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Norman Just Fombelle

Birth Date: August 2, 1936
Death Date: August 8, 2018

Decatur – Norman Just Fombelle passed away Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at age 82.

Norman was born August 2nd, 1936, to Hubert and Lucille (Hayes) Fombelle in Decatur, Illinois and raised on the family Centennial farm.  He graduated from Argenta High School in 1954. On August 6, 1955, he married, Virginia “Ginger” Joy Montgomery. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in AgEcon in 1958, and from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1960.

Norman is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ginger, his daughter, Lisa Lazarz, her husband, Alex and their children, Ashley and Alexandra, his son Michael and his children, Michael Fombelle Jr., Paige Ozegovic, her husband Stojan and Caroline, and his son Gregory, wife, Maya and their children, Victoria and Corinne, and his brother David.

His legal career began while serving in the U.S. Army JAG Corps from 1960-61.  He returned to Decatur in 1961 where he became 1st Asst. State’s Attorney under then State’s Attorney, Basil Greanias.  He then entered the private practice of law, where he practiced for over 50 years in his Decatur-based law firm.  He was recognized as a pre-eminent member of the bar by his fellow attorneys.  His reputation as an aggressive and savvy trial attorney was the hallmark of his practice of law.

Norman was a member of Forsyth United Methodist Church.  He served two terms as President of the Decatur Club, was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Decatur Bar Association and he served on the Macon County Fair Board.

A visitation will be held on Saturday August 11, 2018, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at Graceland Fairlawn Funeral Home.  There will be a private memorial service for family only.  Please consider memorials to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Norman’s family extends a special thank you to Dr. Timothy Miller and his staff at Priority Health Family Medicine for extraordinary medical care of Norm over the years!

The family of Norman Just Fombelle is being served by Graceland/Fairlawn Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2091 N. Oakland Avenue, Decatur, IL 62526. Condolences and memories may be shared at

August 11, 2018
2:00 pm
- 4:00 pm
Graceland / Fairlawn Funeral Home
2091 N. Oakland Avenue Decatur, IL 62526
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  1. So sorry to hear of Norm’s passing. Loved seeing him in and out of the courtroom. Great memories. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

  2. We were so sorry to learn of Norman’s passing. Our family has many memories of growing up on Greenswitch Road with the Fombelles as our closest neighbors. Our sympathy is extended to all of his family and friends. A memorial gift will be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in his name.

  3. Special Stitches

    Written by: Wendie Ballinger

    Saddened to heard about Mr Fombelle’s passing . For years I have embroidered his special monogram on his dress shirts.
    What a gentleman!
    I always enjoyed speaking with him, and he always was very kind and respectful to everyone. My condolences.

  4. Dear Mrs. Fombelle, Mike and Greg: I was good to see you and pay my respects to Norm. Unfortunately, I told Frank Byers today that I thought Norm’s visitation was from 2:00 to 6:00. I only saw my mistake when I got back into town, saw the real time of the visitation and had to hurry to get there. Frank just called me from Graceland after the visitation had ended and asked what happened. I was sorry to have to tell him that I got the time wrong. None of this detracts from what a great guy Norm was or that Frank tried to pay his respects too. I am sorry he missed out on doing so because of me, but I wanted you to know. jeff richardson

  5. Norman Fombelle


    I arrived in Decatur as a Legal Aid attorney in 1975. For some reason, though I had no experience at all in the field at that time, I agreed to represent a young man in a custody matter. His soon to be ex was represented by Norman J Fombelle. I hardly knew how to get to the courthouse at that time; he was already a veteran litigator. One day Norm called my office, and came to me to discuss the case. He did not expect me to come to his office. Immediately I was impressed with his courtesy, and I also noticed during that meeting that I was hopelessly outclassed. Among the many things that I didn’t understand at the time were the various pre-trial procedures, and I actually showed up on the day of the trial thinking it was yet another day that the case would be continued. Norm and his client were there, with the witnesses; I was there alone with my client. Without blinking, Norm agreed to postpone the case one more time. Definitely the judge would have begun the hearing had he asked. My client soon realized that he needed a more experience attorney and moved on, which was very wise on his part. I had several cases with Norm through the years, and in every instance he was as courteous as he had been during that first case. And though I got better at the practice as time went along, in every instance he told me what the outcome of our case would be, how he would win it, and in every case he was correct.
    I also knew him a little on a friendship level. He was so proud of his family and just beamed when he talked of his wife and children and the wonderful life that he had while growing up and practicing here in central Illinois. He was a pretty good raconteur and goodness knows, a pretty good attorney.
    I am saddened by this loss. My heartfelt sympathy to you all.

  6. Jerome Berger

    Written by: Jerome Berger

    Mrs. Fombelle / Mike / Greg / Lisa

    I wanted to let you know how sorry I was to here that Mr. Fombelle had passed away. I have a ton of great memories of playing croquet in the backyard, going to Illinos football games and countless other things. He did a lot for me growing up and I will always be grateful for that.

  7. To the Fombelle Family:
    Mr. Fombelle and I met in 1989 when I came to Decatur to practice as relatively new lawyer. His reputation was as big as his personality and when we met about a mutual divorce case, I expected to be treated like an inexperienced outsider. Instead, despite knowing full well he would battle me with all his power should that have been deemed necessary by him, he was friendly, respectful and reasonable. He never treated me differently thereafter. I am lucky to have known him.
    My deepest condolences to you all.

    Sincerely yours,
    Steve Perbix

  8. FAMILY – My thoughts are with you all at this difficult time or Norm’s passing. May he rest in peace. I have many fond memories of Norm in the courtroom and his ‘training’ of his kids in the legal field. He was always so friendly and such a spiffy dresser; even his shoes ‘squeaked’ so guess they were real leather! Yes, he will be missed by many. Hold your many memories close to your heart.
    God Bless All. Sue Hale, Decatur, IL

  9. Alexander Family

    Written by: Carla Alexander

    The entire Alexander family sends love and prayers of peace to the Fombelle family. May Norms legacy live on through you all. He was an amazing man and wonderful father. May peace be with you all.

    Love and blessings,
    The Alexander’s

  10. I am deeply saddened by the passing of my law school classmate and friend. Joan and I send our heartfelt sympathy to your entire family. Please know that our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
    Jay and Joan Janssen

  11. To the Fombelle Family

    Written by: Janie (Jorgensen) Young

    Greg & family:
    I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Fombelle. He certainly was one of a kind. Just an all around good man. Mike passed in February this year from cancer. He enjoyed you both and was appreciate of your work. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care.

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