Cook County jurist James A. Geocaris was honored on Friday by having a street at Rolling Meadows, Chicago, named after him in front of the courthouse he helped establish.
More than 75 judges and former judges, attorneys, Cook County commissioners, sheriff’s deputies and courthouse employees attended the ceremony, the Daily Herald reports.
“This is one of the happiest days of my life because of my family,” said Geocaris, 89.
Thanking the enthusiastic crowd, he described the newly commemorated “Honorary Judge Geocaris Way” as a “wonderful legacy” to his late wife, Naomi; their five sons; and his Greek immigrant parents who raised and educated eight children despite losing everything in the Great Depression.
A native of Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood and a University of Chicago graduate, Geocaris played minor-league baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Cleveland Indians from 1947 to 1950.
After realizing he’d never turn pro, he enrolled in DePaul University’s College of Law. After graduating, he joined the Marine Corps Judge Advocate Division.
After 10 years in private practice, he was appointed a magistrate in 1966, then associate judge and finally presiding judge of the Third District in 1976, where he remained until retiring in 1995.
Last June Geocaris was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award after 30 years of service on the bench by the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois.
Geocaris, who was born in 1930, is the second Greek-American judge elected to the court in Cook County, as well as the first, and to date, only Greek-American Presiding Judge of Cook County.