Kane County judge remembered for kindness from bench, devotion to children

  • Kane County Associate Judge William Parkhurst reads a story to children during an event at the Kane County Law Library. Parkhurst died Friday.

    Kane County Associate Judge William Parkhurst reads a story to children during an event at the Kane County Law Library. Parkhurst died Friday. Courtesy of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court

 
 
Updated 8/29/2022 5:11 PM

Kane County Associate Judge William Parkhurst is being remembered fondly for the fairness and kindness he showed to the people who appeared before him in court, and for his devotion to children's welfare.

Parkhurst, a judge for 10 years, died Friday from cancer, Chief Judge Clint Hull announced Monday.

 

The Batavia resident was appointed to the bench in February 2012, at the age of 51. He presided over court calls in the criminal, family and juvenile divisions of the 16th Judicial Circuit.

"Judge Parkhurst was the best of the best," Hull said. "Bill came to work each day feeling blessed that he had an opportunity to work on behalf of the citizens of Kane County. He treated everyone that appeared before him with respect and kindness. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to call him a friend and colleague."

Before he became a judge, Parkhurst had a private practice in family and juvenile law. He received the designation of Pro Bono Attorney of the Year twice, once in 2006 from the Court Appointed Special Advocates and again in 2008 from the Kane County Bar Association.

Before becoming a judge, Parkhurst volunteered with legal aid agencies, including Prairie State Legal Services and Administer Justice. He started his legal career as a law clerk for a federal magistrate in Michigan.

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"Bill brought the best qualities of working with children with him as a judge: patience, wisdom, dedication, and humility," said retired Judge Judith Brawka, the 16th Circuit's chief judge from 2012 to 2015. "His absence will be keenly felt. It is an honor to have called Judge Parkhurst a colleague and a friend."

Parkhurst discussed his desire to help low-income clients in a 2012 interview with the Daily Herald.

"It's just the way I was brought up," he said. "My parents were (Great) Depression-era kids. They didn't have a lot of money. It's very rewarding to help people."

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