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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will receive the 2017 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 19th annual black-tie Gala, presented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, on Friday evening, October 20, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner, dancing, and remarks by Senator Durbin. The mission of the IBF, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is to ensure meaningful access to the civil justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.

Senator Dick Durbin is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois and also serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader, the second highest position among the Senate Democrats. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

Benjamin Hooker Watts, 55, died at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 19, 2017) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was born March 1, 1962, in Urbana, to Emily Stipes Watts and Robert Allan Watts. He married Judith Diane Argentieri on Oct. 25, 1997, in Chicago. They have a daughter, Olivia Argentieri Watts (18), and a son, Samuel Argentieri Watts (16).

Ben is survived by his wife and two children. He is also survived by his mother and brothers, Edward and Thomas, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father.

Ben graduated from Champaign Central High School and Dartmouth College and played football for both CHS and Dartmouth. He later graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law, going on to practice law with Gardner Carton & Douglas, Chicago. He returned to Champaign to join Stipes Publishing where he was a partner in the publishing business.


Elmer Clyde Rudy, 86, of Rockford, died at Mercy Health/Rockford Memorial Hospital at 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017. He was born in Elgin, IL April 10, 1931; the son of Elmer Rudy and Bernice Tobin Rudy. His family moved to Marengo, IL in 1942, where he attended the Marengo public schools. He graduated from Beloit College Magna Cum Laude in 1953, where he was a member of the 1951 NIT basketball team, the Washington Semester Program, President of the SAE fraternity, and where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternities. He married Margaret Meyer in Marengo on July 5, 1953.

Mark Kowalcyzk
Mark Kowalcyzk
Mark Kowalczyk, 73, a criminal defense Attorney In Glen Ellyn, IL. died on Friday, September 1, 2017 surrounded by family and friends. Beloved fiancé of Patricia (Pattie) Murray, Step-father of Steven (Eleanor) Horvath and grandfather of Teddy "Rocco"  Horvath. Beloved son of the late Irene and Edmund Kowalczyk. Loving step-son of Rozanne "Posy" K. Robertson. Dear Brother of Madeleine Rapsey, Mary (Howard) Rittgarn, and the late Michael Kowalczyk.

Mark led a full and colorful life. Zealous "justice-seeker" and defender of the accused. Always generous to a fault, he often represented many pro-bono. A big game hunter and admirer of beautiful woods, Mark enjoyed collecting and restoring long guns of all kinds. Mark's many hobbies included rebuilding vintage trucks and woodworking. In his spare time, Mark was a nature lover, avid reader, small town wanderer and world traveler.

Anthony W. Summers, III; at rest September 1, 2017. Loving husband of Bernadine L. Summers (nee: Lawrence). Cherished father of Laura (Michael) Peterson, Victoria (John) Hosdpoka and step-father of Jeffrey Poska. Devoted grandfather of Erik Peterson. Dear brother of Terry (Roxie) Summers. Anthony was a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. He was an accomplished attorney who practiced law in Oak Brook for over 50 years as well as being a member of many legal associations.

Thomas P. Marnell
Thomas P. Marnell
Thomas P. Marnell, 60, passed away on Sunday Sept. 3, 2017 after battling kidney cancer. Tom was married to the love of his life, Christy (Sallas). The couple lived in Oak Park and Naperville and raised four amazing children, Colleen (Tom) McManigal (Naperville, IL), Anthony (Brooklyn, NY), Tommy (Los Angeles, CA), and Kara (San Francisco, CA). A man of humility and generosity, and who faithfully lived his values, Tom was devoted to his family and devout in his Catholic faith. By his own quiet example, Tom taught his children the importance of honor, empathy, friendship, and the inherent joy in serving others and his spirit will live on in them.

Tom loved to spend time with family and friends at Big Sand Lake, hike in the Arizona mountains with his sweetheart and wife of 36 years, Christy, and defeat his children at Scrabble. As a grandfather, a role he cherished, Tom never missed an opportunity to make his grandchildren smile and was never more content than with a baby in his arms. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten by the many whose lives he touched. 

George Hamman
George Hamman
George Weldon Hamman, 83, USAF Vet-Korea, beloved husband of the late Merrill nee Hubbell; loving father of James (Molly) Hamman; cherished grandfather of Susan and Stephen; dear brother of Nora (Tony) Velasquez, Linda (Michael) Struble, Jerry (Julie) Hamman and Dan (Juanita) Hamman; fond uncle to many. He was preceded in death by his brothers, James (Betty) and Murray (Pat) Hamman, and by his niece, Julie (George) Fogel. A practicing attorney in Chicago for over 50 years, his interests included golf and history.

Robert Castendyck
Robert Castendyck
Robert William “Bob” Castendyck, 95, of Pompano Beach, died Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach.

He was born March 6, 1922, to Otto F. and Helen (Ward) Castendyck in Sterling. As a young man, Robert graduated with scholastic honors from Sterling High School, and was an Eagle Scout. Bob went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Knox College, where he was an active member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and a J.D. from Northwestern University Law School, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi Law Fraternity. Bob’s studies were interrupted briefly during World War II while he served as a navigator on a B-24 Bomber stationed in Okinawa, Japan, receiving the rank of first lieutenant. At Knox College, Robert met his wife of almost 70 years, Margaret Lord. They were married in September 1947 in Davenport, Iowa.

Roger B. Gomien
Roger B. Gomien
Roger B. Gomien passed away peacefully on August 27, 2017 at Morris Community Hospital after a prolonged and valiant battle with Parkinson's disease. Mr. Gomien was a native of Colfax, IL born on December 31, 1934 to the late Roy B. and Julia (nee Reed) Gomien. He graduated from Colfax High School in 1952 and from the University of Illinois School of Agriculture in 1956. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Chi Psi Fraternity and was elected to the honor society, Ma-Wan-Da. While in law school at the University of Illinois College of Law, he held a graduate assistantship in agricultural law and was a member of Phi Delta Phi honorary society. Mr. Gomien received his law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1962. In 1959 he married Penny Malina of Deerfield. 

Mr. Gomien rose to be a respected and highly accomplished attorney, learning from older mentors and in turn guiding and mentoring many young attorneys. Notable among these is Joan Harrop, who began as Mr. Gomien's secretary at the age of 22 and ultimately became his partner in the firm Gomien & Harrop. Mr. Gomien was a member of the Grundy County Bar Association, Livingston County Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Lynn Walter Schock died on August 29 at the age of 70 in his home in Bartlett, Illinois. Lynn, the son of Walter and Dorothy Schock, was born March 26, 1947 in Elgin, Illinois. He attended Larkin High School, graduating with the class of 1965. He went on to attend American University and later John Marshall Law School and practiced law in Illinois for many years. He served as the chairman of Elgin Community College Board of Trustees, as well as assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois. In later years he was vice president of Burren Transfer Company. Additionally, Lynn served in the US Army from 1969 to 1971. He achieved the rank of Specialist 5 and was stationed in Europe.

He married Jo Anne Barnes in 1970, and they were divorced in1983. Lynn had a quick wit and could make anyone laugh. He loved to watch college basketball and horse-racing, and was passionately interested in cooking -- often creating gourmet meals. He was a wonderful father and was devoted to his children. Lynn will be dearly remembered and greatly missed by his two daughters, Katherine Schock and Alice Schock, as well as by his brother James Schock. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Charles Schock.