Nicholas S Zagone

February 8, 1931September 11, 2020
Obituary of Nicholas S Zagone
Judge Nicholas Zagone passed away peacefully on September 11, 2020 at the age of 89. He was born on February 8, 1931 to Vincent and Josephine Zagone (née Raino). He grew up in the Lakeview and Lincoln Square neighborhoods of Chicago and attended St. Alphonsus Elementary School, DePaul Academy and Wright Junior College. He remained lifelong friends with many of his grade school and high school classmates. As a young man he was always ambitious, holding his first job delivering newspapers at age 11. His other jobs included shining shoes, setting bowling pins, delivering photo engravings nightly in Printers Row, ushering in a theatre, working in an office as a mail clerk, selling shoes at Aronson’s Shoes and driving a cab while in law school. He later credited these experiences to his successful legal career. Nick graduated from The John Marshall Law School in 1954 and opened the law practice of Cardaras & Zagone with his dear friend and law school classmate, Andrew Cardaras. He served in the Operations and Intelligence Section of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1963. As an attorney, Nick was a compassionate advocate for his clients, often accepting goods or services from clients who could not pay his legal fees. He practiced law until 1983 when he was appointed as an Associate Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County. Nick was known as an even tempered judge; firm, but fair and consistently received the highest ratings from the Chicago Bar Association and volunteer Court Watchers. Nick was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1958 and served three terms, representing the Lincoln Square area. He was an early sponsor of legislation to support drug rehabilitation programs. Through his efforts, he was able to obtain seed money to rent three beds at Cermak Hospital and start a pilot drug rehabilitation program. This pilot program evolved into what is now known as the Gateway Foundation, one of the premier treatment programs in the country, serving 14 communities in Illinois, as well as communities in Delaware and California. He served on the Board of Directors of the Gateway Foundation until 1993. In 1969, Nick was appointed as a Director of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority by Governor Richard Ogilvie and served in that capacity until 1972. He acted as a Legislative Liaison for the Tollway until his appointment as an Associate Judge. In 1995, he was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a full Circuit Judge. Nick is survived by Darlene (née Johnson), his wife of almost 62 years. He spotted her on the “L” while commuting downtown and conveniently got off at her stop, making note of the restaurant where she worked. He later returned to the restaurant for lunch and asked her for a date. He often said he knew after their first date that Darlene was woman for him. They married in 1958 and raised four children, Mary (Mark) Schroeder, Theresa (Neil) Battle, Nick (Kriste) Zagone and Jo Ann Zagone Federici. Nick is also survived by eight grandchildren, Michael Schroeder, Matthew Schroeder, Maria Schroeder, Nick Palumbo (Jackie), Tyler Battle, Alex Zagone, Brooke Zagone, Lauren Federici and three great grandchildren, Cayden Palumbo, Harper Palumbo and William Palumbo. Nick was preceded in death by his parents, Vince and Josephine Zagone, his brother, Anthony (Flemme Mae) Zagone, his infant son, John Christopher Zagone and his grandson, Nicholas Zagone. The Zagone family takes great comfort in knowing that he was welcomed into eternal life by these family members and has resumed the long conversations on fishing and cooking he so enjoyed with Nicholas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private service will be held for immediate family. A memorial celebration of life will be held at a later date when larger gatherings are permissible. To receive information on the memorial service when it is scheduled, email Mary at [email protected] In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Nick’s honor to the Gateway Foundation, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60604 ( or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (

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