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Alex Abate passes away

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Rockford attorney Alex Abate passed away last month at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Abate earned his bachelor's degree in economics and juris doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After school, Abate returned to Rockford, where he practiced law for 35 years. He practiced with the Abate & Smith Law Firm for 13 years. Click here to read the full obituary in the Rockford Register Star.

Charles Robert Vaughn passes away

Posted on January 22, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Charles Robert Vaughn died last month at age 87, in Olney after a short illness. Vaughn graduated from Millikin University in Decatur in 1943, and, following service in the United States Marine Corps, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1948. He was a longtime member of ISBA, and served a total of 32 years in the State's Attorney's Office of Richland County: 8 as an assistant and 24 as the elected State's Attorney (1952-64, 1968-80). He was married to the former Elizabeth Gassmann, who predeceased him in 1985. They had nine children, eight of whom survive, as well as 22 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Two of Vaughn's sons, Charles Bradley Vaughn and Ray Vaughn, are attorneys in Olney, Illinois. Two of his grandchildren are also attorneys: Corrie Valrose of Chicago, and Charles Zachary Vaughn with Patton & Ryan, also in Chicago. Further obituaries are available at and (Decatur).

Hon. Ronald W. Olson 1931-2010

Posted on January 21, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Retired Cook County Circuit Judge Ronald W. Olson, a delegate to the 1st General Assembly of the ISBA, passed away Sunday at his home on the North Side of Chicago. Olson attended the Chicago and Urbana campuses of the University of Illinois. He received his law degree from Northwestern in 1955 and his LLM degree from Georgetown in 1958. He served in the Navy, assigned to the secretary of the Navy's office from 1955 to 1959. A member of the Naval Reserve for 30 years, he rose to captain the Judge Advocate General Corps. Olson was an associate dean at John Marshall Law School in 1982 when he was appointed to the bench. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Drake & Son Funeral Home, 5303 N. Western. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan and Delaware, Chicago.

Hon. Thomas R. Flood 1926-2010

Posted on January 19, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
The Hon. Thomas R. Flood, 83, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, passed away Monday at Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla. Thomas, the son of the late James and Florence Flood, was born in Red Oak, Iowa, on Jan. 27, 1926. He moved to Maywood in 1936, and graduated from Proviso High School in 1944. Judge Flood attended the University of Notre Dame as a member of the V12 program and received his law degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1949. He received his license to practice law in the State of Illinois in 1949. As a member of the United States Navy, Judge Flood served his country during World War II in the Pacific Theater and in Japan. Recalled to the Navy in 1951, he served as a lieutenant aboard the USS Mt. McKinley in the Korean Conflict and was later assigned to the Judge Advocate General staff until his discharge in 1953. Judge Flood began his law career as corporate counsel for the Aurora and Elgin Railway Company in Elmhurst. In 1955, he moved to Streator and became associated with the law office of Daniel McMullen. In 1957, he opened his own practice in Streator as well as serving as a special prosecutor for the LaSalle County State's Attorney and as City Attorney for the City of Streator. Judge Flood was appointed to the bench as a circuit judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in LaSalle County in March of 1973 where he served until his retirement in 1990. Upon retirement, Judge Flood relocated to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., building a home at the PGA National Golf Club. He was an avid golfer. He also enjoyed competitive bridge, square dancing and the Chicago Bears. Judge Flood married Theresa (Gore) Flood on February 11, 1950, in Elmhurst. He is survived by his beloved wife, his son J.D.

Arthur Gorov 1932-2010

Posted on January 19, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Longtime ISBA member Arthur Gorov passed away last week at his home in Montana. The Chicago native worked at the personal-injury law firm of Berkson, Gorov and Levin before heading up the legal research department for Cook County Circuit Court. He and his wife moved to Montana seven years ago.
"He always declared eagles carried his heart with them," said Billie Lee, his wife, friend and companion of 31 years. "They were the reflection of his soul."
Read the full obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Michael E. Lavelle Sr. 1938-2009

Posted on January 18, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Election law expert Michael E. Lavelle Sr. passed away last month after years of battling lupus and liver disease. Mr. Lavelle was a native of County Galway, Ireland, and servied in the Marines from 1957-1960. He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola University and a law degree from John Marshall Law School.
"People called him the election czar," his son said. "He took a lot of heat as head of the Chicago election board, but I never heard him speak badly of anybody. He could be trading heated comments with somebody, and later on they would be friends."
Click here to read the obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times Click here to read the obituary in the Chicago Tribune

Barbara Downs passes away

Posted on January 14, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Barbara Downs
Barbara Downs
Barbara A. Downs, Wife and Partner of Robert K. Downs of Downs Law Offices, P.C., recently passed away. Barb and Bob met on July 4, became engaged Aug. 1 and were married Nov. 30, 1963.  They have 2 children, Christopher and Kelli (Steve) Seales and 2 grandchildren, Zach and Amanda. Barb worked as a child welfare worker to help put Bob through law school.  She received a P.H.T. (Putting Hubby Through) Degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1965. Barb received her JD from DePaul University in 1984.  She also had an LLM in taxation.  She received her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1961. Member, Family Law Section Council, Sub-Committee on Supreme Court Rules; Association of Family and Conciliation Courts; West Suburban and DuPage County Bar Associations; Past member of the Estate and Probate Section Council. In or about December 2008, Barb wrote an article for the ISBA Family Law Section Council's newsletter regarding an unfair transfer tax on the division of property in divorce cases that caught the attention of many, including Ald. Ed Burke.  Action is pending in the Chicago City Council. She was a partner in life and the law to Bob and a loving mother to Chris and Kelli.

James C. Chiakulas 1940-2009

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
James C. Chiakulas, 69, of Chicago, passed away last month on the North Side. Mt. Chiakulas was born and raised in Chicago and graduated from John Marshall Law School.
A lawyer and union leader, Mr. Chiakulas fought to improve the working conditions of teachers across the Chicago area. He headed a group that advocated for Greeks living under Turkish rule on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus. He was an accomplished jazz musician, said his son-in-law, Paul Chronis.
Read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune

Elizabeth Kutyla-Miner passes away

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
Elizabeth Kutyla-Miner passed away after a six and a half year battle with ovarian cancer on Dec. 21. Liz graduated from the University of Chicago in 1984 and from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1987. She held positions for two major law firms before finding her calling in 1994 as Associate General Counsel, then General Counsel of Barton Brands. During her 14-year tenure at Barton, Liz guided the company through many successful acquistions. Read the full obituary at

Sidney Davidson 1915-2009

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Longtime Peoria lawyer Sidney D. Davidson passed away on Sunday, Dec. 28, at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Mr. Davidson graduated from Manual High School and Bradley University. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1939. He served in the Pacific during World War II, including stints at General MacArthur's headquarters in Manila and Tokyo. He was an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, serving as a member of its Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Section Council. Click here to read the full obituary in the Post-Bulletin.