By Stephen Anderson
Excerpts from the vitae of Central Illinois legal legend Walter Durley Boyle may have qualified for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Mr. Boyle, a 1936 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, died April 13 in St. Margaret's Hospital, Spring Valley, the day after he handled his last legal matter. He would miss his first Law Day ceremony in local memory.
The Hennepin attorney practiced law for almost 72 years, perhaps a national and a state record. And he served 10 consecutive four-year terms as Putnam County state's attorney. The latter accomplishment was the subject of a "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" cartoon in 2006.
Mr. Boyle was 94, of counsel to Boyle & Bolin, and licensed by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for active practice during 2008. He was a Charter Fellow and Gold Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation.
The Illinois State Bar Association honored Mr. Boyle in June 1993 at the Annual Meeting with the second General Practice Section Tradition of Excellence Award.
He received the award for civic achievements that included board service with Illinois Valley Community College and St. Margaret's Hospital, in addition to representation of several municipalities.
Mr. Boyle's record as a county prosecutor from 1936 to 1976 was even more remarkable in light of the fact that he won the Democratic nomination while still a law student.
A Republican opponent challenged his eligibility to serve because he was not yet a lawyer, but Mr. Boyle was admitted to the Illinois bar on Oct. 15, 1936, shortly before the election.
His four-decade tenure was interrupted only twice - by Navy service during World War II and advanced study at Harvard Law School.
The Illinois State's Attorney's Association honored Mr. Boyle in 2003 during a Law Day celebration in the Putnam County Courthouse. A commemorative plaque and resolution lauded his public service, legal skills and dedication to the justice system.
Making the presentation, Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin W. Lyons said he expected the community to be soon named "Durleyville."
Mr. Boyle was a member of the Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame and Illinois Valley Community College Hall of Fame, and was a Hennepin Citizen of the Year. He also received a Studs Terkel Award and an Ageless Achievers Award.
He and Roger C. Bolin, his law partner and president of the Putnam County Bar Association, organized and conducted numerous Law Day programs for area high school students.
Last year, Mr. Boyle included discussion of a letter his potato-farming great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Williamson and Madison Durley, received from Abraham Lincoln in the mid-1850s.
Lincoln asked for their support of his re-election to the Illinois House, but they challenged his indecisive position on the abolition of slavery.
The subsequent letter from Lincoln to the Durleys explained that while he opposed slavery, he could not fully support abolition at that time.
Mr. Boyle and his wife, Hazel Marie Boyle, who died in 1994, were known for philanthropy, including scholarships for Putnam County students to attend college. A Walter Durley Boyle Park in Hennepin memorializes some of his contributions.
Mr. Boyle honored his late wife by building and dedicating a senior center to her and installing a plaza and fountain in her name near his office.
The Boyle family owns and maintains the former one-room Hennepin schoolhouse he attended as a youngster while living and working on a farm 10 miles south of town.
Presiding Judge Thomas F. Carmody Jr. of Cook County's 5th Municipal District Court in Bridgeview, a resident of Evergreen Park, died April 20 at age 56 of a heart attack while playing golf in Lemont.
A 1976 graduate of The John Marshall Law School, Mr. Carmody was an assistant public defender in the 5th and 6th Districts from 1977 until 1992, when he was elected to the circuit court from the 3rd Subcircuit.
Assigned to the Bridgeview courthouse, he handled both criminal and civil cases and for four years served on a court subcommittee that coordinated efforts against drunk driving. He was named presiding judge in 2006.
Survivors include a brother, Chicago attorney Matthew J. Carmody.
Chicago attorney Lawrence Arthur Coles Jr., a partner emeritus at Holland & Knight, who had Parkinson's disease since 1991, died April 26 at age 79 of liver cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was a resident of Barrington Hills.
A 1957 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Coles began his career with Jenner & Block. He started his own practice in 1971, and in 1984 merger with McBride & Baker to form McBride, Baker & Coles. The firm combined with Holland & Knight in 2002.
Mr. Coles wrote and lectured extensively on corporate, securities and business law issues throughout his legal career. He wrote poetry after retiring from active practice in 1994 to deal with health problems.
He chaired the ISBA Corporation and Securities Law Section Council in 1972-73 and served on the Business Advice and Financial Planning Section Council and the Commercial, Banking and Bankruptcy Law Section Council, for which he edited the newsletter from 1967 to 1970.
Mr. Coles served on several American Bar Association committees and the State Bar of Wisconsin Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section.
Retired municipal law attorney Richard J. Billik of Brookfield died April 29 at age 79 in Orlando, Fla. He worked his way through The John Marshall Law School after military service, graduating in 1952. He was a former Proviso Township clerk.
Survivors include a son, Cook County Judge Richard J. Billik Jr.
Chicago attorney Ralph Everette Brown, who was of counsel to Schuyler, Roche & Zwirner, died April 8 at age 79 of lung cancer in Seasons Hospice.
A 1953 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School who was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1956 after Army service, Mr. Brown was an assistant public defender before opening a solo practice in 1965.
In 1975, he became a partner in Walsh, Case & Brown, the firm that merged with Scuyler Roche in 1989.
Early in his career, Mr. Brown was a founder of Citizens for the Extension of Birth Control Services and Information, the Illinois Citizens for Medical Control of Abortion, and the Midwest Population Center.
Retired Social Security Administration attorney Crispulo Cabello Collo of Sauk Village, died in April at age 99. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1952 after Navy service during World War II.
Retired Cook County judge Kenneth James Cortesi of Arlington Heights died recently at age 66. A 1972 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law, he was of counsel to Whitfield, McGann & Ketterman, Chicago.
Mr. Cortesi was former chief attorney for the Chicago Transit Authority, a special assistant Illinois attorney general and chief assistant Chicago corporation counsel in land acquisition and real estate.
Former Chicago attorney William Thomas Crowe died April 10 at age 81 of cancer in his Lakeview home. A 1950 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, he had served in the Coast Guard and Navy during World War II.
The nephew of a Cook County state's attorney, he joined his father's corporate real estate law practice. He had his own practice in corporate tax law until 1970, when he began to study anthropology. He earned a master's degree and traveled the world on research.
Retired Chicago attorney Jack Richard Davis of Palatine died in April at age 77. He was a 1960 graduate of The John Marshall Law School.
Chicago attorney Joseph B. Denenberg, a partner in Denenberg & Denenberg with a son, Alan J. Denenberg, died April 11 at age 96 of congestive heart failure in his Skokie home.
A 1934 graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Joseph Denenberg practiced corporate and real estate law until a few weeks before his death. He was principal partner in Green Gardens Country Club in Frankfort for several year.
Chicago attorney Alex Elson, at age 102 the oldest registered Illinois lawyer, died March 11 in his home a month before his 103rd birthday.
Born in Russia, Mr. Elson graduated in 1928 from the University of Chicago Law School and first practiced with the Chicago Legal Aid Bureau and Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau. During World War II, he was assistant general counsel to the regional office of the Office of Price Administration.
His 70-year legal career included serving on the boards of the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Council of Lawyers, chairing the Illinois Board of Mental Health Commissioners, and teaching at four law schools.
A founder and honorary life member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, Mr. Elson chaired the American Civil Liberties Union board and was a past president of the Institute for Psychoanalysis.
Retired Chicago antitrust attorney Harry H. Henry died April 24 at age 94 in his home on Longboat Key, Fla. An Army Air Corps intelligence specialist in Europe during World War II, he received silver and bronze battle stars.
A former Northbrook resident who was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1940, Mr. Henry was a partner in Libit, Lindauer, Henry & Thall.
Massachusetts attorney Michele Leslie Leaf, formerly of Glencoe, died April 6 at age 58 of breast cancer in her home. With the Amherst Student Legal Office for almost 20 years, she helped students with landlord-tenant and consumer problems and was town counsel for two communities.
St. Louis attorney Luke Emmanuel Meiners, who was admitted to the Illinois bar in 2007, was found dead at age 38 on March 11 after being stabbed and strangled, apparently during a robbery. He was an assistant St. Louis County counselor.
Retired Chicago attorney Wilfred A. Moldermaker died April 9 at age 87. A hospital municipal law attorney with Chapman and Cutler for 35 years, he was 1951 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law. He retired in 1986 and moved to Paradise Valley, Ariz.
A Navy pilot during World War II, Mr. Moldermaker received an accounting degree and taught accounting at the University of Illinois on Navy Pier while studying law.
Richard John Myers of Wilmette, former chief patent counsel for the M. W. Kellogg Co., died in April at age 80. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1958.
Chicago attorney Charles James O'Connor, a 1958 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, died March 8 at age 77. He was a former partner in Arvey, Hodes, Costello & Burman and an assistant Chicago corporation counsel.
Associate Judge John Panegasser of the 18th Circuit died April 16 at age 62 of lung cancer in his Wheaton home. He was a 1971 graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Mr. Panegasser practiced for two years with Peter F. Ferracuti in Ottawa before joining Daniels, Hancock & Daniels in Elmhurst in 1973. When the firm disbanded, he had a solo practice until his appointment to the bench in November 2006.
He presided in traffic court in Downers Grove until his cancer was diagnosed, and was transferred to domestic relations in Wheaton.
Mr. Panegasser was a founder and past president of the DuPage County chapter of the Justinian Society.
Retired St. Louis workers' compensation attorney Jack Randall, formerly of Litchfield, died Feb. 27 at age 80 in his Clayton, Mo., home.
A 1952 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law after Army service during World War II, he was a founding partner in Randall, Keefe & Griffiths.
Retired Elgin attorney Benjamin Rifken died in April at age 91. A 1941 graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, he was a former partner in Rifken & Rifken with a son, Jeffrey B. Rifken, who now is with Brittain & Ketcham.
Retired Chicago attorney Carl August Schoeneberger died March 20, three weeks before his 100th birthday, at the Maple Crest Centre in Belvidere.
A 1932 graduate of the Northwestern University Law School, Mr. Schoeneberger had a solo practice for more than 60 years and frequent pro bono representation of indigent clients. He was inducted into the Chicago Seniors Hall of Fame in 1995.
Retired Springfield attorney Robert V. Shuff Jr. died Feb. 24 at age 59. A 1977 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1966 to 1968 and in the Air Force from 1968 to 1972.
After a year as an assistant Jefferson County public defender, Mr. Shuff had a solo practice in Mount Vernon until 1980, when he became state's attorney. From 1983 to 1988, he was an assistant Illinois attorney general.
He was a 1986 recipient of the SIU Law Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Vince Lombardi Award from the Illinois State's Attorneys Association.
Retired Springfield attorney Gerald A. Spinner died April 6 at age 58 in Tempe, Ariz. Visually impaired since childhood, he received a law degree in 1975 from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Mr. Spinner was a Springfield corporation counsel and director of legal services for the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. From 1979 to 2003, he was assistant legal adviser to the State Board of Education in government finance, contracts and special education.
Retired Cook County judge James Madison Walton Jr. died Jan. 15 at age 81 in Chesapeake, Va., where he was a resident for 22 years.
A 1958 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law, Mr. Walton was an assistant state's attorney and public defender before becoming a magistrate. He was an associate judge from 1971 to 1979 and a circuit judge from 1980 to 1986.
Mr. Walton received a master's degree in history in 1982 from Roosevelt University, and he was a founding member of the African American Community and Family Services.
He chaired the alumni association board of Virginia Union University, where he had graduated cum laude in 1952 after Army service.
Retired corporate attorney Henry J. Wimmer, formerly of Lake Forest, died Feb. 17 at age 84 in his Key West, Fla., home. He was associate counsel at Kraft Foods in Glenview from 1972 to 1986.
Born in Germany, Mr. Wimmer studied law in France and Germany before entering the United States in 1953 and studying further at Columbia University and New York Law School.