John Joseph Witous
SPRINGFIELD – John Joseph Witous died at his residence on Saturday, July 7, 2007 in Springfield, IL.
He was born December 2, 1921 in Chicago, IL to parents Joseph and Anna Wonsiewicz Witous.
He was the loving husband of the late Mardell Carolyn Hilbert and adoring husband and best friend of Rose Donovan Gildner.
He is survived by his children Sue (husband, Maurice) Noonan, Jo Ann Hein, Jeanne (husband, Rick) Durkin, Laura (husband, Col. Jay D. USMC) Walker, and Michael (wife, Sheila) Witous, and daughter-in-law Karol Witous Grieve. His blended family includes Theresa (husband, Doug) Mosser, Robert (wife, Cathy) Gildner, Julia Rechner, Dr. James (wife, Libby) Gildner, William Gildner, Joseph (wife, Beth) Gildner, Laura (husband, Tripper) Phipps, and Mary (husband, John) Davis.
He was the very proud Papa and Grandpa of 47 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by siblings George (wife, Helen) Witous and Carole (husband, Bill) Kenny, both of Chicago.
He touched the lives of many great friends and acquaintances including Lee and Ann Dondanville, Jack and Martha Kelly, and David and Mary Lazzeri.
He was preceded in death by his brother Joseph, sister Alice, son John, and sons-in-law Thomas Castline and Major Paul Hein, USMC.
Jack was a patriotic veteran who cared deeply for his country. During WWII, Lt. Witous served with distinction with the 65th Infantry Division in the U.S. Army. He participated in multiple engagements but served mainly in the Philippines.
He was an active member in many organizations including the American Bar Association, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Illinois Defense Council, Opus Dei, the Union League, and the 100 Club of Chicago.
As a graduate of the University of Notre Dame class of 1944 and ND Law School class of 1950, he was an ardent and passionate supporter of the University. Anyone who knew him never doubted his support for the “Fighting Irish.”
After graduation he joined the law firm of Clausen Miller. Under his direction, the law firm became a leader in international law and expanded from 12 to over 120 attorneys. “What I have done in my life I have enjoyed,” Jack replies to in an interview in 1990. “My wife, Mardell, always said I was like a kid with a new toy each time I got a new case. The thing that I found was that if you work a little harder than your opponent you are going to win.” In January 1967, the McCormick Place fire was the turning point in his career. He had the distinction of trying cases across the globe gaining international recognition for his expertise.
Although many family vacation destinations centered around cases he was on, Jack’s favorite respites were Rhinelander, WI and Naples, FL.
He was very proud of his many children, grandchildren, and blended family. He was loved and respected by them and will be sadly missed.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Staab Funeral Home in Springfield, IL with a prayer service at 5 p.m., conducted by Monsignor David Lantz. Remains will lie-in-state at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, South Bend, IN from 9-9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2007. A funeral mass will follow at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) with Reverend Peter Jarid officiating.
A private interment will be held at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Worth, IL.
Memorials may be made to the 100 Club of Chicago, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60602 for the families of police officers, paramedics, and firefighters who gave their life in the line of duty.
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