Judge John P. Meyer, lifelong resident of Danville, passed this life on Oct. 31, 2013.
He was born on Aug. 17, 1920, the son of Frank P. and Frances Clare (Brady) Meyer.
Locally, he attended both Washington and St. Patrick’s grade schools, and then graduated from Danville High School in 1937. He attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a bachelor of science in commerce degree, and a doctor of laws degree from the Notre Dame Law School.
After being admitted to the Illinois Bar, he practiced law in the Vermilion, Sangamon, and Cook County areas for more than 55 years, retiring in 2003. He first practiced in the firm of Burke, Twomey, and Johnson. He then started a partnership with Henry Wise and Thomas Graham. The firm later added Charles Young, Daniel Welsh, and Paul Maton. The firm then became Graham, Wise, Meyer, Young, Welsh and Maton. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and won an important antitrust case before that body. In his retirement years, he officed in the law firm with his son, Chris, named Dukes, Ryan, Meyer & Freed, Ltd.
He was elected and served in the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate, then later was elected and served as judge of the circuit court for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. While in the House and Senate, he introduced and passed legislation creating a public defenders office for downstate Illinois, also the Fair Employment Practices Act (that prohibits unfair employment practices because of race, color, or creed). He also served as chairman of the Legislative Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and introduced and passed legislation creating state funding of Illinois Community Colleges, including DACC.
His father, Frank P. Meyer, was mayor of Danville for eight years. John’s brother, Frank J. “Bus” Meyer, served as circuit judge for the Fifth District and fathered Mark C. Meyer, Thomas “Tuck” Meyer and Mary Frances (Meyer) Lewis. John’s mother, Frances Clare (Brady) Meyer, a lovely talented lady, sang between double features at the Fischer Theatre. Her Irish voice enthralled all who attended.