Thomas W. McNamara, 82, who was raised and spent most of his life in the Oak Park and River Forest area, died on June 15, 2014. Born on Oct. 31, 1931, he attended Fenwick High School, the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern Law School. He practiced law his entire career at the firm now known as Jenner & Block, specializing in real estate, zoning and other business-related matters. Tom also handled many Pro Bono cases and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of “Organization for a Better Austin v. O’Keefe.” 

He had a fine sense of humor and often referred to himself as an avid “indoorsman.” Admittedly, he was extremely comfortable at a card table or in a casino. But he was also an itinerant golfer who was a member for many years at Oak Park Country Club and Point O’ Woods Country Club, where he served as club president. He had countless friends, some of whom he had known since grade school, and he loved spending time with them, catching up on their families, and reminiscing about the good old days on the West Side. 

Later in his life, he recognized that he had developed a problem with alcohol. He took it upon himself to get help and overcome this. He enjoyed many years of sobriety, helped others with similar problems and made a number of great friends in his group. 

The greatest joy in his life was his 50 years of marriage with his wife, Rita. Together, they shared the challenges of raising six children, the blessings of having a special group of friends and the deep tragedy of the loss of a child. Their love was special. 

Tom was slow to anger and quick to forgive, always ready to offer help but reluctant to ask for it, and, simply put, gave much more back to the world than he took from it. He was a great father whose love, support and guidance cannot be replaced. If heaven happens to be a reflection of our most joyous times on earth, he is with Rita and Tom Jr., enjoying a warm, gentle breeze and watching the light of a fiery orange sun disappear on the horizon of a Great Lake. 

Tom McNamara is survived by his children, Margo (Gerry) Chadwick, Maureen (Brent) Stratton, Kathleen (Kevin) Conroy, Robert (Suzanne) McNamara, Mary Rita (Steve) Skrine and Michelle McNamara (Patton Oswalt); his grandchildren, Kate (Mike) Vriner, Maureen, Claire, Brian, Connor, Dylan, Brendan, Liam, Maggie, Elizabeth, Tommy, Colleen, Sean, Katherine, Steven, Patrick and Alice; his great-grandchild, Rita Vriner; and his siblings, Jeanette (the late Jack) Dan, Marilyn (Tom) Schaub, Jerry (Sue) McNamara and Eileen McNamara. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; and his infant son, Thomas W. McNamara Jr. 

Visitation will be on June 18 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St. in Oak Park. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Luke Church at 10 a.m. Interment will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to Fenwick High School, or Hazelden are appreciated. Additional information is available at or 708-383-3191.

Join the discussion on social media!

2 replies on “Thomas McNamara, 82, lawyer, proud ‘indoorsman’”