Former Lake County Chief Judge David Hall died Tuesday after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, the Lake County judiciary confirmed today. He was 61.
Hall, who hailed from a longtime Waukegan family, was appointed associate judge in 1989 and circuit judge in 2000 and became chief judge in 2007.
He would later lose his status as chief judge following his arrest in April 2008 on DUI charges in Vernon Hills. He fought the case and successfully appealed to have a blood sample dismissed as evidence. The case eventually went to trial, and Hall was acquitted of the DUI charge but convicted of resisting arrest.
By then, though, Hall had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, forcing him into retirement from the bench.
But even as the disease progressed, impairing his ability to speak and necessitating a feeding tube to eat, Hall remained active in a cause dear to him: the Waukegan YMCA. In late 2012, he marched outside the building to try to bring awareness and funding to the Y as it faced the prospect of closing. His great-grandfather had helped charter the original Waukegan Y in 1912, and Hall was a board member for 30 years.
Because he had difficulty speaking at that point, Hall said walking was one of the few ways left he could bring attention the issue.
Hall died Tuesday, surrounding by his family, which included wife Karen, a daughter and three sons. Another daughter, Meagan, died at age 9 in 1987 when she was struck by a car in Ohio on a family vacation.
Lake County Chief Judge John Phillips issued the following statement: “Judge David Hall was a man of superb intellect and marvelous wit who never let go of his fascination with history and love of music, particularly rock and roll. In the courtroom he strove to insure that every litigant, attorney, and witness left his courtroom knowing that the Judge had truly listened to what they had to say and that his decision was justly based on the law and the evidence that was presented.
Outside the courtroom he was zealously devoted to his family, always exploring history, ready to play rock and roll in an instant, a delight to be around, but at all times ready to give his all for his family, his friends, a worthy cause and the law.”
Visitation for Hall is planned for 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Peterson and Patch Funeral Home, 408 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan.
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