CHICAGO (CN) – Judge Terence Evans of the 7th Circuit died suddenly of an acute lung disorder.
Evans’ colleague on the federal appeals court, Judge Diane Sykes, confirmed his passing at University of Chicago Hospital. In a statement on the 7th Circuit’s website, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook said Evans was the “victim of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome.”
“He was only 71 years old and until recently had been playing golf regularly,” Easterbrook said. “His sudden decline was a shock to all who knew this athletic, outgoing, and witty man. People can reasonably debate whether he was better at golf or at law; his friends know that he did both very well indeed.”
Evans’ sudden illness was unexpected; he was authoring court opinions as recently as last week.
“We, his court family, are devastated,” Judge Sykes, his former law clerk, told one news outlet.
Evans received his law degree from Marquette University in 1967. He served as assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County in Wisconsin and later served as chief judge of the Eastern District.
President Bill Clinton nominated Evans to the 7th Circuit in 1995.
Evans assumed semiretired senior status last January. On July 14, Obama nominated Victoria Frances Nourse, daughter-in-law of current Senior 7th Circuit Judge Richard Cudahy, to fill the vacancy.
Colleagues have said they will miss Evans’ pragmatic yet lighthearted voice.
“What his colleagues remember of him, in addition to his energy and his commitment to equal justice under law, was his joie de vivre,” Easterbrook said. “He was irrepressible, which lifted everyone’s spirits. His opinions were apt to include details about popular songs pertinent to the litigation, or the number of college football teams with the nickname ‘Bulldogs.’ Crue v. Aiken, 370 F.3d 668 (7th Cir. 2004) (counting 53 ‘Eagles,’ 43 ‘Tigers,’ and only 40 ‘Bulldogs’). A trademark suit about toilet paper offered irresistible opportunity for irreverence, without being any the less analytic. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, LP v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 15558 (7th Cir. July 28, 2011). And despite what the Supreme Court said in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661 (2001), Terry Evans was firm in his belief that walking the course is a central element of the game of golf.”