Gladys Leonhart, 94, formerly of Crete, died Nov. 25, 2007. She was a retired editorial director. Arrangements are by Heartland Memorial Center, (708) 444-2266.
Catherine Rzepczynski (nee Przybylski), 93, of Orland Park, died Nov. 24, 2007. She was a retired U.S. government clerk. Arrangements are by Thornridge Funeral Home, (708) 841-2300.
George Vander Weyden Jr.
George Vander Weyden Jr., 83, formerly of Park Forest, died Nov. 26, 2007. He was a former principal and coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School and an Air Force veteran of World War II. Arrangements are by Yurs Funeral Home, (630) 584-0060.
John Drury, whose authoritative delivery and warm demeanor made him one of Chicago's most honored and beloved newsmen for more than 40 years, lost his long battle Sunday with a progressive muscle disease.
Mr. Drury, who was 80, died of complications related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
He was diagnosed in 2004, just two years after he retired as principal news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, where he reigned atop the 10 p.m. ratings for 17 years. His success was unparalleled in Chicago television news.
In making his personal struggle public, Mr. Drury became an activist for brain research even as his disease kept him on a ventilator and eventually robbed him of the ability to speak.
"It has been a bit of a struggle, but we hope to turn this into something positive for ALS," he said weeks after his diagnosis.
In 2005, he auctioned his vast collection of Erector sets and Mysto Magic sets to raise funds for research.
"John was a consummate anchorman and a great communicator," said Emily Barr, president and general manager of Channel 7. "He was a gentleman beyond compare, who faced his illness with tremendous courage and dignity."
Mr. Drury, who was born in Peoria and served in the Navy in World War II, began his broadcasting career at a west suburban Aurora radio station.
He shifted to television in 1955 when he became a staff announcer at WTMJ in Milwaukee. Within a few weeks, he began anchoring the news there.
In 1962, he joined CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 in Chicago and later served two stints at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9 and two at Channel 7.
He won many awards for anchoring and investigative reporting.
Mr. Drury is survived by his wife, Ann, and four children by his first wife, Marjorie, who died in 1987.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Jackye Harris Brown
Jackye Harris Brown, 87, of Matteson, died Nov. 19, 2007. She was a homemaker. Arrangements are by Heartland Memorial Center, (708) 444-2266.
Michael J. Browne
Michael J. Browne, 76, formerly of Oak Forest, died Nov. 22, 2007. He was a retired U.S. Postal Service worker. Arrangements are by Torkelson-Necedah (Wis.) Family Funeral Home, (608) 565-7773.
Ruth M. Cordes
Ruth M. Cordes (nee Maichele), 85, of Thornton, died Nov. 19, 2007. She was a retired secretary. Arrangements are by Thornridge Funeral Home, (708) 841-2300.
Thelma K. Donahue
Thelma K. Donahue, 86, of Matteson, died Nov. 22, 2007. She was a retired Montgomery Ward & Co. employee. Arrangements are by Gabel Dunn Funeral Home, (815) 695-5131.
Robert W. Frieling
Robert W. Frieling, 75, of South Holland, died Nov. 23, 2007. He was a retired building maintenance engineer. Arrangements are by Colonial Chapel, (708) 532-5400.
Jerome W. Sykes
Jerome W. Sykes, 82, of Crete, died Nov. 23, 2007. He was a high school teacher. Arrangements are by Smits Funeral Home, (708) 755-6100.
Robert T. Wilders
Robert T. Wilders, 82, of Palos Hills, died Nov. 22, 2007. He was a retired Sherwin-Williams chemist. Arrangements are by Damar-Kaminski Funeral Home & Crematorium, (708) 496-0200.
R. Eugene Pincham
R. Eugene Pincham, a retired appellate justice and one of the most skilled orators in Chicago’s courtrooms, died of cancer this morning (Thursday, April 3, 2008) at his home surrounded by family. He was 82.
Pincham was a champion of the underdog and a loquatious litigator who ran for mayor of Chicago, Cook County state’s attorney, Cook County board president and appellate justice.
He won seats on the circuit and appellate courts in Chicago and was not afraid of controversy, such as the time he suggested that anyone south of Madison Street who did not support Mayor Harold Washington should be hanged.
“He never backed down from that,” said Pincham’s son, Robert Eugene Pincham Jr. “He said, ‘I'm a judge but I didn't give up my constitutional right to free speech.’ The court eventually came around to that position. He was fearless. He didn't mind if what he said was popular or not. He was well known for writing dissenting opinions while he was on the appellate court. Many of his dissents have been adopted as majority opinions.”
Pincham represented the boys wrongfully charged with raping 11-year-old Ryan Harris.
Earlier this year, against doctors’ orders, he left his hospital bed and appeared in a wheelchair at a news conference defending judicial candidate Michael Hyman against complaints from critics that Hyman should not have hired community activist and former gang member Wallace “Gator” Bradley as an adviser to Hyman’s judicial campaign.
“Wild horses couldn’t keep him away when he saw injustice,” his son said. “The fact he showed up in a wheelchair, or crawling, reflects his commitment to fighting injustice.”
Pincham discovered he was battling various forms of cancer after going to the hospital with a cold in December, his son said.
He became a Circuit Court judge in 1976 and was assigned to the Criminal Division, where he served until 1984. Pincham went on to become a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court.
Pincham resigned from the bench in 1989 and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party's nomination for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. In 1991, he became the Harold Washington Party's nominee for mayor of Chicago. He lost but carried 19 of the city's 50 wards.
Pincham was born on June 28, 1925, in Chicago but grew up in Alabama.
After his high school graduation in 1942, Pincham attended LeMoyne College in Memphis and, in 1944, transferred to Tennessee State University in Nashville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1947.
In 1948, he married his college sweetheart, Alzata C. Henry, and that same year enrolled in Northwestern University School of Law. He worked his way through school, waiting on tables at the Palmer House Hotel and shining shoes. He earned his law degree in 1951, graduating from Northwestern with Harold Washington.
After retiring from the bench, Pincham continued to practice law and was a lecturer at several universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, Notre Dame, DePaul and the University of Chicago.
Pincham was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a lifetime member of the NAACP.
In addition to his son Robert, a high school teacher, Pincham is survived by his daughter, Dr. Andrea Michelle Pincham-Benton, his son James Frederick Pincham, and two grandchildren. Pincham’s wife died three years ago.
He will be waked at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St., with the funeral service beginning at 11 a.m.