Remembering southern Illinois legal legend Chuck Garnati

Chuck Garnati (Source: KFVS)
Chuck Garnati (Source: KFVS)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - People in southern Illinois are mourning the loss of a local legal legend.

Former Williamson County State's Attorney Chuck Garnati, 65, died at 2:10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in St. Louis University Hospital.

Garnati stepped down from his role as state's attorney in 2014 citing health reasons. He was the longest-serving state's attorney in the state of Illinois, 
and in 30 years Garnati never lost a murder trial.

A close friend and chief assistant to Garnati, Jimmy Dean, talked about his legacy.

"Chuck had a heart as big as gold. And he followed through on a lot things that his heart told him to do. He helped a lot of people, helped a lot of kids. Helped a lot of projects by donations that people didn't even know about and that's the Chuck Garnati that I remember the best," Dean said.

Dean saw Garnati a month ago and said that he wasn't the "same old-Chuck," but he was still very witty.

Garnati's successor, Brandon Zanotti, talked about his lifetime of service, pointing out his passion for public service.

"What you can learn from Chuck Garnati was a passion for public service, he just thought about others before he thought of himself," he said. "His life was defined by that. And if there was any lesson that can be learned from his life, it's that."

Garnati also hosted "Garnati Golf Days" to raise money for charity. Proceeds were given to organizations like the Child Advocacy Center and CASA of Williamson County.

Even KFVS Anchor Kathy Sweeney said, " I had the privilege of working with Garnati for the better part of my reporting career and can tell you he was smart and savvy in the courtroom--honest and candid in interviews. My condolences to his friends and family."

Funeral arrangements were made at Meredith-Waddell Funeral Home in Herrin.

The service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 18 at the funeral home and the burial will follow in San Carlo Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.

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