Memorial finalized for Judge Shonkwiler

A large, engraved stone will soon go up on the Piatt County Courthouse lawn to honor the late Judge John P. Shonkwiler.

Family members of the former magistrate will pay for the monument, which will outline the accomplishments of the judge, who presided over cases in the Sixth Judicial Circuit for 47 years and served as chief judge of the circuit for 18 years until his death in 2012.

A committee formed in 2016 to study possible memorials had recommended a gazebo for the courthouse lawn but could not raise the $20,000 needed to purchase materials for it.

“Judge Shonkwiler’s family has stepped up and said they still wanted to see something done,” said Piatt County Sheriff David Hunt, a member of the committee. “They are funding the memorial stone that will be on the northeast corner over here (outside the courthouse).”

The stone, which will be about four feet high, also honors him as a lifelong resident of Monticello, a Captain in the United States Navy with 23 years of active and reserve duty, several additional judicial titles and as a “loving son, brother, uncle and friend to many.”

Adams Memorials will craft and engrave the stone, a process that will take three to four months.

An additional, smaller plaque inside the courthouse to honor Shonkwiler is also a possibility, said Hunt.


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