Robert Ransom, 88, a lifelong Oak Park resident, died on Jan. 27, 2011. Born at West Suburban Hospital on Nov. 10, 1922, he attended William Beye School and Oak Park and River Forest High School, graduating in 1940. At an early age, he knew he wanted to be an attorney. Before going to law school, however, WWII intervened, and he enlisted in the Army Training Program.
After he was discharged from the Air Force, he returned to Northwestern University to complete his bachelor's degree and then his law degree. In the early 1950s, he practiced law with his father, Robert Cleveland Ransom, in an office above the old Avenue Bank building (now U.S. Bank), where he met his "soon to be" wife, June Dunn (Ransom). Married in 1951, they enjoyed more than 50 years of marriage.
During their early years, the Ransoms performed for USOs and other community groups with their "Music and Magic Show." Mr. Ransom's love of magic mesmerized young and old alike, especially when performing for the birthday parties of his children, Pam, born in 1953, and Bob, born in 1955.
Throughout his life, Mr. Ransom worked to make the community a better place to live and made many lifelong friends in the process. He was active as a member of the Elks Club, a board member of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce and the Avenue/Lake Plaza Association (now The Avenue). He was president of the Optimist Club, the Oak Park Art League, and the West Suburban Bar Association.
Mr. Ransom also got involved in politics, believing it was important to stand up for what you believe in. In 1965 he was elected Justice of the Peace for Cook County. He particularly enjoyed the wedding ceremonies conducted at his home, with his wife, June, as a witness, wedding music playing in the background, and a celebratory bottle of champagne as a gift for the newlyweds.
Active in Oak Park village politics as well, he worked to give citizens a voice in the political process.
The Ransoms took great pleasure in hosting parties for their friends. There were festive backyard garden parties that included dance floors and live music. Mr. Ransom loved his office building at 711 South Blvd. — the atrium was always decorated for each season and he and June hosted "not to be missed" Christmas parties, with much singing and good cheer.
Approximately 3½ years ago, Mr. Ransom moved to Holley Court Terrace where he found many friends, longtime clients and even some grade-school and high-school friends. He continued serving as a "greeter" before services at Unity Church of Oak Park, offering a welcoming smile and kind words.
Bob Ransom is survived by his children, Pamela June Ransom and Robert Charles Ransom. He was preceded in death by his wife, June Dunn Ransom. Family and friends remember him as a true "optimist," a person who helped make Oak Park a great place to live, a kind and generous man and a treasured father.
Visitation will take place on Friday, Feb. 4 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park, 708-383-3191. Interment will be private.