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It is a sad day at Johnson & Bell.  Long-time Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Dennis C. Cusack, passed away on July 27 at the age of 62.  He was on a business trip in Texas when he died.

Born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, Mr. Cusack attended Fenwick High School before earning an undergraduate degree in 1981 from St. John’s University in Minnesota.  In 1985, he earned his J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.  He joined Johnson & Bell in 1987. 

At Johnson & Bell, he served as co-chair of the firm’s General Negligence practice group and concentrated his practice on products liability, construction liability and mass tort and class action claims. Mr. Cusack also handled Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cases, including current representation of a manufacturer of mining equipment in wrongful death cases.  He also proudly served on the board of directors of Trinity High School.

Mr. Cusack was an avid runner, loved pick-up basketball games, played on the J&B championship 16" softball teams, and loved his Cubbies.  In addition, he regularly did charitable work such as handing out meals and groceries at Our Lady Of The Angels parish on Chicago's west side. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three children, Claire, Patrick and Kate.  

“A terrible loss, to his family, friends, and to the firm,” said William V. Johnson, chairman of the Johnson & Bell Board of Directors. “A great guy. He was integral to the culture of J&B and leaves a large chair for us to try to fill. An excellent attorney, hard worker, ethical in his life and his law practice.”

“This is painful news,” stated John W. Bell, vice chairman of the Johnson & Bell Board of Directors. “Dennis was a valued senior member of J&B. He will be missed. My deepest sympathy to his family.”

“This is a very sad time for everyone at the firm,” stated Joseph R. Marconi, president of Johnson & Bell.

Upon learning of Dennis’ passing, a number of our attorneys shared their thoughts and reflections:

Robert M. Burke

“Such terrible, sad news. Dennis and I were born on the same day in 1958 and I always joked that he was much older than me (by a couple hours). We started at J&B a few weeks apart and got married a week apart. Our conversations usually revolved around our families. When I told him I was worried about my daughter moving to DC and knowing absolutely no one, he asked his daughter who lived there to call her and meet up with her. That was Dennis. Please keep him and his beloved family in your prayers.”

William G. Beatty --

“This terrible news comes as a shock to us all, but perhaps most of all to those of us who knew Dennis well and worked with him most closely.  I am thinking of Bob Comfort, Jack Childers and many others, including myself. Dennis was an esteemed colleague, loyal as can be, and a hard worker. Dennis and I worked closely together on many interesting cases. Dennis always had great ideas and always tried to steer the case to the right result.”

Robert J. Comfort --

“Dennis was an excellent lawyer, trusted colleague and good friend, but his top priority and passion in life was Nancy and their three children, each of whom he was equally proud. This loss runs deep. I will miss my dear friend.”

H. Patrick Morris

“I have been staring at the email about Dennis all day. I can’t even begin to describe this loss. I have known Denny since he was in 4th grade. I have known Nancy’s family almost as long. Denny’s father was my baseball coach; his mother ran the mothers’ club. His sister was in my class. Our parents were friends. I remember the tragedy when he lost his oldest brother at a young age. I can’t even find the emotional wherewithal to say any more. So sad.”

Sammi L. Renken

“It is such devastating news.  He will be missed.  I’m thinking of his smile, kind eyes, generous spirit, quick wit, professionalism, thoughtful and creative approach to legal problems discussed over the years, and so much more.  My deepest sympathy to his family.”

Garrett L. Boehm, Jr.

“Trustworthy, genuine, funny, intense, and honest. I will miss him.”

Joseph F. Spitzzeri

“He was a friend, a family man and a great lawyer.”

Andrew J. Kovarik

“Even more important than his status as a lawyer was the fact Dennis was just a good guy. Fun to hang out with and share a drink.”

The arrangements for Mr. Cusack's funeral are as follows:

Visitation: Sunday, August 1st, from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m., Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion Street, Oak Park, IL

Mass: Monday, August 2nd, 10:30 a.m., St. Giles Catholic Church, 1045 Columbian Ave., Oak Park, IL

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the following are appreciated:

St. Giles Church/Appalachia Project, 1045 Columbian Ave., Oak Park, IL  60302

Trinity High School, 7574 Division Street, River Forest, IL  60305

St. Giles Parish is observing social distancing guidelines. Masks must be worn in the church. Here is additional information from the funeral home and St. Giles: http://www.stgilesparish.org.