John T. McCullough, fondly referred to as "the Judge," 81, of
Lincoln, died Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, at his home.
(Below is a copy of
the obituary from the funeral home.)
Lincoln-Justice John T. McCullough; fondly referred
to as “The Judge”, 81, of Lincoln, IL, passed away
at his home on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
Born June 15, 1931 in Streator, IL, he was the son
of Mark and Margaret Manes McCullough, the youngest
of four children. His family moved to Lincoln when
he was 10 years old, where he remained in the town
The Judge was educated at Lincoln College and the
University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., 1955)
and served in the U.S. Army (1955-57). Following
four years in private practice, he was elected
county judge in 1962 and through transition became
resident Circuit Judge; he was elected Chief Judge
of the 11th Judicial Circuit in 1974 and served in
that position until his election to the Fourth
District Appellate Court in 1984, where he served
for the past 28 years. In addition to his regular
judicial duties, he served 22 years on the Workers'
Compensation Commission for the Appellate Court, and
was elected by his peers as the Presiding Justice of
the Commission for each of those years. Serving on
this Commission allowed him to work with judges from
every district in the State, something he enjoyed
immensely. The law was his passion. He was recently
notified that he had been awarded the Distinguished
Service Award by the Illinois Judges Association.
Justice McCullough was the longest serving judge in
Illinois history, serving 50 years on the bench.
The Judge demanded absolute respect for the judicial
system in the court room. Out of the court room, he
was always willing to lend a hand but was reluctant
to accept one. He took his work seriously but always
had time to hear or tell a good joke. If he let you
into his life, you were a friend; but he never let
you know everything. He was exceedingly loyal to his
profession, friends, and family; enjoyed a good game
of golf and the companionship of the 19th hole.
A private man, he enjoyed being in the public and
meeting strangers from all walks of life. He
recognized the true treasures at charity auctions or
bazaars, bought them, and then proudly displayed
them in his office. A very generous man, he spent
little on himself, but would give money or even the
coat off his back to anyone in need (which he did in
the mid 1960s, when he gave his coat to an Airman
hitchhiking along Rte 66). Despite doctors saving
his life following an accident as a young man (an
accident that gave him his trademark flat nose), he
shied away from the medical profession and
hospitals. The Judge lived on his own terms.
Justice McCullough is survived by his five
daughters, Shawn McCullough (Randa Paver) of
Alexandria, VA; Bridget McCullough (Steve Weaver) of
Mt. Airy, MD; Molly McCullough Davidson of Cobden,
IL; Annie (Al) Webster of Charlotte, NC; Katie
McCullough of Madison, WI, his sister, Nancy
McCullough of Holt, MI; his sister-in-law, Connie
McCullough of Lincoln; and six grandchildren; Maggie
(Scott), Joe, Anna, Emma, Hannah and John. He valued
the friendship of those with whom he shared his
everyday life: colleagues and friends from the
Illinois Judicial System; Alley-Bi, Character's,
Wendy's, Elks, KofC, The American Legion, The
Recreation Center, all in Lincoln; Double H and
Final Four in Sherman, IL; Weebles in Springfield,
IL; the snowbirds and locals from Ft Myers, FL and
everyone else that cannot be defined by a location.
He is preceded in death by his parents and two
brothers; Joe, Pittsburg, PA; and Bing, Lincoln.
The rosary will be said at 10:30 am, Nov 24, 2012;
followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am, both to
held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 316 S Logan St,
Lincoln, IL 62656. Continuing on Nov 24, from 2:00 –
5:00 pm, A Celebration of the Judge's Life will be
held at the Elks, 1020 1525th St, Lincoln, IL 62656.
Everyone is invited. Interment will be private. In
lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Carroll
Catholic School, 111 Fourth St., Lincoln, IL 62656
or Elks Charitable Trust 914 (formerly known as the
Crippled Children's Fund), Box 875, Lincoln, IL
Services are being handled by
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Home in Lincoln.