Robert Gorecki is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea and has been practicing law in St. Charles since 1956. He is proud to be the oldest practicing attorney in Kane County and has no plans to stop.
Gorecki, who is 95 years old, was born and raised in St. Charles and went to the former Haines Junior High School. As a teenager he delivered newspapers while attending Marmion Military Academy in Aurora.
He enlisted in the Army after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1950 and was called to active duty during the Korean War. He served as a munitions officer in Kansas before heading to Korea, where he served as company commander of an Army headquarters in Seoul.
After he returned from Korea, Gorecki remained active in the Army Reserves for many years and they arranged for him to attend John Marshall Law School in Chicago. After becoming a lawyer, he rose to the rank of major and served as Staff Judge Advocate for the 85th division of the Army Reserves in Chicago.
Gorecki said what he enjoyed most about his time in the service was he was always either learning or teaching. He said he probably wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for the military providing him with his education, although he was thankful that the closest he ever got to being shot at was during combat training.
He said he would advise a young person considering joining the military that it is a good experience and they certainly will learn a lot, but he would suggest going into a noncombat branch.
Gorecki retired from service in 1956 and shortly after met his wife. He returned to St. Charles to start a family and his business because it was the place where his family and friends were. He said having worked as a mailman and at several local businesses, he already was well-connected in the community.
67 years later, Gorecki’s office often is strewn with plates of treats, plants and other gifts he has received from clients, which he is clearly proud of and quick to share with guests.
“I’m always grateful for the people in St. Charles and the surrounding area for not only their support, but their friendship,” Gorecki said. “It’s so nice being able to work with and help people I’ve known and gone to school with.”
Gorecki said he continues to practice law because he enjoys helping families with their problems and because of the way it connects him with the community. He said everyone has problems and being an attorney is something like being a priest in the confessional. You have to hear everybody’s troubles and can’t say anything, but you get to know and help them.
Gorecki said these days he tries to take only cases that can be handled without going to court – real estate purchases and sales, trusts, wills and estate planning. Or as he puts it, “Nothing exciting.”
“I don’t monkey around with messy stuff like divorces, bankruptcy or landlord and tenant problems,” Gorecki said. “It’s a very nice cream-of-the-crop practice. If I go to court, there’s some problem.”
Gorecki survived cancer in 2011, which took part of the front of his jaw and affected his voice, but hasn’t impeded the 95-year-old’s law practice. He continues to work full-time at his office at 805 E. Main St. in downtown St. Charles and said he plans to keep practicing “until God calls me home.”
Gorecki has been heavily involved in the St. Charles community for more than half a century, both in his career as an attorney and in giving back to the community by donating his free time and services.
In the 1960s, Gorecki served as St. Charles’ city attorney, police and fire commissioner and president of the chamber of commerce. He also has served as an attorney, director and chairman for State Bank of St. Charles, Old Kent Bank and St. Charles National Bank.
Gorecki has been a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Kane County Bar Association and the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association.
Outside of work, he gives back to many community organizations and has been an active member of St. Patrick Church over the years, serving as an usher, board member and Scout master for the parish’s troop. He has donated his legal services pro bono to St. Patrick and several other congregations in St. Charles.
Gorecki was active in the Knights of Columbus and American Legion Post 342, where he once was commander. He is a life member of VFW Post 5036. He has offered pro bono services to these and other veteran’s organizations in the area.
Gorecki was honored with a Charlemagne award in 2019, the city of St. Charles’ highest honor. It recognizes the lifetime achievement of a St. Charles community member with a distinguished history of service to the community.
Longtime St. Charles resident Steve Martin has been friends and a colleague with Gorecki for more than 40 years. Now retired, Martin was the vice president of First State Bank in Mendota and was working at the former First State Bank in St. Charles when he first met Gorecki in the early 1980s.
Martin said he got to know Gorecki because he often would bring in clients whose cases he was managing. Martin came to know Gorecki as an honest, fair and hardworking attorney.
“I think of Bob as a very humble, hardworking guy who honors his commitments” Martin said. “He does many things to serve the community, but he does nothing to get personal recognition.”
Martin has been marshal of dozens of Kane County parades since 1980 and said Gorecki always is there in full uniform and has never missed a Memorial Day parade or Veterans Day ceremony for as long as he can remember.
“He’s been good for St. Charles in that he has continued to be proud of his service in the armed forces and demonstrates that pride by appearing at all the parades and services,” Martin said. “He’s been good to people in the community. He’s not in it for the money.”
Gorecki represented Martin’s mother and grandmother and handled both of their estates, so Martin said he knows from firsthand experience that Gorecki is fair with his pricing and is willing to help people no matter their situation.
“I’ve always admired Bob since I met him,” Martin said. “Bob will give whatever time it takes with his clients. He sees all kinds of people who wander in off the street and I know he’s taken care of a lot of people who couldn’t afford to pay him.”