James Garrison

Obituary of James E. Garrison

The Honorable Judge James E. “Jim” Garrison, age 82, of Plainfield, IL, formerly of Peoria and Joliet, IL passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at his home. Jim was born on March 23, 1941, in Peoria, IL.


He is survived by his beloved wife of 28 years, Marcia (Sallenger Zobel); his daughters Julie (Phil) Duffin of Naperville and Sue Garrison of Louisville, CO; step-daughters Morgann Caracci of Morris, and Jayme Zobel of Shorewood; grandchildren Drew, Olivia and Natalie Duffin, Sofia, Dominic and Bianca Caracci, and Ryan and Luke Zobel. He is also survived by his siblings John (Pat) Garrison, Pat (Roger) VanZele, Pam (Ed) Krisak, and Deb Maier; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.


He was preceded in death by his parents Eugene and Kathryn Garrison, in-laws Kenneth and Margaret Sallenger, newborn son Steven, and step-son Mike Zobel.


Jim attended St. Mark’s School in Peoria. Upon moving to Joliet, he attended St. Raymond School and Joliet Catholic High School, where he was a standout athlete, especially on the basketball court. He went on to play basketball at Joliet Junior College, where he helped lead the team to a regional championship. He was awarded a basketball scholarship to play at Illinois Wesleyan University. After suffering an ankle injury, he transferred to Northern Illinois University where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree. He then attended law school at the University of Illinois earning his Juris Doctor Degree and became a life-long Illini fan. He also served his country in the Army Reserves.


Jim returned to Joliet and was offered a partnership with the law firm of O’Brien and Faulkner. When his dear friend and mentor George O’Brien was elected to the U.S. Congress, Jim took over the firm establishing it as Garrison, Fabrizio and Hansen. Just as he excelled on the basketball court, he was a formidable and respected opponent in the courtroom. After 34 years as a civil trial lawyer, and representing such businesses as St. Joseph Hospital, Jewel-Osco, and State Farm, he was appointed an Associate Judge for Will County for 10 years. Upon retiring from the bench he continued consulting as a certified mediator and arbitrator.


During his lifetime, Jim served as President of both the Will County Bar Association and the Parish Council at St. Paul the Apostle Church. He also chaired the Will County Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as the St. Joseph College of Nursing Foundation. In addition, he served as adjunct Faculty for the Joint Commission and the University of St. Francis’ Masters in Hospital and Health Administration program.


Jim was never without a book or two, often reading about history. He also loved traveling, fishing, boating on the river, and his wife’s delicious cooking. He was an avid fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. He enjoyed many fishing trips to Canada and Sarasota with his buddies.  Jim especially loved cruising and traveling the world with Marcia. He was an avid photographer and never stopped perfecting his skills. 


Jim will always be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor that kept family and friends on their toes. Thanksgiving will never be the same without his perfectly grilled turkey and (mostly true) stories. He deeply loved Marcia and was incredibly proud of his children and grandchildren.


Deepest appreciation to caregivers Elizabeth and Carolyn Hug, and Joliet Lightways Hospice.


A visitation for Judge James E. “Jim” Garrison will be held on Sunday, September 10, 2023, at the Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black Rd., Joliet,IL from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Funeral services will follow on Monday, September 11, 2023, at 9:15 a.m. at the funeral home chapel to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 18 Woodlawn Ave, Joliet, IL 60435, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m.  As it was Jim’s wish, cremation rites will be accorded following services and inurnment will take place at Plainfield Township Cemetery at a later date.


For information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit his Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com where you can share a favorite memory or leave a condolence.



2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Fred C. Dames Funeral Homes - Joliet
3200 Black at Essington Roads
Joliet, Illinois, United States
(815) 741-5500

A Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 am
Monday, September 11, 2023
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church
18 Woodlawn Avenue
Joliet, Illinois, United States


Plainfield Township Cemetery
15408 S. Joliet Road
Plainfield, Illinois, United States
To be scheduled at a later date.
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