The following is a copy of the court transcript of the 2002 Bar Memorials, remembering those members of the Bar Association of Lehigh County who passed away during the 2000 and 2001 years.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEHIGH COUNTY BAR MEMORIALS
THOMAS E. WEAVER, SR.
MARTIN H. PHILIP
IRVING W. COLEMAN
RICHARD A. ABBOTT
WARDELL F. STEIGERWALT
WILBUR C. CREVELING
FRANK A. DOOCEY
W. HAMLIN NEELY
DAVID G. WELTY
HONORABLE WILLIAM H. PLATT, P.J.
HONORABLE JAMES KNOLL GARDNER, J.
HONORABLE THOMAS A. WALLITSCH, J.
HONORABLE EDWARD D. REIBMAN, J.
HONORABLE WILLIAM E. FORD, J.
HONORABLE LAWRENCE J. BRENNER, J.
HONORABLE ROBERT L. STEINBERG, J.
FEBRUARY 4, 2002
9:00 o'clock a.m.,
Courtroom No. 2
Lehigh County Courthouse
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18101
MR. RABER: All rise, please.
The Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
THE COURT: You may open court.
MR. RABER: Oyez, oyez, oyez. All manner of persons having anything to do before the Honorable, the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County and which is here holden this day, let them come forward and they shall be heard. God save the Commonwealth and this Honorable Court.
Please be seated.
THE COURT: Good morning. On behalf of my colleagues on the Court of Common Pleas, I welcome you all to the traditional Annual Lehigh County Bar Association Memorials to honor the memories of the members of the Bar Association who passed away. On this court, Judge McGinley is recuperating from surgery and Judge Black is on vacation. And those are the reasons why they're not here.
The Court recognizes Victor Cavacini, Esquire, president of the Bar Association of Lehigh County.
MR. CAVACINI: May it please the Court, and other distinguished judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County. Well, ladies and gentlemen, welcome on behalf of the Bar Association of Lehigh County. As Judge Platt indicated, this is an annual event. And I asked our historian Jim L. Weirbach if he knew how long we've been doing this.
He said the records indicate it goes back to at least the time of the creation of the Bar Association in 1905. So we want to thank the Court for this continuing opportunity to hold the ceremony. As all of you know, lawyers tend to speak their minds freely. Some say -- some say, too freely. But over time, lawyers get a good opportunity to know how other lawyers think, both as to matters of law and as to matters of life. And we learn from each other. I think that lawyers tend to influence each other and we take the best from each other.
And to the families of our deceased members here today, I can say that we knew your husbands, we knew your fathers, well. They were our friends. They were our mentors. They were our colleagues. They enriched our lives. They were a credit to the profession and an asset to our community. So we're -- we're really pleased to have this opportunity to share their memories this morning. Now, I'm going to ask the Chairman of the Bench/Bar Committee, John Baker, to introduce our speakers. Thank you.
MR. BAKER: Your Honor, with your permission, I'll introduce the speakers who will memorialize the fathers, the husbands, the uncles, their colleagues and their friends. Mr. Thomas E. Weaver, Sr., died on May 15th, 2000. He was a member of the Bar since 1928. I call on Ralph Weaver to say some words.
MR. WEAVER: May it please the Court. This is a privilege for me, but I must admit, I also find it to be a bit of a daunting experience for the common attorney. Thomas E. Weaver, my father, was born on October 1, 1905 in Dover, New Jersey. The youngest child of Harry B. and Linny Erdman Weaver. He died May 15th, 2000. The family moved to the Lehigh Valley in his early years, and he eventually attended and graduated from Gettysburg College in 1925 and the Dickinson School of Law in 1928.
While in law school, he met a Dickinson college co-ed -- a fairly scarce commodity at that time -- a local Carlisle girl, Emma Brenneman. They were married on September 19, 1929. And he is her beloved and she is his beloved. They remained virtually inseparable for more than 65 years until she was called before him in May of 1995.
They had three children: a daughter Janet, who made her life and living in New York City; and two sons, both of whom grew up, more or less, and became members of the Lehigh County Bar Association by way of Gettysburg College and Dickinson Law School, and partners with their father in practice.
The older, Tom Jr., who followed closely in his father's footsteps, is now an associate and active with the firm Mosebach Funt Dayton & Duckworth; and the other one, who continues in the sole practice he initiated 25 years ago, more or less.
There were six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all of whom were very special to him.
Admitted in the Bar in 1928, he was an associate in the Allentown firm of Aubrey, Steckel & Senger until 1935, when he opened his office for the general practice of law as a sole practitioner in the Borough of Catasauqua, where he remained virtually for his entire, active, professional life.
He remained in sole practice until 1958, when he was joined by Tom, Jr., in the firm of Weaver and Weaver, which continued until 1967 when I joined the firm. He was very much a part of his community. In addition to his practice, which brought him into contact with many of the residents of the town over the years, he was also the Solicitor for the Borough and the Borough Authority, the School District and the School District Authority. His association with the local bank led, after merger, to his position as a director for many years of the First National Bank of Allentown.
In addition to his professional life, he was, among other things, an incorporator and director of Catasauqua Boys Clubs, President of the Catasauqua Library Association and a long-time member and past member of the Catasauqua Rotary Club.
He loved his church. He served the Catasauqua Presbyterian Church as an elder and trustee, and also for many years as a superintendent of the Sunday school and a leader of the adult class.
He also gave much time to the Presbyterian Church of Lehigh Valley, the larger regional governing body of the church, serving as a President of the Board.
He was a 50-year member of the Lehigh County Bar Association -- something which, I think, most of us aspire -- and its president in 1948, and served on many committees in the Bar Association, including a lengthy term on a no longer existing board Board of Benchers and Bar examiners, remained in contact with and was generous both to his college and his law school and served on the board of trustees and the like. He was an Assistant District Attorney in the 1940's under then D.A. Ted Gardner.
Some of what I have said today is really, at least partially, beyond my personal knowledge or remembrance. And I am indebted to -- at least a small extent, to the information nicely cataloged in this lovely advertisement in the April 6, 1961 issue of the Catasauqua Dispatch at the time of my father's campaign for the seat against Judge Coyne. (Showing.)
MR. WEAVER: Obviously, the ad did not get the job done. His family, his church, his community, his profession. There was a good life, a full life, an honorable life worth remembering led with dignity, integrity, generosity, and a sense of humor. And as a gentleman. Always, as a gentleman. Thank you.
MR. BAKER: Attorney Jim Kellar could not make it today, but I was fortunate to speak with an attorney about Marty Philip. I spoke with Attorney Steven Serfass from Palmerton. As it turns out, Mr. Philip had been memorialized in Carbon County, as well, only a few weeks ago. So I'm going to read the remarks that were perfected at that time for Martin Philip, Esquire.
On April 3rd, 2001, Attorney Philip passed away in his home in Palmerton where he was born, raised and resided his entire life. The eldest of seven children, born to Lithuanian immigrants, Martin Harry Philip was born on April 14, 1907.
His father and uncle established Philip Brothers' men's clothing store on the first floor of the family residence, upstairs from which he and his brother Jake later founded the law firm of Philip and Philip, an arrangement jokingly referred to as "first floor-men's suits, second floor-law suits." (At which time there was laughter.)
MR. BAKER: Martin was a 1925 graduate of Palmerton High School. He went on to earn, in 1928, a bachelor of arts degree in commerce and finance from the Pennsylvania State College, and a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1931. That same year, he was admitted to the Carbon County and the Lehigh County Bar Associations. And he maintained offices in Palmerton's Savings and Trust building, and on the second floor of the Citizens National Bank of Slatington, foreshadowing a long-standing affiliation and fascination with the banking industry.
At the height of World War II, Attorney Philip enlisted in the United States Army, where he served as an agent in the Security Intelligence Corps., conducting classified investigations in a manner which reflected unquestionable discretion, skill, efficiency and attention to duty. Following the war, he returned to his Palmerton practice and became a specialist in personal injury cases. Martin was always eager to learn about the latest cases, courtroom techniques, practices and trial exhibits. Believing that his associates were intrigued, it was not uncommon to receive a telephone call from Mr. Philip at 11 o'clock p.m. or 6 o'clock a.m. to discuss the most recent issue of Trial magazine or Pennsylvania Law Weekly.
Beyond his practice of law, for many years, the name Martin Philip was synonymous with the Tri-County State Bank where he served as a director, solicitor, president and chairman of the board, ambitiously leading that institution into a rapid expansion program and arranging its later merger with the Merchants National Bank of Allentown.
He was equally well-identified with WYNS radio of Leighton, which he founded in 1961. Whether he was in the courtroom, in the boardroom, or the broadcast booth, Martin Philip was a fierce competitor who attacked any challenge with unparalleled zeal. And, because of that, enjoyed a remarkable degree of professional success. He possessed a quick wit, a keen mind and an endearing personal warmth; attributes which reflected the highest traditions of a special profession.
Mr. Philip's legal career spanned eight decades. And all of us who had the privilege of enjoying his friendship are better human beings as a consequence. Respectfully submitted, Steven R. Serfass, Esquire.
I also spoke with Judge Ed Cahn, who noted that Mr. Philip was a very good trial lawyer. And what I find to be of a critical nature, that he was instrumental in developing young lawyers. He was described as a formidable opponent; well-prepared and got good results. Mr. Philip passed away on April 3, 2001. Mr. -- on Mr. Serfass' behalf, I honor the memory of Martin H. Philip.
Next, I'd like to call on Michael Coleman to memorialize Irving W. Coleman, Esquire, who passed away on February 25th, 2001.
MR. COLEMAN: Your Honors, members of the Lehigh County Bar, and guests, my name is Michael Coleman and I'm a member of the Pennsylvania Bar and Philadelphia County Bar. I am privileged by the opportunity to say a few words about my uncle, Irving Coleman.
Uncle Irv was my father's younger brother. Irving was born in 1912, and he received his college and -- and law degrees from the University of Michigan. Anyone who knew him knew that he was one of the University of Michigan's biggest boosters and most ardent alumni. In his later years, he lived at Luther Crest. And I always remember visiting him. And he always had on his University of Michigan sweatshirt, whether or not there was a game that day. He was very devoted to his alma mater. He started practicing law in the '30s, first as an assistant district attorney in Northampton County. And after a few years, he hung out his shingle on Main Street in Northampton just down the street from Coleman's Department Store, which his father Benjamin Coleman had founded and where his brother Fred and my father worked.
I knew my uncle primarily as a lawyer. And I was blessed in that respect, for he became my preceptor, my mentor and my role model. To me, he was a giant. I enjoyed hearing his accounts of the biggest cases he handled well through the 60's, which often involved high profile criminal defense matters, which is how he established his early reputation in the Lehigh Valley. When someone got into trouble with the law, Irving Coleman was often the lawyer of choice to represent them. In 1966, when I graduated from law school, I had the good fortune of working for him for three months during my preceptorship in his office in Northampton. Donald Corriere, who went on to be the District Attorney of Northampton County, was an associate of the office at that time.
Uncle Irv was a demanding boss, and could be gruff and tough, but he was also good. So good as a lawyer. He was driven by the law and personified the notion that the law is a jealous mistress. He was thorough, relentlessly thorough, and exacting in his insisting of excellence. He stood for the notations: Don't leave a stone unturned; Never say never; and, Don't say it can't be done.
If there was ever a time to solve a legal problem, he was -- would expend incredible brilliance to find a solution to the problem. He was the kind of lawyer that every client dreams of having on his or her side.
While others were playing golf on the weekends, or on vacation, Irving was doing what he loved: fine-tuning a
But lest I give you the wrong impression, let me make it clear that Irving adored and was immensely proud of his family, which included his wife Ruth -- Ruthie, as he often called her -- his son Howard, who is here with me today, and was as devoted a son as any son ever could be, and his daughter Ellen who followed his
There were two men in Uncle Irv's second half of his career that really shaped and expanded his career beyond that of a highly respected Lehigh County general practice lawyer. What emerged was Irving Coleman the financier, the deal lawyer and the deal maker.
The first was Max Hess, Jr., owner of Hess' Department Store. His relationship with Max Hess was one like so many of his career -- in his career that resulted from a social relationship that began by my Aunt Ruth.
Hess' had a matter in Texas, and Irving was sent to handle it. What that led to was a long-time association with clients in Texas involving Triangle Industries and Texas Commerce Bank and then his relationship with
The second person who had an influence on his life and changed his career was our cousin Byron Coleman who started one of the first hospital management companies in the country in the 60's called Hospital Affiliates. And when the company was being formed, Byron called on his cousin Irving to help him start the company.
Irving, in turn, received stock in the then-fledgling company for his services in lieu of cash. HAI went public, got listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and became one of the three largest hospital management companies in the country. And when it was merged into CIGNA, Irving became one of CIGNA's largest individual stockholders. For Irving, his CIGNA affiliation was a great love affair. He attended the stockholder meetings each year with relish as a questioning, but always avid, supporter.
And this really goes -- leads me to my last point. His greatest legacy, to me -- and something, I think, that he was known for and will -- will always be remembered for is just this: if you want something in life, go after it. Don't be timid. No mountain is too high to climb. No person is too big or famous that if you want to meet him or her, you can. He was the gutsiest person I had ever known in terms of using every possible means to get to meet the person he thought was worth meeting. He would always tell me that cultivating contacts in this way was the way to meet people, gain new experiences, build relationships and enrich your life.
I have lost my most important mentor and role model, but I am blessed by his memories, as is his family. Although he is not here in person, we'll never forget his teachings and examples.
MR. BAKER: I have also been asked to read some remarks regarding Richard A. Abbott, Esquire. And I thank his nephews for some information regarding Mr. Abbott who passed away on May 22nd, 2001.
Richard Arlington Abbott was born in Allentown and lived on 19th Street since 1923. He was a graduate of Allentown High School in 1930, a graduate of Penn State University, a graduate of Temple University Law School.
And if the law is a jealous mistress, the law would love this guy, because he never married. Predeceased by his brother John H. Abbott, he served admirably in the United States Army, World War II, captain of Camp Landing and Fort McClellan.
Attorney Richard Abbott was a sole proprietorship in Allentown. And his main focus was real estate, estates and trust. A member of the Lehigh County Bar Association for more than 50 years.
Richard Abbott was honored for voting in every local election for 50 years. He was interested in local history and families. And he spoke Pennsylvania German. Richard Abbott was a long-time member and one-time officer of the Sons of the American Revolution, Valley Forge Chapter, Pennsylvania German Society, the Historical Society of Northampton County, the Masonic Lodge - Allen Commandery #20. He was a member of the Lehigh, Berks and Lancaster County Historical Society and a member of a number of genealogical societies, as well as a member of the American Genealogical Society.
I'm proud with these remarks to honor Mr. Abbott's memory.
Wardell F. Steigerwalt passed away on March 6th, 2000. At this time, I'm going to call on Armin Feldman with his remarks about Mr. Steigerwalt.
MR. FELDMAN: May it please the Court. Members of the Bar, ladies and gentlemen. I am here today to eulogize my friend and father-in-law, Wardell Steigerwalt.
I first met Wardell during the summer of 1974, when I was in my third year of law school at the University of Texas in Austin. Earlier that summer in Austin, Texas, I met his daughter Anne, who's with me today, my wife, and also his other daughter Michelle, who still lives in Austin, Texas. When I met Wardell, he was
When I met him, I was shocked to see how short his hair was. He was likewise shocked to see how long my hair was.
At that time, he was a sole practitioner with an office on Walnut Street. His practice mainly included handling estates and real state transactions. He would try civil cases. He would handle civil cases for other lawyers such as Harry Creveling, Henry Villa, Bob Ritter; and for years he worked as an assistant district attorney for George Joseph. But after that first meeting, I learned a lot more about Wardell.
Besides being born in September of 1920 in Jersey City, I found out that his father, George Steigerwalt from Andreas, Pennsylvania, was an engineer for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. His mother Cora Belle had been a teacher in the East Penn School District in Carbon County. When Wardell was three, his family moved to Cranford, New Jersey where he was raised and graduated from high school. Although in his early years he lived close to New York City, his heart was always in the Lehigh Valley. He had friends and close family ties in Lehigh Valley and always wanted to come back to this area.
One of the best ways to exemplify what Wardell Steigerwalt was about is to tell a true story that I have strong reason to believe is very true, which gives us a good idea what his person was about.
One June morning, when he was 13 years old and living in Cranford, he got up before dawn and left his parents a note which said, "By the time you read this, I will be in Pennsylvania." He then proceeded to ride his bike more than a hundred miles to his aunt's farm in the Kistler Valley. I understand that he undertook
Of course, by the time he arrived at his aunt's house, his mother was waiting there. That was in the evening, and I understand he was grounded for the summer. This story gives us an idea of what Wardell was about.
After graduating from Cranford High School, he again returned to this area, and went to Muhlenberg College where he majored in chemistry.
When World War II broke out, he was in his senior year. And instead of waiting a few more weeks to graduate, he left Muhlenberg and joined the Navy. Fortunately, Muhlenberg permitted him to get his diploma even though he didn't attend another day at Muhlenberg. While in the Navy, Wardell became a fighter pilot. A lot of people don't know this, but he was a fighter pilot and part of a unit near Corpus Christi where he trained other pilots to be fighter pilots. That, offhand, may seem for a safer option.
But when I talked to Wardell about those days, I would have to pry it from him. He wasn't sitting around just talking about his war days. I would ask him questions. He would tell me what it was really like, trying to train young men to be fighter pilots during World War II. Unfortunately, I understand a lot of his friends did not
After the War, he went to Dickinson Law School. He was admitted to Dickinson Law School and practiced law
I came back to Lehigh County with my wife Anne in the fall of 1975. We had significant differences. He was a staunch Republican and I was a Democratic. He was very active in the Republican party.
But he was always friendly. He was always kind and he was always generous. And that was to me. That was to me. It was to my family. In fact, he was kind enough to get me my first job as a clerk working for Roberts and Traud when I arrived in Pennsylvania. He took me to many places, introduced me to many lawyers, judges, politicians and friends. He discussed cases with me and the law. He permitted me to assist him in a number of cases. He even gave me his Ladner's on conveyances so I learned how to do title searching. And he showed me how to do it the right way. He showed me how easy and sensible it was to be an honest, forthright attorney. To be generous with clients. To be honest with clients, and be compatible with other attorneys.
Beyond his life as a lawyer, he was a man with many talents and interests. When we would visit his home -- which was frequently -- it was a pleasure to hear him play on his Steinway piano. He could play Bach. He could play Mozart. He could play Scott Joplin. And he could play them beautifully. So beautifully, I would make it a point to ask him to play. He would not be doing it as a matter of course. And he would entertain all of us.
He was an avid historian, sometimes not too -- so amateur. He knew a lot. Read a lot. Had an excellent memory. He had -- he made a point of visiting historic sites on many journeys with his children and grandchildren. He took great interest in teaching his grandchildren about history and their heritage. He maintained a continuing interest in genealogy. Particularly, with respect to his family line of Steigerwalts, Howerters and Kistlers.
I enjoyed discussing history with him. I found his answers to my questions to be both knowledgeable -- or,
He loved astronomy. He went to LCCC to learn carpentry and learned Pennsylvania Dutch. He could speak it reasonably well. After receiving training in carpentry, he built two cabins. He also made excellent cherry pies and mincemeat pies and clam chowder.
In around 1997, Wardell lost his wonderful memory and had to stay at a nursing home in Topton. And on March 6, 2000, he died as a result of complications relating to Alzheimer's.
It was a lot of fun knowing Wardell. He was a very, very interesting person. Very generous to family, friends and clients. And he is missed. Thank you.
MR. BAKER: Wilbur Creveling passed away on April 30th, 2001. I'd like to call on his son, Curtis Creveling, for his remarks.
MR. CREVELING: May it please the Court.
Aware of this memorial service tradition, I knew sooner or later I would be up here, but frankly I envisioned it would be much later. My father, Wilbur Curtis Creveling, Jr., died at the age of 71 on April 30, 2001. While preparing for these remarks, I was struck by the theme Judge Backenstoe began his fine eulogy for my father at the funeral service, "How do you sum up a man's life?" Many labels can be used. In this instance, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, role model, Republican, adventurer and lawyer. But what provides the essence or basis for these titles?
Without a doubt, my father's trademark was his pipe. During the colder months, he donned his equally familiar deerstalker cap.
When asked about this admittedly unusual headgear, his standard reply was he did not want people to know if he was coming or going. (At which time there was laughter.)
MR. CREVELING: This disarming aspect of his personality provides the basis for his even-temper, non-confrontational advocacy style. However, his true essence was derived from his love of adventure and the
My father was a true local product, only venturing briefly outside of Allentown to satisfy his ad -- sense of adventure and to obtain his legal education. He grew up on South 17th Street, but generally spent his summers on the Creveling farm, just south of the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center on South Cedar Crest
He graduated from Allentown High School and matriculated at Muhlenberg College. During two of his summer breaks, he hitchhiked out west and joined the U.S. Forest Service to fight forest fires. In addition to recounting the beauty of the west, he was eager to tell of his successful standoff with a grizzly bear. With less enthusiasm, he would recount his unsuccessful encounter with a rattlesnake while reaching for a pack of cigarettes one night. What the rattlesnake was unable to accomplish, my brother and I, years later, were able to put an end to, his cigarette smoking, thus setting the stage for his trademark pipe. His shear love for the outdoors, enhanced by his non-creature encounters, caused him to seriously consider changing his focus from the law to geology. Perhaps, an indicia of how much I have followed in my father's footsteps, I also almost made the same deviation in college. However, during one of his trips home after a summer of fighting forest fires, he experienced his first encounter with the law. Undoubtedly, attributable to his gruff appearance and associated with the equally harsh working and living conditions -- a look he described as "a hippy" before the phrase was ever coined -- he was detained by the authorities because he fit the description of a drifter wanted on murder charges. (At which time there was laughter.)
MR. CREVELING: This experience apparently solidified his choice of law as his career.
He graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1951, and was accepted in the accelerated full time two-year law program at Temple University School of Law. During his second year, he was Case Editor for the Temple Law Quarterly. He graduated in 1953. Once again, I followed in his footsteps 30 years later when I graduated from Temple Law School. The accelerated program enabled him to be the youngest member ever admitted to the Lehigh County Bar.
With his sense of adventure stymied by his full time attendance of law school, after graduation he enlisted in the Naval Reserves. He was commissioned to a destroyer, and claimed his pheasant hunting experience was responsible for his assignment as an anti-aircraft gunner. A heart murmur cut his military service short.
Apparently, having not received his fill of law school, since he was only there for two years, he returned to earn his master's in 1957. Once again, his love for the outdoors, albeit indirectly, was responsible for the next landmark in his life. After a serious skiing accident in Canada in which the physicians wanted to amputate his shattered left leg, he was brought back to Allentown. After successful surgery by Kenneth Weston -- who also repaired my severely broken arm years later -- my father was cared for by a nurse
Four children were born of this marriage. I am the oldest, and am survived by my brother John of Daytona Beach, Florida; my brother Robert, a financial wizard for Portland Cement who's here today; and a sister, Michele, in Connecticut. There are six grandchildren. Other than the positions held throughout his legal career, I have very little firsthand knowledge of the intricacies of his involvement in these positions. I am
Although, he established some legal precedents in the area of Workers' Compensation, which became his focus after 1963.
I have stumbled upon these while doing legal research because my father was more interested in sharing his love of the outdoors and appreciation for art and literature than his contributions to jurisprudence. A short note he wrote to me commending my graduation from law school illustrates his beliefs as his role as a lawyer. He wrote, "You have learned valuable skills, but the most important thing to remember is to use these skills wisely to promote fairness and justice."
The only story I remember being told from his days as a Lehigh County Assistant District Attorney from 1960 to 1963 involves this fairness theme while on Allentown fair patrol. Apparently, the assistant district attorneys would be assigned roving patrols to monitor the gaming stands. Having fond memories of the fair, as a multiple ribbon winner for his guinea pigs as a teenager, he would volunteer for this duty. His assistant district attorney badge would be discreetly flashed after a game stand operator had sufficiently taken advantage of an unsuspecting farm boy, who nevertheless was delighted he had finally won his coveted prize, none the wiser for his sudden good fortune. Despite what appeared to be an adversarial situation, his non-confrontational approach earned him an invitation and acceptance at the birthday party for the world's tallest woman, at the end of the fair, attended by the rest of the carnival folks.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. CREVELING: In 1963, he accepted an appointment as a commissioner on the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, where he served until 1971. Other than the friendships he forged on the Board, the only story I remember involves his running battle with the appellate courts on the specific law provisions for the loss of eyesight.
Since the Courts held vision loss was to be determined without corrective lenses, my father thought it was unfair a legally blind person would receive the same benefits as an individual whose unaided vision loss could be restored with glasses. Accordingly, since the Act recognized partial losses in other situations, my father would award half of the benefits payable for total vision loss if the loss could be corrected with glasses. The appellate courts were tougher than the game stand operators and my father never prevailed in this battle.
The Republican composed Workers' Compensation Appeal Board was dismissed when Governor Shapp took office. Unlike the political climate today, my father was not bitter by his dismissal months before the vesting of his state pension since he often equipped, "You live and die by the political sword."
He was extremely active in the Republican party and successfully ran for the State Y. R. Chairman with the slogan, "The Will to Win." His political activity resulted in his selection as a NATO youth delegate, complete with a one-week conference in Germany. I understand my mother found out about this conference in a
After his departure from the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board, he started a successful Workers' Compensation defense and labor practice, representing the major industries in the area. He was in practice for awhile with his Uncle Harry Creveling, but I gather this was not an informative time.
He eventually joined the firm headed by Boyd Walker, a fellow avid outdoorsman. During this time, he endured the purging of his files by the Commonwealth building fire.
After the fire, he was back out on his own and settled at 123 North 5th Street, where the office is still located. His Workers' Compensation defense and labor practice continued, and he was appointed to handle these areas for Lehigh County as an assistant solicitor from 1978 to 1994.
Although aware of the positions he has held, as I had indicated earlier, I have very few stories to impart. I only once saw him in action. He presented a host of witnesses at a Workers' Compensation hearing in Hazleton to establish the claimant had feigned his alleged work injury. Afterwards, the claimant, a Hell's Angel prototype, a large man complete with beard, tattoos, and leather jacket -- took the stand. In my father's typical non-confrontational approach, he systematically discredited virtually every aspect of the claimant's testimony. When the claimant stepped off the stand, in a tense moment, he headed towards counsel table. But then held out his hand to shake my father's hand and remarked, "Good show, Wilbur."
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. CREVELING: I served as co-counsel with him in a will contest where we successfully upheld a will drafted by then retired Judge Coyne. The irony of this proceeding was not lost on me, as the only time I ever saw any legally related agitation in my father while I was growing up, thus deviating from my previous description of him as mild mannered and even tempered, was after he had appeared before Judge Coyne.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. CREVELING: Our only other times in court together involved moving my admissions to the Bar before this court, Federal court, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In fact, I received my Bar results on a Monday, and when my father ascertained the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was sitting in Philadelphia the following day, we drove down to secure my admission so that I could handle depositions that were on the schedule for Wednesday.
The firm eventually was renamed Creveling and Creveling. Over the years, all new members had to satisfy
The insights my father provided for the practice of law surely began before I can remember. But one of my first recollections involves another one of the honorees here today. I served an internship in the district attorney's office under then District Attorney William Platt. After observing part of a trial handled by Wardell Steigerwalt, and what I thought was an unorthodox approach, I questioned my father on Attorney Steigerwalt's style. I recall him remarking, "He is the Columbo of lawyers, and you would do well
As a young lawyer, and right up to the end, I was in my father's office, and then later at home, soliciting his advice. As I often told him, I learned early on, experience always triumphs over youthful enthusiasm. While over the years, I became aware of his various legal accomplishments, he always preferred sharing his sense of adventure. He loved fly fishing and hunting, not because of the challenges they represented, but because of the appreciation of nature they fostered. He also loved to travel, and ventured to all seven continents, even the obscure Antarctica with my brother Robert. The varied nature of his trips was not to satisfy a checklist of places he had been, but rather to satisfy his sense of adventure which permeated his being.
So how do you sum up a man's life? Perhaps, there is no other way than using labels such as husband, father, grandfather, mentor, role model, Republican, adventurer and lawyer. These are the qualities by which I remember my father.
MR. BAKER: Frank A. Doocey passed away on April 9, 2001. Attorney Sam Kasick is here for remarks about Mr. Doocey.
MR. KASICK: May it please the Court. President Judge Platt, Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, honored guests.
I believe we'll remember Frank Doocey by these characteristics: a man of great spirit, a tremendous and unwavering faith in God, of principle and integrity, and dedicated to his family and friends.
Frank was born August 22, 1908, in Troy, New York. The son of Patrick and Margaret Doocey. He was raised in Troy and attended the LaSalle Military Academy which was then operated by the Christian Brothers. Perhaps not a coincidence. He went on to attend and graduate from Manhattan College and St. John's University, both in New York.
In 1934, he married Margaret Ryan. They were married 67 years until Frank passed away in April of last year, having raised 8 children, the proud grandparents of 16, and the great-grandparents of 2; and since then, a 3rd born last month. His wife Margaret is residing in Manor Care in Bethlehem and unable to be with us today.
Frank was a solo practitioner for a period, then he joined the Pocahontas Fuel Company in New York City as its Chief Counsel. The company owned coal mines in West Virginia during World War II and one of Frank's duties was to testify before Congress on labor issues and the seizure of the coal mines during the war.
But by 1953, the company was moving its offices to West Virginia. However, Frank and Margaret were, by that time, the parents of those eight children, and wanted all of them educated in Catholic schools. They decided West Virginia might not be the place to do so. Instead, Frank joined General Acceptance Corporation in Allentown, by whom he was employed for a number of years. After, when he left the corporate world, he practiced on his own and shared office space in Allentown with a number of attorneys
Frank joined the Bar Association of Lehigh County on March the 30th, 1956. I understand he was the first director of Legal Aid for Lehigh County. He contributed his services to his community as a member of the Coopersburg Lions Club and the Citizens for Educational Freedom of the Lehigh Valley and the Sierra Club. He contributed to his church as a past president of the Holy Name Society of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. And as we might have expected, he was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Frank and Margaret resided in the rural southern parts of Lehigh County. He enjoyed the outdoors and the rolling country sides and farms of the Lanark, Vera Cruz and Coopersburg areas, so much that he moved his
Frank was a sole practitioner and of the old school, sometimes rather informal, and very reasonable with fees but even -- even then, worked out things with clients. When times were tough, he would often draft a will for somebody, not take the fee and exchange it for something such as a 1949 Ford. He was a "family lawyer" in the truest sense. He did general practice and he would take care of a family's real estate matters, business dealings and estate planning.
At the celebration of his 90th birthday about three and a half years ago, his family and friends delivered their own written remembrances of Frank. And they were very kind to share those with me. One of those remembrances, common to almost all, the family was hopping in the family car, Frank singing away, wife Margaret up front, kids in the back seat, groaning but enjoying themselves, but all having a good old time.
Of course, his Irish temperament didn't quite leave Frank just because he got behind the wheel. Nor did his religion. I'm told Frank would say a prayer as they left the driveway, then get caught up in traffic. And Frank would start off, "Those sons-of-bitches. They know I want to get out of here. I don't know how they knew I was going to come, but they know." Then right away, you have a hundred "Hail Mary, full of grace," and then go on. Perhaps because the kids were in the back. I don't know.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. KASICK: Even during the 70's, Frank's secretary for eight years was Linda Hafich, formerly known as Linda Simon. She relates that whenever Frank mislaid something in the office, he'd have them both pray to St. Anthony and then give thanks upon finding whatever it was. Most of us know, and probably heard, Frank the singer in his later years. But he was a singer from the age of eight, when he joined the choir at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Troy until age 81, when he finally left the choir at St. Joe's down in Limeport. And he had a song for every occasion. If you started up a conversation with Frank, on almost any topic, somehow that would remind him of the lyrics of some song. And Frank would sing. And many of us recall Frank walking down the street humming a little tune to himself. And after he left the choir at St. Joe's, he'd
His spirit and good natured sense of humor became legendary in the Coopersburg area. On one occasion, as he was walking across the street to his office, he came upon a patrolman who was in the process of arresting a man at gunpoint. And naturally, Frank greeted the officer,"Good morning, Officer."
The officer replied, "Good morning, Frank. Nice to see you." Frank would pass on by.
But that was Frank. That same spirit was ever present in his association with the members of the Bar in Lehigh County. Frank made it a point to attend regular meetings, and particularly, the summer picnic. It was my privilege to partner with Frank for a number of years in the annual quoits tournament. He was a fine quoits player, but like his teammate, he was good only when we had enough Band-Aids. But only when we had enough Band-Aids. Excuse me.
After one of those successful outings, I asked Frank if he'd do me a favor. I had to leave early because of our anniversary and asked Frank to go up and get the award. I don't recall exactly what it was. What type it was. But I asked Frank if he'd take it down to his Coopersburg office, and he kindly obliged. And several months later, when I remembered that, and told Frank I'd be stopping by, he said, "Sam, I thought you didn't want it anymore, so I drank it."
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. KASICK: He always maintained a sense of humor, a smile, a good word for all. Although, he never gave in regarding matters of principle or faith. Never wavered. He was a devout Roman Catholic. And when his faith, principles and social issues overlapped, one always knew where Frank would make his stand.
The same was true when social issues and the legal process crossed paths. His views were well known to members of the bench and the Bar. Whether others in the profession disagreed or not, I believe it can be said that Frank's position was always based upon his true faith, his principles and his integrity, rather than any other outside motives or agendas.
His daughter Sally relates that as a substitute teacher several years ago, when she mentioned her name to the students, a young girl of color -- excuse me -- asked her if she was married to Frank Doocey. She said, "No," he's her father. The girl then showed her a letter to the editor of The Morning Call. The young woman had been carrying that letter around in her wallet for years. Didn't know the man who wrote it. But she carried this letter, and it made an impression upon her.
In that letter, Frank explained his predicament regarding the American Bar Association. You see, he was a member, but when it took its stand on the issue of abortion, Frank attempted to resign his membership. He was unable to do so. And he was relating this to the editor.
Unfortunately for him, he was unable to resign because, as he mentioned, he had already resigned when he
While his Irish heritage perhaps contributed to Frank's story telling abilities because he always had a story other than -- besides a song, his devout faith wouldn't permit him to sway too far from the truth. For a long time, he attended weekday mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Lanark. Father Heier, the chaplain there, introduced himself to Frank at -- on one occasion. He told Frank he was drawn to him because of the amiable
Well, Frank honestly had to respond. The smile on his face wasn't because of the homily. It's because he turned off his hearing aid during the sermon and didn't hear a thing.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. KASICK: Frank's last social event was, quite fittingly, a family Christmas party a little more than a year ago. And it was the last night he was upright and enjoying himself. As a good Irishman, he had a few and he laughed it up with family. A smile on his face and song in his heart. A song for everybody else. And a story to tell. But that was Frank Doocey. It was sort of "Pope Frank." A good preacher. A gentleman. A good friend. And just a good person.
He succumbed to his mortality on April 9th, in the Year of our Lord, 2001. And while we no longer can shake his hand or give him a hug, we'll -- or, discuss politics or religion with him, his spirit and his memory will live with all of us who were touched by his presence here on earth. Thank you.
MR. BAKER: W. Hamlin Neely passed away on September 18th, 2001. His son, Craig Neely.
MR. NEELY: May it please the Court. Good morning. Good morning everyone.
This really is -- is a very, very difficult thing for me to do. Not on an emotional level. I've come to grips with my father's passing. I knew for months before my father died, he was going to pass. But as has been said, how do you sum up somebody's life? How do you put into words in a matter of minutes what someone like Ham Neely did in his life? And I see a lot of smiles out there because everyone has their memories. And to some extent as lawyers, the way I look at it, as we're -- we try to be teachers. We try to stand in front of judges or juries and we -- or clients, and try to teach them things. Things that they don't know already.
And as I stand here, and everyone looking at me, I feel that many of these people know an awful lot more about Ham Neely than I do, which makes it even more difficult.
But what I'll -- I'll try to do is try to give everybody a little bit of insight maybe as to where Ham Neely came from. And in a couple of very brief stories that may exemplify what made Ham Neely the legend that I think he really has become here in Lehigh County.
He was born in 1925, grew up both in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and in Harrisburg. The -- the son of a -- a mother whose family was quite prominent in the area and a father who at the time he was born was a lawyer and eventually became the president judge of Dauphin County, Court of Common Pleas.
He grew up on a farm in Carlisle and he grew up on Front Street in the city in Harrisburg. And he would tell me stories about the farm, or -- or, he really lived the life of a farm boy.
But he'd also tell me stories of living in town when he lived a life of a more urban person. But he'd also tell the story, when he was 14 years old, his parents sent him away to Lawrenceville Academy in New Jersey. And he -- he liked to think that they sent him there because going to Lawrenceville was really a precursor to going to Princeton. But those of us who know him a little better than others would think that something happened in the first thirteen and a half years to convince his parents what they ought to do is send him off to Lawrenceville.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. NEELY: And he told the story though, when his parents took him to Lawrenceville, they drove him into the area where the residences were. They all got out of the car. They opened up the trunk. And he got his bags out, and they said, "Well, Ham, we'll see you.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. NEELY: They didn't take him into the dorm. They didn't take him to admissions. They didn't do anything. They just left him there. But I think that gives us some idea where that fiercely independent man came from. He was -- he was alone at a young age. He made decisions on his own. The most critical decisions that people have to make, and he had to make them himself. And he used the -- the resources that he had that God gave him to make those decisions.
And as we look back at him, Ham Neely, you see his free spirit. And we look at his zest for life. And we look at his real independent attitudes. Maybe we can look back at his upbringing and say, "You know, his parents saw that in him and they thought that was the best way to take advantage of those assets that he has."
This morning -- and just as a coincidence -- I had a telephone call about 8:15 this morning from someone I had never met before on a non-legal matter. And she says to me -- and I was introducing myself to her so she would know who I am. And she says, "Well, Craig, you know, I knew your father very well."
And I was like, "Oh, that's very nice. A lot of people do." She said, "I probably worked at every local restaurant in the Lehigh Valley." I said, "Then you must know him very well." But she described him as brilliant. She described him as charming. She described him as charismatic. And she just said, "I just loved him. He was great."
And I've heard that so many times since September 18th -- the day he died -- which is why I stand before you with a smile, because I can look back at my father and say, you know, he really touched a lot of people. He made their lives better. And -- and people can remember Ham Neely and his spirit and really be moved by the life that he lived and the way that he lived it.
And he carried on until the end with that exact same spirit which he exemplified so much in, what I would consider, an irreverent sense of humor. And it was September 11th, in fact, of last year -- of course, a day we'd never forget. And he died on September 18th. And he was very sick with cancer. He could barely -- barely move even on September 11th, but he had all of his faculties. He knew exactly what was going on.
And while I was trying to sort out what was happening, I had gone back to the Borough of Emmaus. And I was standing on the corner of Chestnut and Second Streets, across from what would be Churchill's, trying to figure out my responsibilities as a citizen and also as an official in Emmaus and my family, but I was worried about how Ham was doing. So I got out my cell phone and dialed his number. And he answered the phone. And some people know this. My aunt, who would be Ham's sister, is -- is mentally disordered and lives essentially as a homeless person in the City of New York, and has for decades. And she would always become the butt of jokes of Ham. And her name is Jeannie. And it was somewhat irreverent in his style; he would make jokes about Jeannie, and what Jeannie was doing.
So I called my dad on September 11th about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I said, "Dad, you saw what happened in New York?"
"Yeah. Yeah. It's terrible."
And I said, "I hope Jeannie's okay."
He says, "Well, I think she's behind the whole thing."
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. NEELY: Now, within about three or four days, he had deteriorated to the point, I knew he was going to pass away within days. But I thought that really showed his -- his character and what -- what he really thought; that the way to approach things was with some seriousness, but also, we had to look at life a little with some humor and try to interject some humor in every event, no matter how bad it might be.
But on a serious note, when we -- when we try to sum up what really underlined his personality and his dedication to the law, to the legal profession, and dedication to other lawyers and to judges, a story that he would tell me -- and he would only tell it when he had too much to drink, when he became very -- very emotional about things.
And it was when -- when his father died. And there were four kids. And he'd tell the story of walking from the Presbyterian church in Harrisburg, which is on Pine Street just across from the Capitol. And they lived on Front Street. 323 North Front was only a block and a half away. He'd describe, when the funeral was over at that time -- he had been the president judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Dauphin County -- they walked back to the house.
And his mother led them out of the church. And he would describe it as a mother with four ducklings walking behind her on State Street, eventually going to Front Street. And they would walk. Nobody would say anything. And they almost got to Front Street when she stopped and she turned around and said, "Your father always believed in the rightness of things."
And Ham always thought that comment meant so much. And I think it was because rightness is a very general term that is a goal that we should seek to reach. And that's what the law is. It's an attempt to seek rightness. And I think that was always a foundation of his. And no matter how irreverent he could be, and some people considered maybe disrespectful at times, he really did cherish the law. He cherished the authority of the court and he cherished the experiences in the courtrooms where he really could help attempt to seek the rightness, which I think really was the whole start of an awful lot of what he did. So thank you for the opportunity to talk about my father. I appreciate everyone's attention.
MR. BAKER: Lastly, we're here to honor David G. Welty, Esquire who passed away on July 21st, 2000. Attorney Wally Worth will be delivering the remarks regarding Mr. Welty.
MR. WORTH: May it please the Court. I have to note the remarks that Craig Neely made about it being difficult to just get up and memorialize someone. You know them. And it brings back memories and brings back heartaches and it brings back joy, too, that we were all able to be together and share in life's
I heard a number of the people that spoke here at this podium before me mention that the attorneys who they were memorializing were Republican, and it began to frighten me. (At which time there was laughter.)
MR. WORTH: It did explain one thing to me, though. Why the Presidential election had been so close. Dave Welty was also a Republican. (At which time there was laughter.)
MR. WORTH: And he was very active in the Republican party. It was over a year ago that his wife Marge asked if I would take on this chore. And I certainly explained to her that I was honored to do this. And then I thought, a memorial is really a shrine. And how do you build or present a shrine to a person like David? His life was impeccable. He was a very serious person with a great sense of humor, though. And his humor was never conducted in any way that would hurt other people. He was an honorable person and he was a man of integrity. He was born in October -- on October 18th, 1928, into a family where law and justice were always important. He had a brother who was a police officer in California. And it was natural for David to become an attorney, although he didn't jump right into that profession because his father was a very prominent
David was so proud of his family. His father -- he would talk to me about how his dad served in World War I. He was decorated by the French Republic with a Croix de Guerre. That, at the time, was the second highest decoration of France, only second to the Legion of Honor. And that decoration was presented because David's father had saved the lives of numerous French soldiers in combat. You can see that David had reason to be proud. He had concerns as to what was said that constituted a filthy mouth. And here's where candidly, I think, he was pulling my leg. Part of his humor -- we were at a township supervisors clam bake. And he was solicitor for a number of townships. Lynn Township was one of them. And our office represented Upper Milford Township. And he knew I was of Scottish extraction, and on some occasions would wear the kilt. So he told me he had gone over -- he and his wife went over to England to visit a daughter whose husband was employed there. And they went up to Scotland. I figured they were social climbing.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. WORTH: In any event, while up in the Highlands, David and someone went fishing. And they had, of course, a Scottish guide. And he heard the guide demonstrating to the companion, "You got a filthy mouth." And David was not one given to profanity. And he was somewhat concerned; wondered what had been said. And he walked over and the guide then told David that this other person had a filthy mouth. And David turned and asked the person what they had said. And they indicated that they were having difficulty understanding the Scottish brogue. Especially, up in the Highlands where it's mixed with Gaelic. And the person said, "All I did was ask the guide to speak in plain English."
And that guy turned, "There you go again. There you go again. You got a filthy mouth. You don't use that language up here."
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. WORTH: That was David's introduction to the unity of the United Kingdom as it went concerning the independent Highlander.
David received his undergraduate degree at Penn State University. And then he did not go immediately to law school. Instead, he did go to the Air Force as an air cadet. And that was during the Korean Conflict. So there was a bit of a gap as with many of that generation between undergraduate school and law school. But he finally decided he wanted to be a lawyer and he received his juris doctor degree from Dickinson School of Law. And it was amazing. When it was Dickinson, it was not part of Penn State. He did his undergraduate work, but Dickinson is now the law school for Penn State University.
David always had an inherent sense of loyalty. He was loyal to his country, to his family, to his party, and to his friends.
As an attorney, he built an enviable practice and served for many years as solicitors, as I mentioned, for Lynn Township and others. He was a trial attorney for Royal Globe, the insurance company -- which, I think, had English contacts -- and represented various municipal agencies in and for the County of Lehigh. He practiced for many years with Attorney Elwood Shimer who was better known in the area as Woody Shimer. Woody represented car dealers. David remained in that office after Woody died.
And in his last years as a practicing attorney, we were honored to have David come with us as of counsel. Again, in demonstrating his loyalty, he indicated there was one little problem in joining us. And I wondered what it was. And again, he was concerned about his secretary, Sandy Dennis who is now with Craig Neely. Sandy was very loyal also to David. And, of course, there was no problem. Sandy was a fine secretary, and David brought her along. And she remained with him until the end of his professional career.
During all of this time, he had a most successful marriage -- a very happy marriage, I would describe it as being -- to his wife Marge. And he was the proud father of three children, two beautiful young ladies -- I met them this morning -- Karen and Patricia. And he had a -- has a son Michael, who is bigger than I am, so I'm not going to say he's beautiful. All the time, this was a very close and successful family. I have had a unique experience in talking to Marge about David. He died from a very rare ailment called progressive supranuclear palsy. There have been only 3,000 to 4,000 such cases ever diagnosed in the United States. So he was being mistreated. He was misdiagnosed by the doctors. No, we're not going to sue, if there are any doctors here.
(At which time there was laughter.)
MR. WORTH: Marge indicated that the misdiagnosis didn't cause a problem; that the ailment is terminal under any circumstances. There is no relief for it.
The unusual thing is, David always seemed prepared to expire. And upon the occasion of his death, his wife had an envelope that she was to open only upon the occasion of his death. He wrote the letter, and it was contained there in -- in June of 1983. Seventeen years and one month before he died. And I knew David all that time, and he always was in good health. But he always was thinking ahead.
I'm going to read some of his words to you. These are not my words. These are his words. These are the words of David Welty. And I would tell you that we could all pay heed to them and possibly follow the guidance that's set forth in this.
Now I'll read the words. "Time is precious, so use it wisely both at work and play so that it is not wasted. Strive to understand and appreciate people. Be a good listener. Do not seek to change people, except by the precept of your own example. Take the time to learn what each person stands for and appreciate each for what he is. Continue to stand for your own high principles and don't fear standing alone when what you believe is right, fair and just. Of all of the traits which I have hoped each of you" -- this goes to his children -- "will acquire, I believe the most important was self-reliance. I have lived to see my hopes and expectations exceeded by each of you, as well as your success in life.
Now, with words like that, how can I build a shrine for this man? These are powerful words. And probably, if we all lived by them, the violence and strife that takes place in the community would quickly vanish. So you see, David was his own memorial.
MR. BAKER: Your Honors, this concludes these presentations. And with gratitude for the time, I turn the program back over to you.
THE COURT: I wish to thank the Bar Association for continuing this tradition; John Baker, the chairman of the committee, for all of the hard work that he did; and all of the speakers who have memorialized our
The official court reporter is directed to transcribe the notes of testimony and to make copies of the memorial available to the families of our deceased memorialized members, as we have today. Are there any members of the court that wish to make any remarks?
THE COURT: If not, then we'll adjourn court. We'll do so out of respect for our departed colleagues.
MR. RABER: All rise.
This memorial session is adjourned.
(Whereupon, the memorial ceremony concluded.)
I hereby certify that the proceedings are contained fully and accurately in the stenographic notes taken by me in the testimony of the above cause and that this is a correct transcript of same.
Mary R. Millsaps, RPR, CM
Official Court Reporter
* * * * *
The foregoing record of the proceedings upon the testimony of the above cause is hereby directed to be filed.
WILLIAM H. PLATT, P.J.