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Lake County lawyers hold memorial service

January 19, 2011

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The Lake County Bar Association recognized and remembered 19 attorneys who died in 2010 at its annual memorial service Jan. 4 at the Lake Circuit Court in Crown Point.

Lake Circuit Judge George C. Paras called the program to order as his first official order of business for 2011, and Lake County Bar Association President Julie R. Glade welcomed all in attendance and introduced Valparaiso attorney and former LCBA president Daniel Gioia to begin the program.

Executive director of the Lake County Bar Association Debra White said the courtroom was filled with friends, families, attorneys, and judges in the Lake County legal community who knew those who were remembered.

“As a first time attendee of the memorial service, I was extremely impressed with the entire program. I thought the service was conducted in a classy and respectful format – one which allowed family and friends to come sit in the actual courtroom where many of their loved ones spent so much time,” White said via e-mail.

The attorneys remembered were Michael S. Vass of Highland, Luci Horton of Gary, LeRoy Dakich of Crown Point, Herbert S. Lasser of Chesterton, G. Edward McHie of Hammond and Denton, Md., Col. Lowell E. Enslen of Hammond, Thomas Lee Smith of Highland, John C. Skinner of Crown Point, Patrick J. Dougherty of Valparaiso, Kenneth L. Kostbade of Hobart, Saul I. Ruman of Dyer, Edwin T. Brown Jr. of Merrillville, Frederick T. Work Sr. of Gary, James V. Tsoutsouris of Valparaiso, Marvin E. Silverman of Whiting, Nick J. Thiros of Merrillville, Benedict R. Danko of Whiting, Gilbert F. Blackmun of Highland, and Edmund A Schroer of Hammond.

Among those in attendance was Highland attorney Debra Lynch Dubovich, who knew most of the 19 lawyers being remembered and gave the eulogy for Vass, who died Jan. 24, 2010.

“Every year, it is sobering to remember our fallen friends and colleagues, the attorneys we have lost during the previous year. It seems appropriate to begin the year embracing those memories, laughing about the good times and shedding a tear or two over the loss to our profession and in our personal lives. The memorial service sponsored by our bar association gives us that opportunity,” Dubovich said via e-mail.

The county-wide tradition of having a memorial service in the Lake Circuit Court dates back to 1989, Gioia said, but before the Lake County Bar Association existed as a unified bar association for the county, the Hammond Bar Association held a similar memorial event that would take place on the first day of court business for every new year in Lake Superior Court in Hammond. That tradition started in the 1970s.

The LCBA has an Honors and Necrology Committee, whose chair and assistant committee members collect obituaries of attorneys from the local newspapers. Each fall, they contact family members, partners, associates, and close friends to decide who could deliver a short eulogy to honor each deceased lawyer.

Since 1989, Enslen, who died May 15, 2010, and Gioia, served as committee chairs, and Arnold Krevitz acts as co-chair. The LCBA president also serves as an ex-officio member of the committee, pursuant to the LCBA bylaws.

The LCBA videotapes the presentations for family members and others who cannot attend. The only year since 1989 without a ceremony was 2007, when only one attorney from Lake County died.

Gioia thanked court secretary Nikki Angel for being helpful, cooperative, and instrumental in confirming the arrangements for this annual event.

Gioia said that after each memorial service, as the chair of the Honors and Necrology Committee, he presents a formal motion for the court to keep a record of the proceedings to be “preserved forever in the court archives, for the future and for all posterity.”

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