ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Kane County Associate Judge William Parkhurst died Aug. 26 from cancer, 16th Circuit Chief Judge Clint Hull announced in a news release.
Parkhurst was appointed Associate Judge in the 16th Circuit in 2012.
Parkhurst’s distinguished judicial career included presiding over court calls in the criminal, family and juvenile divisions, according to the release.
Those close to Parkhurst, however, said he was best known for his kindness, smiles and overall humble demeanor. Parkhurst was admired and respected by all, according to the release.
“Judge Parkhurst was the best of the best,” Hull said in the release. “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.”
Previous 16th Judicial Circuit Chief Judges Robert Spence and Judith Brawka echoed Hull’s sentiments about Parkhurst.
“Bill was an excellent attorney who modeled integrity and preparedness,” Spence said in the release. “As a judge, he was exceptional. He had a keen legal mind and a wonderful temperament. He was firm but also kind and compassionate but even more importantly, he was an intentional father and loving husband.”
Brawka remembered Parkhurst as one admired by his fellow judges and support staff, respected by the attorneys who practiced before him and appreciated by citizens in the courtroom.
Brawka said that before Parkhurst was appointed to the bench, he had a successful family and juvenile law practice and was committed to improving the lives of children, one of the highest purposes in the law.
“Bill brought the best qualities of working with children with him as a judge: patience, wisdom, dedication and humility,” Brawka said in the release. “His absence will be keenly felt. It is an honor to have called Judge Parkhurst a colleague and a friend.”
Parkhurst, who lived with his wife and children in Batavia, had built his legal reputation on providing pro bono services for low-income litigants, according to the release.
Parkhurst received the designation of Pro Bono Attorney of the Year twice – in 2006 from the Court Appointed Special Advocates and in 2008 from the Kane County Bar Association.
Before serving on the bench, Parkhurst volunteered with legal aid agencies, including Prairie State Legal Services and Administer Justice.
Parkhurst received his undergraduate degree from Alma College and his Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University.
Parkhurst began his career as a law clerk for the federal magistrate in Michigan.
He moved to Illinois in 1991 and started a solo practice in Geneva. Parkhurst also practiced with the firm of Johnson, Westra, Broeker, Whittaker & Newitt in St. Charles.