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updated: 6/11/2012 10:23 AM

Friends, family celebrate life of Aurora attorney Kim Presbrey

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  • Kevin Presbrey sings one of his dad's favorite songs Sunday during a memorial service for Kim Presbrey, who died from injuries he suffered when his plane crashed into a Florida supermarket earlier this year.

      Kevin Presbrey sings one of his dad's favorite songs Sunday during a memorial service for Kim Presbrey, who died from injuries he suffered when his plane crashed into a Florida supermarket earlier this year.
    Tara García Mathewson/tgarciamathewson@dailyherald

 

Kim Presbrey was a nature enthusiast, a hunter, a fisherman, an attorney, a lobbyist, a labor advocate, a sports fan, a master shopper, a pilot, and above all, a family man.

Friends and family members of the prominent Aurora attorney gathered Sunday to remember Presbrey, who died May 26, nearly two months after the experimental plane he was flying crashed into a Florida grocery store. Presbrey was 60.

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With the sound of gunfire and flowing water at Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation in East Dundee as a backdrop for the memorial service, Presbrey's longtime friend Bill Weir remarked how perfect the location was. Presbrey spent a lot of time hunting in that forest and fishing in the nearby stream.

Presbrey, one of the state's foremost workers' compensation lawyers, had an especially successful professional life and an intensely active personal one. He worked hard and played hard, giving everything he tried his all, and making a lot of friends doing it.

"He saw the good in everyone," Weir said. "And some of us took some looking. He was one of the finest human beings, one of the most decent of men."

Attendees shed tears Sunday, but also took the time to smile and laugh, remembering Presbrey's sense of humor and sometimes crazy ideas -- at least two of which ended in coast guard rescues.

The variety of people gathered included friends from work -- whether they met working on the same side of an issue or opposite sides -- as well as hunting/fishing and flying friends.

Presbrey obtained his pilot's license later in life and became interested in small, experimental planes from someone he met in a nearby hangar. Henry Szesny, Presbrey's partner in a law firm they ran together from 1993 to 2005, said he loved to fly and had no fear.

The crash that claimed his life gave him serious burns he fought to recover from for months -- indicating a strength his son Kevin mentioned during Sunday's celebration.

Kevin Presbrey, 31, said his father taught him to keep moving forward in times of hardship, to strive for excellence and to aim for success. It was advice he gave the crowd as they mourned his father's death.

And while Presbrey reached excellence in his field, even serving as president of the Illinois Trial Lawyer's Association and member of the Board of Governors for the Illinois State Bar Association, many of the speeches focused on his recreational life.

"After his next adventure he had four more adventures planned you didn't know about," Kevin Presbrey said.

Wherever Presbrey is now, friends and family said Sunday they hope he's having his greatest adventure yet.

Remembered: Son recalls his dad's adventurous side, strength

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