Friends and colleagues are mourning longtime Lake County jurist and former Chief Judge David M. Hall, who died Tuesday at his home in Waukegan surrounded by family.
During more than 20 years on the bench, Hall, 61, heard a variety of cases in the 19th Circuit Court, including traffic, misdemeanors, DUIs, small claims, juvenile, divorce, chancery and civil proceedings.
He was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2011 and retired the following year. he is survived by his wife, Karen; three sons; a daughter; his parents; and, three sisters. Visitation only is 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Peterson & Patch Funeral Home, 408 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan.
Besides his skill as a judge, Hall was remembered for having a range of interests. He was chairman and a member of the Lake County Family YMCA board and played keyboard and was a backup singer in a classic rock and roll band called "Target."
"Judge David Hall was a man of superb intellect and marvelous wit who never let go of his fascination with history and love of music, particularly rock and roll," Chief Judge John Phillips said in a statement. "In the courtroom he strove to ensure that every litigant, attorney, and witness left his courtroom knowing that the Judge had truly listened to what they had to say and that his decision was justly based on the law and the evidence that was presented.
"Outside the courtroom he was zealously devoted to his family, always exploring history, ready to play rock and roll in an instant, a delight to be around, but at all times ready to give his all for his family, his friends, a worthy cause and the law."
Judge Margaret Mullen, who served with Hall in the juvenile, divorce and law divisions, said he was "a renaissance man."
"Writing and reading and history, and yet he was great at math," she said.
A native of Racine, Wis., Hall grew up in Waukegan and graduated from Waukegan Township High School. He earned his law degree from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, and in 1976 joined Hall, Meyer, Fisher, Holmberg & Snook, the Waukegan firm his grandfather had founded and where his father had worked. He formed his own firm with friend Ludolph "Jerry" Wilson five years later.
Hall was appointed an associate judge in 1989. In 2000, he was appointed a circuit judge by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a vacancy. Later that year, he was elected to a six-year term and was re-elected in 2006.
During his tenure, Hall served as acting chief judge, presiding judge of the civil division and as chairman of the judicial Court Facilities Committee. He was elected by his peers as chief judge in late 2007.
He was serving in that capacity in April 2008, when he was charged with drunken driving in Vernon Hills after leaving a fundraiser. He was found guilty of misdemeanor resisting and obstructing a police officer and sentenced to 100 hours of community service and fined $1,000.
"He was such a great guy who really had a lot of interests in his life," Hall's defense attorney Doug Zeit said Wednesday. "I thought the world of him and had a tremendous amount of respect for him."
Hall also filed a civil suit in federal court against the village of Vernon Hills and two police officers involved in his arrest, but it was dismissed.
Staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this report