William "Bill" Norman Krucks, age 71, passed away peacefully at his home in Winnetka on July 23rd with his wife Linda and family by his side. William was born in Chicago on October 28, 1949. He grew up in Deerfield and would later attain degrees from Tulane University followed by the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he graduated first in his class, served as editor of the Mississippi Law Journal, and was a member of the Moot Court Board. He initially practiced law in Chicago at a prominent law firm. In June 1983, William took a momentous and courageous step as an entrepreneurial attorney that would later largely define his career and that of hundreds of others. Together with five partners and six staff, William departed his firm and co-founded a new law firm, Freeborn & Peters LLP, to pursue their vision of what the practice of law could be. At the time they did not have an office, desks, or telephones, and moved into an unfinished space with no walls, rented metal desks, and wires hanging from the ceiling. Now some 38 years later, that vision William embarked on at the young age of just 33 years old, has now grown to a law firm ranked among Chicago's elite that employs more than 350 people across five national offices in four states.
As an avid reader and lifelong student, William's reputation for winning was due, in no small part, to the extra hours he spent each day reading the latest in legal opinions and new case law to ensure that his clients were well informed and represented. Many of his clients relied on him for more than 30 years, a tribute to their long found successful partnership. William was recognized among the best in his field. He was named a Leading Lawyer in the fields of Labor, Employment, and Insurance Defense Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, a designation accorded to less than five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Additionally, William was recently nominated as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (2011) and Fellow of the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers.
Despite his passion for the law, William's storied life of accomplishment was not limited to the court room alone. He cared deeply about public service and felt it important to give back to and provide leadership for his community. From 2010-11, William was elected to serve as Chair of the Village of Winnetka Caucus Council. In successive years, he would go on to serve as a Commissioner of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Chair of the Winnetka Plan Commission, as well as Village Trustee and Member of the Winnetka Village Council from 2014-17. William also served as a Member of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Advisory Board since 2017. Apart from his law practice and civic leadership, William also served as Chairman, Director, and Vice President & General Counsel for the Rauland-Borg Corporation. Yet, he still found time to make it home for family dinner every night and was always there to coach his girls' soccer teams and help with science projects. Along with his wife, William poured any extra time into the activities his children loved. Together they held multiple roles within the Trevian Girls Softball Association and could often be found cheering on the sidelines of their children's various sporting events.
Notwithstanding his immeasurable contributions to the Firm, the legal profession, and his community, he will be remembered most for being a loving Husband and Father who never stopped giving of himself. At the end of the day, William's life was filled with love. He loved his Cigarette Racing boat, the annual fishing trips he took with his buddies, his passion for rock and roll, and his ever-improving golf game.
He is survived by his beloved wife Linda, brother Kenneth R. Krucks, children Jaylee (McGarvey) House, Cary (Ashley) Levine, Kathryn "Kiki" Krucks, Greta Krucks Montagano, Laura (Matt) Strautman, and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents William and Lorraine (Rauland) Krucks.
In accordance with William and Linda's wishes, he will be laid to rest in a private family service. Memorial contributions in William's memory may be made to Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF): https://give.themmrf.org/William-N-Krucks
Just like he dealt with each experience in life, William managed his illness with strength and grace, and chose to spend as much time with his loved ones as possible. On his final day, he was surrounded by his children and his wife, who he adored more than anything else in the world.
Published by Chicago Tribune from Jul. 28 to Jul. 29, 2021.