In Memory of John Devitt Cooney

John Devitt Cooney John Devitt Cooney: August 1954 - February 2023

John D. Cooney, Sr., 68, passed away on February 23, 2023, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. John was larger than life, an inimitable force that lit up every room he entered. Beyond his powerful intellect, John possessed a unique combination of wit, humor, and love of life. He infused his soul and love into his wife and children, who will live their days on earth honoring their hero and the special relationships he created with so many wonderful people.

John was an eminent trial attorney at Cooney & Conway in Chicago, where he led one of the country’s premier legal practices specializing in representing individuals who have been injured as a result of asbestos-related disease. His commitment and tireless advocacy on behalf of clients seeking justice helped shape how asbestos victims are treated by the legal system, and has impacted the lives of thousands of people around the world. John served as President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association as well as chairman of numerous court-appointed committees representing asbestos victims. Attorneys and judges around the country universally recognized John as a man of integrity, decency, and honor.

Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, John graduated from Fenwick High School. He thereafter received degrees from Georgetown University and the Loyola University School of Law. He was a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago Medical Center. His wide-ranging philanthropy has quietly supported each of these institutions and scores of other charitable causes.

Nothing was more important to John than his family. He was the beloved husband of 35 years to the love of his life, his wife Barbara Cooney; loving father to their children Elizabeth (Matt Caraher), Devitt(Bess), and Bobby (Hutton); dear brother of Bob (Loretta) and the late Nora Cooney Marra (Richard); devoted son of the late Robert and Noreen Cooney; and is survived by his many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as countless dear friends.

A mass in John’s honor will be celebrated at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 700 W Adams, Chicago, at 2pm on March 2 by Monsignor Ken Velo. Private interment Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are made by Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, Chicago.

A donation in memory of John Cooney to support mesothelioma research at the University of Chicago Medicine would be appreciated. Checks may be made payable to the “University of Chicago Medicine” and sent to the following address: University of Chicago Gift Administration and Business Data, John Cooney Memorial, 5235 S. Harper Court, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60615. Or one can donate online at:


301 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL 60202 


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM 

Old St. Patrick Church 700 W. Adams St, Chicago, il -