Robert L. Eisen

Robert L Eisen

Retired Bankruptcy Judge Robert L. Eisen, of La Grange, passed away peacefully on January 7th at the age of 97. Beloved husband of Catherine Eisen, nee Kretch. Devoted father of Steve (Susan Blackman) Eisen, Merija (Steve Klaven) Eisen and Tony Eisen. Loving grandfather of Maria (Nick) Eisen, Luci (David Lee) Eisen, Rachel (Ethan Zelner) Klaven, Asher Klaven, Damien Klaven and Jacob Eisen. Cherished uncle of nieces Suzie Urfrig, Diane (Dale Fisher) Branman, Judi (Joel) Caldwell along with nephews Robert (Diana Gordon) Branman, Michael Albert (Michelle Zientek) Kretch, Matthew Kretch, Edward (Cassie) Kretch, John Edwin Morelli, and Anthony Morelli. Admired and loved family member of mother-in-law Dolores Kretch, brothers-in-law Michael (Kathleen) Kretch and Joseph Kretch, and sisters-in-law Maryann Kretch and Jean (John) Morelli. Robert was preceded in death by his brother Jay (Nancy) Eisen, sisters Mary Chelnek and Ethel (Mike) Branman, and his father-in-law Edwin Kretch.

Robert (Bob) was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bob served in the U.S. Army in WWII as an X-ray technician stationed in Hawaii until his honorable discharge. He went on to attain his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Roosevelt University, followed by his law degree (juris doctor) from Loyola University of Chicago. After two years with Commerce Clearing House, Bob joined the Department of Justice’s antitrust division as a trial lawyer. In 1974, Bob turned down an offer to become chief of the antitrust division’s Los Angeles office and instead accepted an appointment to become a federal bankruptcy judge for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Judge Eisen moved up to Chief Bankruptcy Judge in 1985 until he was entitled to retire in July 1987 after 37 years of government service. In all his time as a bankruptcy judge, Judge Eisen gained a reputation for fairness, intelligence and hard work, always respectful of attorneys and litigants. Upon his 1987 retirement, Judge Eisen even received a letter of congratulations from Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Judge Eisen moved to Santa Monica and began hearing bankruptcy cases in California as a “recalled annuitant” in September of 1987. Judge Eisen ended up filling in for judges or mediating cases

Robert Eisen Judge

in not only Southern California’s 9th Circuit, but also, upon moving to Sonora, California with his wife Catherine in 1989, in the Central and Northern Districts of California in the cities of Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Modesto. Judge Eisen finally retired as a “recalled annuitant” in January 1996.

Bob was then able to spend even more time pursuing his many hobbies and interests. Bob was first and foremost an athlete, spending many hours running (even completing the Chicago Marathon in 1986), cycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing. Bob avidly followed high school wrestling events. Bob shared his love of music (particularly Frank Sinatra), art, reading, poetry, movies, travel, history, politics, sports (mainly the White Sox and Chicago Bulls) and most of all crossword puzzles with his wife Cathy. Bob was simply a lover of knowledge of all kinds. Once he and Cathy moved back to the Chicago area, Bob spent a number of years as a weekly volunteer at Hinsdale Hospital and attended Sunday meetings at the Downers Grove Quaker House. Bob and a fellow group of Quakers even got together once a week to chat which they called “Aging and Saging”.

Cathy considered Bob the most intelligent person she’d ever known and loved him dearly.

Bob had a great love and appreciation for trees and nature. When you see a tree or a beautiful sunset, please think of Bob. He would be honored.

Services and Interment Private.

Services entrusted to Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 9445 W. 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513

Information 708-485-2000 or

For those of you that would like to express your condolences to the family, please click on the link below and you can leave the family a message. If you wish to send a sympathy card to the family, please feel free to send it to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513, c/o Robert L. Eisen Family. We will gladly forward it on to the family.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Jean Morelli condolence:

    Bob was a thoughtful kind hearted man.
    So very intelligent and generous with all his family and friends. He was a perfect best friend for Cathy and he will be missed dearly by everyone.

  2. Kathleen Kennedy Kelsey condolence:

    Cathy and family, we are so sorry for your loss. You are all in our prayers.

  3. Marcia Nelson condolence:

    May you be comforted, and may his memory be a blessing, as his long life was to so many

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