Charles Garnati 1952-2017
Charles R. “Chuck” Garnati, 65, passed away peacefully at 2:10 a.m. Nov. 14, 2017, surrounded by his loving family in St. Louis University Hospital. Chuck was born Oct. 21, 1952, in Herrin, to Sam and Helen (Hemlock) Garnati.
He received a B.A. in history and pre-law at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC). He also attended University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. He completed his law degree at SIUC.
He was first elected as Williamson County state’s attorney in 1984 and continued to serve eight consecutive four-year terms. Chuck was the longest continuous serving state's attorney in the State of Illinois. He retired Sept. 8, 2014, having served 30 consecutive years. Chuck built his career being tough on crime. He tried 30 murder cases in 30 years as the county’s top prosecutor, gaining first-degree murder convictions in 29 of them and manslaughter in the other.
Chuck also initiated programs such as a domestic violence program which provided assistance and advocacy for both adults and juveniles. He also started a bad check program which collected thousands of dollars for the county and businesses.
Advocating for and supporting children was one of the primary goals for his office. He was a man who gave his life to public service. That service helped him to support two groups he helped create. The Williamson County Child Advocacy Center and CASA, a court appointed advocacy for children who are abused and neglected. Garnati’s Annual Golf Day Tournament raised large amounts of money for these programs to continue helping children. Brandon Zanotti has continued that tradition with the amount raised approaching a half million dollars.
In addition to supporting the above programs, Chuck donated money and provided support to Williamson County schools for the DARE program, Red Ribbon Week, Project Graduation, Boys and Girls Club and money to area churches for Christmas for needy children. He also contributed money to allow children to go to camps and conferences.