Geneva Remembers: Joe Radovich, 1921-2012

Part 6 of a multipart series in memoriam of the many amazing people Geneva lost in 2012.

  • Part 6 of a multipart series: Joe Radovich wasn't always in Geneva's headlines or spotlight, but he was part of this community's foundation.


Joe Radovich was Geneva's city attorney from 1957 to 1961, but he was an institution in Geneva for many decades longer than that. His law offices were at the top of the stairs of the iconic 312 W. State St. building in Geneva's historic business district, and his life was a little like the building in which he practiced law for so many years—solid, significant and central to this community's foundation.

His story is really that of the great American dream. He was the son of Serbian immigrants who worked hard, earned a law degree, served in the military as a U.S. Army judge advocate during World War II, then settled in Geneva, where he established a private practice in 1948.

For the next 61 years, he would practice law in Geneva, and there are few folks who've lived here a long time who haven't done business with him at one time or another, whether for writing a will, negotiating on contract or closing on the purchase of a home.

He was president of the Kane County Bar Association and a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, American Legion Post #630 and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

As I recall, he was honored not too many years ago by either the Kane County Bar Association or the Illinois Bar Association for his long and distinguished career and service—and I wish I had a copy of the program that lists his accomplishments in greater detail. He was, in his day, a mover and a shaker, but he also was modest about his achievements. His impact on Geneva is hard to measure, but in his own quiet way, he was one of the pillars of this community, and his legacy lives on in his son, Chuck, Geneva's longtime city attorney, and in his daughters, Joan and Val.

I will always remember Joe Radovich for his kindness, his character and his sense of humor.

I'm a longtime friend and classmate of Val, and Mr. Radovich was a generous and entertaining host whenever we came to visit. Although he seemed larger than life to me, he was always kind and welcoming, and I knew a visit to the Radovich home would carry with it the promise of a good laugh, an offer of food and a stimulating conversation.

When I was editor-publisher of The Beacon News, we were looking at putting new emphasis into our zoned editions, and I was looking for someone from Geneva to offer a quick testimonial for the "wrap" that went around our inaugural issue. I asked Joe—a longtime subscriber—if he's be willing to do that, and he didn't hesitate.

Having the endorsement of Joe Radovich meant a lot to me, because he wasn't a politician or a store owner or anyone who needed or sought publicity. He was someone of substance, whose opinion was respected, whose intelligence was widely known and whose credentials as a quality reader were ironclad. This is a guy who knew his stuff.

Sadly, he is also part of a long list of Geneva icons we lost this year, who will be greatly missed and who were the fabric of our community for the better part of the last century and first part of this one.

I was out of town on Oct. 12, when friends and family celebrated Joe Radovich's life at the Geneva Golf Club, and I wish I could have been there to hear the stories and well-wishes. There isn't much I could have added to that last, excellent conversation, except to say I miss you, sir. And I am grateful for the chance to have known you.


Rick Nagel
Geneva Patch editor
Dec. 28, 2012 


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  • Former Geneva City Attorney Joe Radovich Dies at 91

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