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In Memoriam: Hon James Patrick Flannery, Jr.

Lake Allegan lost one of our own last week. James Patrick Flannery, Jr., of Chicago and Valley Township, died on Friday, October 13, 2023 at 11:00 pm.

The first thing you have to know about Jim was that he was a good, kind man. The second is that he was absolutely devoted to his family and friends. The third is that he was a powerful judge, who spent 35 years on the bench – 9 of which as Presiding Judge of the Law Division for Cook County, Illinois.

Jim had already spent a quarter century on the bench when he was promoted. At the time, one judge said, “Everybody in the Law Division is ecstatic.”  

This week, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said:

"The Circuit Court of Cook County has lost a widely respected jurist and a dear friend with the passing of Law Division Presiding Judge James P. Flannery, Jr. We will miss his experience, his willingness to innovate, and his kind and generous nature. I offer my sincere condolences to his family."

The Richard J. Daley Center – the headquarters for state courts in Chicago – was draped in black to commemorate his passing.

Jim came to the Lake Allegan community the hard way – he married into it. Specifically, Jim married Carol Zigulich and became enmeshed in the giant, vibrant Zigulich family that built roots here in the 1950s and has four households around the lake. Jim and Carol built their log cabin on a Lake Allegan bluff in 1992 where they hosted thousands of camp fires, barbecues and some legendary parties over the last 40 Years. Together, they participated in two decades of boat parades and took home trophies many times (but less often than they would like).

His dear friend and fellow Lake Alleganian, Perry Buckley said, “The Honorable Judge James Patrick Flannery was a true Renaissance Man. Aside from being the presiding judge of the Cook County Law Division, he rode a motorcycle, was an avid coin collector, did stand up comedy for his friends, read Irish literature... and so much more. One, of many, accomplishments and awards, was being named The Celt of the year from the Celtic Legal Society of Chicago. And how wonderful is it that The Daley Center has placed bunting commemorating him and his long career as a judge. He deserves all the honors he has ever received. A great man, a loving and giving friend.”

A family visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 18, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Dalcamo Funeral Home, 470 W. 26th St. Chicago. A funeral Mass will be held Thursday, October 19, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Barbara Catholic Church, 2859 South Throop Street. Interment will be private.

The family has asked for donations in Jim Flannery’s name to The Share Foundation

Jim is survived by his wife, Carol Zigulich (Board Member and Membership Chair of the Lake Allegan Association), his daughter Joann, two grandchildren, two siblings and so many extended family and friends.

Jim told a great story, enjoyed a drink and a donut, loved his family, kept his friends and lived a generous life of public service and joy and abiding humility. He was a remarkable, lovely man.

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