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Obituaries

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

James Bernard Blanchard
James Bernard Blanchard
Beloved father and devoted husband James Bernard Blanchard, 80, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 9th, 2017 at the King Bruwaert House in Burr Ridge after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was preceded in death by his wife Marcia (Daniell) and cherished son Jonathan. He is survived by his six children; William (Victoria Harris), Eric (Martha Jaquez), Peter (Meena Khandelwal), Christopher (Laurie), Michael (Katie) and Anne (Michael Kahn), and his 15 grandchildren Lillian, James, Isabel, Nicolas, Jonathan, Uma, Jaya, Sophia, Julia, Ben, Abigail, Belle, Harley, Harrison and Maxwell.

John M. Richman, the former CEO of Kraft, Inc who oversaw the landmark 1988 merger of Kraft with Phillip Morris, died on Saturday in West Palm Beach after a brief illness. He was 89.

The $13.1 billion transaction was at the time the second-largest merger in US history and created the world's biggest consumer products company. It was concluded only after Mr. Richman and the Kraft board rejected the original price and began making plans to take the company private. The final deal came as a result of intensive, late-night negotiations at an airport hotel between Mr. Richman and Philip Morris CEO Hamish Maxwell, and was concluded at a price almost 18% above than the original offer. 

Following the merger, Mr. Richman served on the Phillip Morris board of directors for six years, where he helped oversee the company's continued diversification into the food and beverage business. 

John Marshall Richman was born in New York City on November 9, 1927, the son of Arthur Richman, a playwright who wrote The Awful Truth among other works, and Madeline Marshall, a stage actress. Growing up in New York City, he said he never remembered a time when he did not work. He attended the Browning School and Yale University, both on scholarship, and then enrolled in Harvard Law School in Cambridge, where he met his wife-to-be Priscilla Frary. They were married in 1951.

Paul C. Hendren, 74, of Champaign and formerly of Carthage, died Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, while in hospice care at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, from viral encephalitis.

Paul was born Sept. 28, 1942, at Fort Riley, Kan., son of the late Dr. Paul and Nancy Grosboll Hendren. His family lived in the Stadium Terrace housing outside Memorial Stadium after World War II while his father prepared to be a member of the first class of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. The family moved to Carthage in 1952.

Paul graduated from the University of Illinois in 1964, with honors in sociology. He was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity and was business manager of the Illio yearbook.

He graduated from University of Illinois Law School in 1967, where he wrote for the Law Review and was named to the Order of the Coif Honorary.

After four years in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, including service in Vietnam, he worked for Capps & Ripple Law Firm in Carthage before joining the law firm of Williamson & Miller (now Miller & Hendren) in Champaign.

Paul always considered himself an office lawyer, who enjoyed helping ordinary people with their legal matters. He served as attorney for several villages in the Champaign area.

Paul was a past president of the Champaign County Bar Association and was named a Pillar of the Bar in 2015. He served many years as a hearing officer for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

He was active in the Champaign Lion’s Club and St. John Lutheran Church.

Stephen B. Luzbetak
Stephen B. Luzbetak
Stephen B. Luzbetak "Steve", age 79, of Lockport, passed away suddenly Friday, January 13, 2017 at Silver Cross Hospital. 

He was born in Joliet and was a lifelong Joliet-Lockport resident. An active Partner with Luzbetak and Caneva Law Firm in Lockport, which in 2016, celebrated 50 years of practice in Lockport. Member of the Will County and State Bar Associations; formerly was the Attorney for Ludwig, Kelvin Grove, Fairmont, Chaney-Monge school districts, the Lockport Fire District, the Fire District Foundation and the Channahon Park District and is presently the Attorney for the Lockport Park District. 

Steve started his career at Legal Aid in Chicago; was active in politics, served as Democratic Committeeman and Joliet Township Supervisor, served on the Will County Board for 10 years, first from Joliet, then from Lockport, losing by 1 vote in the battle for Chairman of the Will County Board in the 101 ballot vote; he ran for Will County Recorder of Deeds and Judge of the Circuit Court; was member and past president of both the Lockport Rotary Club and Lockport Chamber of Commerce, served 25 years on the Lockport Old Canal Days Committee and served on the boards of the Will County Historical Society, American Cancer Society and the United Way. 

Walter Gerald Nelson, 87, of Bloomington, distinguished attorney, enthusiastic but inexpert golfer and outstanding citizen of the world, died January 6, 2017 at St. Joseph Medical Center surrounded by his family.

Walter was born January 2, 1930 in Peoria, IL, the only son of Walter and Hazel Nelson. He married Mary Ann Olberding on January 28, 1952. She preceded him in death. He married Mary Jo Sunderland on April 6, 1991 in Peoria, IL.

He is survived by his seven children: Ann (Mike) Larkin, Leland, NC; Mike (Pat) Nelson, Bloomington; Sue (Jay) Boor, Springfield, Pat (Lori) Nelson; Mackinaw, Tom (Tracey) Nelson, O’Fallon, MO; Tim (Lorraine) Nelson, Canton, MA; and Molly (Dave) Edwards, Bloomington; 19 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren as well as Mary Jo's children: Steve (Mary) Sunderland, Kevin (Tamie) Sunderland, Tom (Judy) Sunderland, Colleen (Chuck) Hubert, Maureen (Bob) Grubbs, and Teresa (George) Girardi, 19 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Mary Ann, daughter-in-law Robbin Nelson, and great-granddaughter Emily Nelson.

Walter graduated from St. Bernard’s Grade School and Spalding High School in Peoria, where he participated in football, baseball, and basketball. He captained Nelson’s Nine Nasty Nosepickers to the softball league championship.

He completed his pre-law education at St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, KA and Bradley University in Peoria, where he was a cheerleader senior year. He received his Juris Doctorate from Creighton University in Omaha, NE.

Justice John J. Stamos
Justice John J. Stamos
Justice John J. Stamos, who served as an Illinois Supreme Court Justice from 1988 to 1990, passed away on Saturday, January 28, in Northbrook. He was 92.

“On behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends and former colleagues of Justice John J. Stamos," Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier said. "Justice Stamos was an outstanding lawyer and judge who distinguished himself both on the appellate court and as a member of the Supreme Court of Illinois.

"Justice Stamos is perhaps best known as the author of In re Himmel,  125 Ill.2d 531(1989).  Decided in the wake of Operation Greylord, In re Himmel affirmed that all members of the Illinois bar are under an obligation to report lawyer misconduct or the misconduct of others directly observed in the practice of law or the administration of justice. The case has been cited hundreds of times in the legal literature and has had a profound and positive impact on how lawyers conduct themselves in Illinois and throughout the United States. The people of our State owe him a debt of gratitude for his unwavering commitment to the highest principles of justice. He will be missed."

Valjean Rhule SmithValjean Rhule Smith, 88, of Springfield, passed away at 4:35 p.m. on Monday, December 26, 2016 at Memorial Medical Center. 

Valjean was born on February 16, 1928 in Springfield, the son of George and Tressa Rhule Smith. He married Connie Lee Riley on August 9, 1969 in Beardstown; she preceded him in death on August 13, 2012. 

Valjean earned his juris doctorate from Springfield College. He served as a public defender and worked for several private practice firms before retiring from the State of IL, Division of Aeronautics. He was a member of the Jacksonville Country Club and enjoyed golfing, fishing, reading, traveling, cooking and spending time with his family. 

Gregory Freerksen was a civil rights and labor union attorney for about 40 years. He was also a Blues radio DJ for 20 years, and he was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame during its first year. He loved music, dogs, being outdoors, science, and creating things, whether in the garden, the kitchen, or artistically. His family was very important to him.

Robert M. "Cub" Culbertson Jr.Robert M. "Cub" Culbertson Jr., 84, of Delavan passed away Friday, December 30, 2016, at the OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, Illinois.

Born August 14, 1932, in Bloomington, Illinois, to Robert M. and Jeanette Read Culbertson, he lived his entire life in Delavan. His mother passed away when he was 12 and he fondly remembered his Aunt Helen and Uncle John Culbertson who helped him grow up. He married Joyce E. Winkler on August 15, 1953, in Peoria, Illinois.
He was preceded in death by one son, Scott L. Culbertson.

Survivors include his wife, Joyce W. Culbertson; a daughter, Carol (and Ron) Ernst of Fishers, Indiana; a daughter, Jean (and Dana) Sutton of Ona, West Virginia; a son, Hal Robert (and Rhonda) of South Bend, Indiana; five grandsons; one granddaughter; and two great-grandsons. 

Marvin GreenMarvin Green, 91, of Chicago, born 1925 in Lansford, PA, died peacefully on Dec. 28. Beloved husband of Anne Jentry, loving father of Bobbie (Hank) Scheff, Amy (Allen) Oseroff, David Lanier and Kate Samuels, and grandfather of Julian, Matt (deceased), Jack, and Andy Scheff, and Dan and Tom Oseroff. WWII Army veteran, University of Chicago College and Law School graduate, practicing attorney for 65 years, prolific writer (readmarvin.com), Renaissance Man.