Errol Zavett, age 83, died peacefully on April 10 following complications from heart surgery. Beloved husband of Mary (Fritzemeier), cherished father of Sarah (Peter) Beren and Rebecca (Greg) Cohen; doting, proud and very actively involved, loving grandfather of Rachel and Jake Beren, Charlie, Elsie, and Sadie Cohen; and dear brother of Dennis (Anne) Zavett.
Errol grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, with his mother’s extended family. Both of his parents were immigrants and most of his parents’ generation did not attend college. Of seven cousins on his maternal side, four (including Errol) became lawyers. Errol received his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Iowa in 1960 and his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1963. Errol worked his entire career in Chicago, practicing as a Family Law attorney from 1985 forward at the Davis|Friedman firm.
With a legal practice spanning a half century, Errol earned the esteem of the family law community both in Illinois and nationally. Along with his notorious sense of humor and kind-heartedness, Errol was well-known for his expertise in high net-worth, contested and collaborative divorce, division of property, asset valuation, and complex child custody matters. Errol was a Fellow and Illinois Chapter President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, chaired every family law organization in Illinois, taught law school, and lectured on many topics. Errol taught generations of family law attorneys his compassionate and understanding method for helping his clients through one of the most challenging experiences in their lives. Errol summed it up well: “Divorce may be a legal process, but at its core it focuses on individuals and their families. The dealing with hurt feelings, jealousy and anger, and the emotional stages that people go through, will never change.” It was this basic tenet that guided Errol’s career.
Errol’s wry, perfectly timed, and subtle sense of humor and unfailing moral compass will be missed by everyone who knew him. He was gentlemanly, compassionate and consistently kind. He took pride in the written word and likely is upset to not have had the opportunity to edit this obituary.
Nothing in Errol’s storied and commendable legal career came close to creating the pride in him that he unabashedly felt for his family. His wife Mary of 53 years and their daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, loved Errol for all his perfect imperfections and for his constant, stable support and love. His grandchildren considered him one of their best friends because of his active involvement in all aspects of their lives. Errol was the center of a beautiful family and he liked being nowhere more than in the middle of them all, taking a nap.
Errol’s private funeral service will be held on Tuesday, April 13th at 1:00 P.M. but will be available on Errol's webpage at www.mitzvahfunerals.com live, or anytime after the service. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to Temple Har Zion in River Forest, where Errol proudly served two terms as President. Info Mitzvah Memorial Funerals, 630-MITZVAH 630-648-9824.