Longtime Elgin attorney dies in small plane crash near Plano

 
 
Updated 9/30/2014 1:51 PM
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  • John E. Juergensmeyer

    John E. Juergensmeyer

  • Kendall County authorities say John Juergensmeyer died after his plane crashed Sunday night near Plano in Kendall County.

    Kendall County authorities say John Juergensmeyer died after his plane crashed Sunday night near Plano in Kendall County. ABC 7 Chicago

Longtime Elgin attorney John E. Juergensmeyer, who was killed in a small plane crash Sunday night near Plano, was remembered as an energetic man with a passion for social causes.

Juergensmeyer, 80, who had a pilot's license for about 35 years, was flying a small plane while coming back from visiting his older brother at a nursing home in Carlinville, Illinois, his widow, Betty Juergensmeyer said.

The twin-engine turbo prop passenger plane crashed at about 9:45 p.m. in an open field at 15900 Griswold Springs Road in Kendall County, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, the Illinois State Police said. Juergensmeyer was part owner of the plane, his wife said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. ABC 7 reported a helicopter with night vision found the plane in a cornfield.

An autopsy will be conducted Tuesday, the Kendall County coroner's office said.

Juergensmeyer made the 90-minute trip to visit his brother about once a month, his widow said.

Her husband was passionate about his family and about Wesley United Methodist Church, she said.

The couple, married for 51 years, have two daughters, Margaret and Frances. They met when he was in law school and she was in graduate school, Betty Juergensmeyer said.

"He was type A," she said. "Very energetic. Very driven. Outgoing and passionate."

Juergensmeyer also was an ardent pro-life supporter who served as chairman of TLC Pregnancy Services in Elgin, his wife said.

TLC Executive Director Vivian Maly remembered him as a "godly, wise man."

"That's the thing I will miss the most -- he had great wisdom," she said.

Juergensmeyer kept his calm during difficult times, such as during a zoning lawsuit TLC filed against the city of Elgin that was settled earlier this year.

"He was really a support and a counselor, and helped lead us through these many years as we expanded and grew as an organization," Maly said.

Juergensmeyer used to say he'd never retire, Maly said.

"You could not believe he was 80," she said. "Mentally ... or his lifestyle, it was that of a much younger man."

According to the website of Juergensmeyer & Associates, P.C., he served as chairman of the Illinois and Chicago Bar Association local government law committees, as assistant state's attorney general, and as both assistant state's attorney and assistant public defender in Kane County.

He had taught constitutional law and political science at Judson University, and served on the teaching faculty of the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Hawaii.

He was also active with The Salvation Army and the Rotary Club, Betty Juergensmeyer said.

Jaime Garcia, executive director of Centro de Informacion in Elgin, said Juergensmeyer was a longtime supporter who helped craft the organization's incorporation and bylaws 42 years ago.

Juergensmeyer's law firm held a big party when he turned 80 on May 14, Betty Juergensmeyer said. "They invited half the town," she said.

"We are devastated at the passing of our beloved boss," said a statement released Monday morning by Juergensmeyer & Associates, P.C.

"All of his staff members have been with him for many, many years and words cannot begin to express the grief that we are feeling today. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Juergensmeyer family."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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