Street sign honors longtime Rolling Meadows presiding judge

  • Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris is surrounded by friends and family at Friday's dedication of the "Honorary Judge Geocaris Way" street sign at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, where he was presiding judge.

      Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris is surrounded by friends and family at Friday's dedication of the "Honorary Judge Geocaris Way" street sign at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, where he was presiding judge. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris, right, is surrounded by friend and colleague Ernie Blomquist, an Arlington Heights attorney, and Third District Presiding Judge Judge Jill Cerone-Marisie at the dedication of "Honorary Judge Geocaris Way" Friday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

      Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris, right, is surrounded by friend and colleague Ernie Blomquist, an Arlington Heights attorney, and Third District Presiding Judge Judge Jill Cerone-Marisie at the dedication of "Honorary Judge Geocaris Way" Friday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris unveils his honorary street sign Friday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

      Retired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris unveils his honorary street sign Friday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comRetired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris looks up at his honorary street sign Friday in Rolling Meadows. He was presiding judge when the Third District courthouse opened in 1989.

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comRetired Cook County Judge James A. Geocaris looks up at his honorary street sign Friday in Rolling Meadows. He was presiding judge when the Third District courthouse opened in 1989.

  • Retired Judge James A. Geocaris, second from left, at the 1986 groundbreaking for the Third District courthouse in Rolling Meadows. The photograph also includes, from left: Ernie Blomquist, then president of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association; Geocaris, then Third District presiding judge; Harry Comerford, former Cook County chief judge; George Dunne, former president of the Cook County Board; Richard Gutof, former president of the Coalition of Suburban Bar Associations; James Ryan, former mayor of Arlington Heights and Bill Ahrens, former mayor of Rolling Meadows.

    Retired Judge James A. Geocaris, second from left, at the 1986 groundbreaking for the Third District courthouse in Rolling Meadows. The photograph also includes, from left: Ernie Blomquist, then president of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association; Geocaris, then Third District presiding judge; Harry Comerford, former Cook County chief judge; George Dunne, former president of the Cook County Board; Richard Gutof, former president of the Coalition of Suburban Bar Associations; James Ryan, former mayor of Arlington Heights and Bill Ahrens, former mayor of Rolling Meadows. Courtesy of Julie Barth

 
 
Updated 10/11/2019 7:36 PM

Twenty-four years after minor-league baseball player-turned-Cook County jurist James A. Geocaris retired as presiding judge of Rolling Meadows Third Municipal District, his presence still looms large.

More than 75 judges and former judges, attorneys, Cook County commissioners, sheriff's deputies and courthouse employees attended Friday's dedication of a street honoring him in front of the courthouse he helped establish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"This is one of the happiest days of my life because of my family," said Geocaris, 89.

Thanking the enthusiastic crowd, he described the newly commemorated "Honorary Judge Geocaris Way" as a "wonderful legacy" to his late wife, Naomi; their five sons; and his Greek immigrant parents who raised and educated eight children despite losing everything in the Great Depression.

A native of Chicago's Englewood neighborhood and a University of Chicago graduate, Geocaris played minor-league baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Cleveland Indians from 1947 to 1950.

After realizing he'd never turn pro, he enrolled in DePaul University's College of Law. After graduating, he joined the Marine Corps Judge Advocate Division.

After 10 years in private practice, he was appointed a magistrate in 1966, then associate judge and finally presiding judge of the Third District in 1976, where he remained until retiring in 1995.

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Third District Presiding Judge Jill Cerone-Marisie said she was a prosecutor in 1993 when Geocaris was presiding there.

"Twenty-six years later, he's prosecuting and I'm presiding," said Cerone-Marisie, referencing Geocaris' tenure as Rolling Meadows' city prosecutor.

The courthouse is "very personal" to Geocaris

"I worked so many years without a building," he said, referring to the many years when Third District judges and personnel traveled between municipal buildings and police stations to hear cases.

That changed when the Euclid Avenue courthouse opened in 1989. Geocaris recalled his contribution from the design to the furniture selection to the skylight he insisted be included.

"We have to have light in the building. ... It gives you a good feeling," he said.

He got his way.

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