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Obituary: Roland Nelson Litterst

Aug. 13, 1936 – Oct. 29, 2023

Roland Nelson “Ron” Litterst, age 87, of Peoria, IL, and Sister Bay, WI, passed away on Oct. 29, 2023, at his home.

Born Aug. 13, 1936, in Peoria, Illinois, to Dr. Milton R. and Marian Nelson Litterst, he was a 1954 graduate of Dunlap High School and received his preparatory education at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana (A.B. 1958), where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. Years later, he served as the alumni advisory for the Beta Pi chapter of his fraternity at Bradley University, and received the Durrance Award as the outstanding advisor of Phi Gamma Delta in 1998. He also received a citation for distinguished and exceptional service from Phi Gamma Delta in 2022. He received his legal education at the University of Michigan and Indiana University (J.D. 1961).

He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1962, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and was in private practice in Illinois for 40 years. He was an Assistant States Attorney for Peoria County for 3 years, where he argued the State’s cases before the Illinois Appellate courts and the Illinois Supreme Court. He was a partner in the firm of Covey and Litterst, and served as Assistant Attorney General for 3 Illinois attorney generals. He was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1971 and was a 50-year member of the Peoria County Bar Association and a member of the Illinois State and the American Bar Associations. He retired in 2002 as senior partner in the firm of Becker and Litterst.

In Peoria, he served on the board of directors of the Peoria County Legal Aid Society, which later became Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. He incorporated the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, and for many years served on its board of directors. He served 8 years on the board of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and as it’s finance chair. Currently, he was serving as a trustee of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra Foundation. He served 11 years on the board of trustees of Lakeview Museum and on its executive committee. He served as president of the Peoria Area Arts and Science Council, served on the former Peoria Art Commission by appointment of the mayor of Peoria, and in 1992 received the Prescott E. Bloom Award as the arts volunteer of the year. He served 8 years on the Illinois Arts Council by appointment of Governor James Thompson. He was a member of the Creve Coeur Club of Peoria, and a former member of the Country Club of Peoria and the Illinois Valley Yacht Club. He was a member of First Federated Church in Peoria for over 50 years. He served on its executive board on 4 different occasions, for a total of 12 years, and also as an elder and Vice Moderator of the congregation.

He and his wife, Lois, maintained a second home in Door County, Wisconsin, in Sister Bay, where family and friends gathered. He was a trustee of the Bayshore Estates Homeowners Association, a member of the Ephraim Men’s Club and the Ephraim Historical Foundation and a longtime member of the Ephraim Yacht Club and Bethany Lutheran Church. At the age of 68, he became a watercolor artist, taking classes at the Peninsula Art School in Fish Creek, where he was a member and studied with master artist, Ed Fenendael. He exhibited his work at the Door County Art League Gallery, where he was a member. His work was juried into a show at the Hardy Art Center in Ephraim. Long bike rides, swimming in Lake Michigan and cooking dinner with Lois for a full table of family and friends were among his greatest joys in life. Ron also leaves behind a beautiful collection of watercolor art for generations to enjoy.

He was married to Lois Ferguson Lindner on Nov. 25, 1998, and she survives. Other survivors include one son, R. Nelson (Kristin) Litterst of Arlington, Virginia; one daughter, Erika Adele (Kris) Gruner of Evanston, Illinois; three step-children, Brad (Jackie) Lindner of Lawrence, Kansas, Andrew (Amanda) Lindner of Ketchikan, Alaska, and Julie (Jeff) Darko of Mapleton, Illinois; five grandchildren, Adele, Kathryn, Charlie, Josh and Abby; and seven step-grandchildren, Jenna, Ryan, Nate, Becker, Whitman, Nick and Allie. He is also survived by one brother, David Milton Litterst of Chicago and Boca Raton, Florida.

Cremation rites have been accorded and a memorial service will be held at First Federated Church, 3601 North Sheridan Road, Peoria, on Saturday, November 18. Visitation will be from 10 to 11:30 am in the Memorial Lounge at the church and the service will begin at 11:30 am in the Sanctuary, with the Rev. John Blossom and the Rev. Stephen Barch officiating. A celebration of life will also be held in Door County, next summer 2024, date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Peoria Symphony Foundation (peoria symphony.org/support/pso-foundation); First Federated Church in Peoria, Illinois (ffcpeoria.com); Hardy Art Center in Ephraim, (the hardy.org); and Bethany Lutheran Church Foundation in Ephraim, (bethanyephraim.org).