, Marseilles; a brother, Joe (Linda) Manzella, Escondido, Calif.; maternal grandmother, Loretta Koren, Bolingbrook; father and mother-in-law, Andrew R. and Maria Harcar, Streator; a sister-in-law, Theresa (Tim) Graves, Streator; a brother-in-law, Andy Harcar, Streator; nieces and nephews, Emma Graves, Kyle McCloskey, Karlee McClosky, Miranda Bourland and Cody Bourland; a great-niece, Taylor Bourland; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard Manzella Sr.; stepfather, Paul Hensley Sr.; maternal grandfather, John Koren; paternal grandparents, Frank and Josephine Manzella; and an uncle, Frank Gluting. Rich was a 1984 graduate of Romeoville High School and a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a bachelor of science degree in psychology.
Judge Christy S. Berkos passed away on May 10th, 2011 at the age of 85. Berkos was  a WWII Navy Veteran, the former Town of Cicero Attorney, Town of Cicero President & Criminal Court Judge of Cook County. He was  the beloved husband of Rita nee, Peacock, loving father of Cindy (Joel) Erickson, Daniel (Julie), & Kimberly (John) Kinnas; dear grandfather of Shane (Tim) Drey & Eric Sanford; uncle of many nieces & nephews.

Charles Flack
Charles "Chick" Flack, 83, passed away last month at Wesley Village Rehabilitation Center in Macomb. Mr. Flack attended Macomb schools and graduated from Northwester University in 1951 and Northwestern University Law School in 1954. He joined his father and George B. Kerman in the practice of law in 1954 and practiced until his retirement from Flack, McRaven and Stephen's in 1997. Mr. Flack served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the carrier USS Enterprise and USS Midway. Read the full obituary in the McDonough Voice.

Dorothy W. Spomer
Southern Illinois lost a legal pioneer on Saturday, April 23. Dorothy Wilbourn Spomer, 90, passed away in Cape Girardeau. Dorothy held the distinction of being the first woman judge in Southern Illinois, having been elected Alexander County Judge in 1950 and later Circuit Judge. After 27 years, she retired from the bench, only to soon be appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to become the first female to sit on the Fifth District Appellate Court. She left the court in 1980 and joined the practice of law with her husband, W.C. Spomer. They practiced as Spomer and Spomer until 1992. Judge Spomer graduated at the age of 22 with honors from the University of Illinois School of Law, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. Her first case after law school was with her father, attorney Asa Wilbourn, before the Supreme Court, where she argued and won an election contest lawsuit. During her judicial career, Judge Spomer heard cases throughout Southern Illinois and garnered the reputation as a principled, fair-minded jurist. Quiet and demur, she led by example. Always prepared and proficient in shorthand, it was not unusual for her notes to rival those of the court reporter. In 2009, she was a recipient of Southern Illinois University's Inspiring Women of Achievement Award.
Robert G. Kirchner, 54, of Urbana passed away on Sunday, April 17. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and had practiced in Champaign County for more than two decades.
"He was unique among the Champaign County Bar for how aggressive he was, what a bulldog he was," says fellow attorney Tom Bruno. "We lawyers have an ethical obligation to act in the best interests of our clients, and he would do anything to fulfill that obligation."
Funeral arrangements are pending at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, 1900 Philo Road, Urbana. Read the full obituary in the Champaign News-Gazette
Scott Michael Smith, of rural Cambridge, passed away on Sunday, April 3, 2011. Scott began his law career as an associate for two years at the law firm of Kell, Nuelle and Loizzo, in Woodstock. He was honored to be a shareholder in the Cambridge firm of Telleen, Horberg, Smith and Carmen, P.C. for the past 17 years. Scott's primary areas of practice were corporate transactions, municipal government, real estate, estate planning and estate administration. He was an honors graduate of Oregon High School in 1983. He completed his undergraduate degree magna cum laude at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987, majoring in accounting, receiving his CPA accreditation in 1992. He graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law, magna cum laude, in 1992. Scott was active in many community and service organizations, including Cambridge/Geneseo Chapter of Rebuilding Together, Cambridge Rotary Club, Cambridge Academic Foundation, and served as president for all these organizations. He also served on the boards of Black Hawk College Foundation, Junior Achievement, Brave Heart Child Advocacy Center and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2008. He was on the board of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, past president of the Henry County Bar Association and a member of the Illinois and American Bar Associations. He was a member of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants and the Christian Legal Society. He is survived by his wife Beth and his four children. Read the full obituary in the Ogle County News
Hon. Angelo D. Mistretta, passed away on Monday, April 11, 2011; beloved husband and best friend of Ruth A., nee Welter, for 59 years; loving father of Mark (Diane) and Scott Mistretta; proud grandfather of Matthew and Jason; born to the late Rosario and Maria Mistretta, on Feb. 16, 1925, in Chicago (old Taylor Street neighborhood). Angelo was an inspiring uncle to many and a friend to all who had the pleasure of knowing him; brother of Josephine Vullo, and the late Michelina Strazzantti, Bella Boulahanis, Salvatore Mistretta and Jeannie Hamza. Angelo served in WWII and after the war graduated from Valparaiso University Law School. He began his career as a Cook County state's attorney, and then went on to head his own private law practice, before being elected as a full circuit court judge. Following retirement he continued working in arbitration and mediations. He was a former president of the Justinian Society and a member of SACA. Angelo embraced his Italian and Sicilian heritage, and shared it with his family. Angelo's work ethic, unrivaled wit and great emphasis on family and friends are all characteristics to be admired. Visitation will be 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Coglianese Funeral Home, 7508 County Line Rd., Burr Ridge (south of I55 on Frontage Rd.). Funeral service 10 a.m. Friday, April 15, at the funeral home. Interment will be Bronswood Cemetery, Oakbrook. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to your charity of choice. Info: (630) 654-8484.
Charles W. Busse, who was born on Oct. 10, 1927, passed away on March 30 in Arlington Heights. Mr. Busse worked for Pretzel Stouffer from 1955 to 1984, and Busse & Busse, P.C. from 1984 until 2006. He was a 1951 graduate of the John Marshall Law School. He was a licensed attorney for over 50 years in Illinois, a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and a past president of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association. Visitation from 3-9 p.m. will be held on Friday, April 1, at the Glueckert Funeral Home, 1520 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, at Glueckert Funeral Home, Ltd. Internment is private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Gloria and Bill Busse Memorial Fund c/o Edison Park Lutheran Church, 6626 N. Oliphant Ave., Chicago, 60631, the Anti-Cruelty Societs, 157 N. Grand Ave., Chicago, 60654, or the American Cancer Society, 1114 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, 60004.

George J. Cotsirilos
Longtime Chicago criminal defense attorney George J. Cotsirilos died on Sunday, March 27 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Mr. Cotsirilos was a fledgling assistant state’s attorney in 1949, when 19-year-old Ruth Steinhagen — a “6-foot typist brunette” in that era’s hardboiled newspaper parlance — stalked Waitkus and shot the former Cub at the old Edgewater Beach Hotel. Waitkus survived despite being hit in the chest with a bullet from a .22-caliber rifle. Mr. Cotsirilos helped question Steinhagen, who reportedly told investigators: “I just wanted something exciting in my life. . . . I didn’t want to go back to typing.”
Click here to read the full obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times

John Olivero
John Olivero, 86, of Peru, IL, a devoted family man, passed away quietly on March 1, 2011 at Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Peru, IL. Mr. Olivero was born on August 18, 1924 and was raised in Dalzell. He graduated from Hall Township High School, Spring Valley and then entered LaSalle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College. While attending college, John was drafted into military service during World War II. He served in General Patton’s 3rd Army during the historic race to Berlin in the 1944/45 Campaigns. He was a Sergeant and Heavy Machine Gun Operator in the 242nd Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division of the 3rd Army. His service lasted almost 4 years and included combat in France, Germany, Austria and Italy. He received decorations for his campaigns in France and Germany. His service ended as part of the U.S. occupational force in Austria after the fighting ended. Like most World War II Veterans, he rarely talked about his service but he participated in Veteran’s Day ceremonies with his son, John Paul, who is also a Veteran, at his granddaughter Shana’s grade school and also spoke to her class. After serving our country, John re-entered and graduated from L.P.O. Junior College. John then attended the University of Illinois-Champaign, where he graduated with a law degree on June 18, 1950 and became licensed as an attorney on November 29, 1950. For more than 55 years John was devoted to the practice of law in his offices in Peru and Tonica, where his daughter, Lisa, who is also an attorney, joined him in 1982. He was an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the LaSalle County Bar Association. John was honored by the Illinois State Bar Association in 2000 for 50 years of distinguished service as an attorney. John served on the Board of Directors of the Illini State Bank in Tonica, Lostant and Oglesby for 22 years, which he enjoyed immensely.