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Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice John Stamos dies at 92

Justice John J. StamosJustice 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."

A native of Chicago's South Side, Stamos served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II and graduated from the DePaul University College of Law in 1948. Stamos was admitted to the bar in 1949 and served as assistant corporation counsel for the city of Chicago before joining the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in 1954. Stamos served in a number of roles with the state's attorney office and was appointed in 1966 as Cook County State's Attorney.

In 1968, Stamos was elected to the First District Appellate Court of Illinois and would serve in that role for 20 years. Stamos was appointed as a Justice to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1988 following the resignation of Justice Seymour Simon. He retired from the bench in 1990 to work with his son James J. Stamos at the Stamos & Trucco lawfirm, where he served as counsel.

Often praised for his integrity and thoughtfulness as a legal professional, outside of the court Stamos enjoyed painting and had been offered a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago in his youth.

"He had a wonderful career in public service and was a true humanitarian," Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke said. "I think of him almost every day whether in Chicago or Springfield because he was a wonderful impressionist artist and I am lucky to have a few of his pieces to enjoy."

Among the awards and accolades Stamos received in his career were the Distinguished Service Award from the National District Attorneys Association, the Professional Achievement Award from the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, and the Liberty Bell Award from the Federal Bar Association.

"He was a great state's attorney and justice," said former Appellate Justice Gino L. DiVito, who worked with Justice Stamos in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and received his own appellate appointment from him. "He was always dedicated to doing the right thing. He truly believed in that."

Stamos was preceded in death by his first wife, Helen, in 1981. He is survived by his second wife, Mary Stamos, and children, James J. Stamos of Chicago, Theo Stamos of Arlington, Va., Colleen Stamos of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jana DiMartino of Wailea, Hawaii, and four grandchildren.

A wake will be held from 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Homes, 6150 N. Cicero in Chicago. Funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, 1401 Wagner Road, Glenview.

Posted on January 30, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson
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