In Memoriam
2021 title
Richard Sprague Hailed as a Fearless Competitor and ‘One of the Greatest Courtroom Lawyers in America’

ichard Aurel Sprague L’53 had a middle name that paid homage to an ancient Roman emperor/philosopher, and a lifelong love affair with the law and his role in it.

He envisioned every jury trial as a work of stagecraft, playing his part with zest over the course of seven highly visible decades. “When I first got into the courtroom, I realized it was like producing a play — and I’m the producer, the actor, the composer,” Sprague said in a 2009 interview with the Penn Law Journal.

When Mr. Sprague died April 3, 2021 at age 95, the Philadelphia Inquirer described him as “a towering figure in Philadelphia’s legal community who … established himself as one of the city’s, if not the nation’s, most preeminent attorneys.”

In a 1999 Philadelphia Magazine poll asking 1,000 members of the city’s Bar Association which attorneys they would seek out for legal help for various problems, Mr. Sprague outscored all competitors, garnering top honors in the greatest number of specialties.

His was a career with diverse acts. He represented the likes of fellow lawyer F. Lee Bailey, basketball star Allen Iverson, the philanthropist John E. DuPont, and former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.

As a prosecutor in Philadelphia, and as a Special Prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Attorney General of the United States, he tried and convicted hundreds of defendants accused of murder, including former United Mine Workers Union President Tony Boyle, ultimately sentenced to three life terms for ordering the slaying of Joseph “Jock” Yablonski, his wife, and his daughter.

As a patriot, Mr. Sprague served his country in multiple ways, first as a US Navy submariner in World War II and later as Chief Counsel and Director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ committees investigating the murders of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To his foes — and they were legion — the Baltimore native was a relentless litigator, a master of strategy and choreography. Shanin Specter, L’84, PAR’16, Co-Founder of the Kline & Specter law firm in Philadelphia, called his longtime friend “fearless, fearsome and feared.”

“He would take on very, very difficult legal battles, which is why he was called fearless,” Specter told The Inquirer when Mr. Sprague died. “He was fearsome because he was such a presence in the courtroom, and he was feared because folks felt that he could both create and destroy.”

The late F. Lee Bailey, no shrinking violet in the legal arena himself, was even more succinct. In the foreword to his friend’s autobiography, Bailey declared Mr. Sprague “one of the greatest courtroom lawyers in America.”

Richard Sprague speaking into a mircophone
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Chief Counsel and Director of the House Committee on Assassinations Richard A. Sprague L’53 testifies before the panel on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 9, 1976.

Mr. Sprague joined the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in 1958, five years out of law school, and quickly racked up murder convictions. Opposing attorneys took note of his scrupulous attention to detail, his deep dives into the backgrounds of prospective jurors, his parsing of witnesses’ testimony.

In private practice, his clients considered him a tireless advocate who routinely took home reams of materials to pore over until well into the night, determined to be at least two steps ahead of anyone else in the courtroom the next day.

“If somebody says I try to be controlling, I think they’re right,” Mr. Sprague told the Penn Law Journal. “I want that jury, and even the judge, to look at me as though I’m the dominant person there.”

Thomas A. Sprague knew him as mentor, colleague, teacher — and dad. The two men practiced law together for 30 years at Sprague & Sprague.

The younger Sprague was inspired rather than intimidated by his father’s outsized reputation, he said. “Working with him was a terrific opportunity to see someone who was a master of his craft. One of the things I learned early on was his attention to detail, and his meticulous and all-consuming preparation.”

Tom Sprague said the family dinner table doubled as a lively debate forum, with his father spearheading discussions about issues of the day and the people making headlines — everything from gun safety to civil rights to political developments.

“He was always accepting of other people’s opinions,” he recalled. “That’s not to say that he agreed with them, but he was a huge believer in having everyone state their opinions and having them back those opinions up.”

If he could set the world straight on any facet of his father’s public persona, it would be dispelling the image of a hard-driven automaton who lived only for winning cases.

“On a personal level, he was very caring, very compassionate, and always there to lend an ear, either to family members or friends who wanted to confide in him,” Tom Sprague said. “Yes, he was a zealous advocate, but he was also somebody who was always willing to listen to problems, whether legal or personal.”

Steve Cozen C’61, L’64, didn’t know Richard Sprague as a law student — nearly 10 years separated the men’s tenure at the Law School — and never faced him in court. But the two shared several mutual clients and were friends for more than three decades, often dining together at Springwood, the Sprague estate in Haverford.

“I think the public perception of Dick is that he was a tough guy, kind of like he was Darth Vader, and he wasn’t,” recalled Cozen, Founder and Chairman of the Philadelphia-based law firm Cozen O’Connor and a longtime member of the board of advisors of the Law School. “He WAS a tough guy, but he was also a warm and terrific friend.”

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, Cozen was one of only 70 people invited to attend Mr. Sprague’s funeral on April 8; about 200 other friends, colleagues and family members watched via Zoom.

When it came time to eulogize his father, Tom Sprague chose a passage from Theodore Roosevelt that he felt summed up a life well lived.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds …”

In addition to his son Thomas, Richard Sprague is survived by his daughter Barbara A. Sprague and her former husband Edward I. White, and his grandchildren Jacob, Joshua, Elizabeth, Jonathan, Rachel, Julia, Leah and Joseph.

James “Jim” Frick L’48, the last surviving Lieutenant Commander from World War II, died Nov. 18. He was 100 years old.

Mr. Frick was born in Glenside, Pa. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia in 1938 and from the University of Notre Dame in 1942. He proudly served in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets of the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Mr. Frick was extraordinarily proud of his service to our country and spoke glowingly about his days in the Navy.

After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he graduated from the Law School in 1948, was a corporate lawyer with the Reading Railroad for many years. After working with both Amtrak and Conrail, he returned to the Reading Railroad in the late 1970s as a member of its reorganization team. He retired in 1984.

Mr. Frick made what his family deemed the best decision of his life in 1959 when he married Martha Jean Diersing in Louisville, Ky. They moved to the Ambler, Pa., area where they shared 49 wonderful years until Martha’s death in 2008. They loved spending time with family — especially with their 10 grandchildren, who adored him and called him Jimbo — socializing with friends, and traveling.

Mr. Frick was remembered for his unbending optimism, great storytelling, sense of humor, and love of a good bourbon old-fashioned. He was an avid sports fan, fisherman, golfer and card player, but his real joy came from spending time with his family and good friends.

Mr. Frick is preceded in death by his wife, Martha. He is survived by children Jef, Terri and Chris; and grandchildren Amanda, Brendan, Colin, Francesco, Christopher, Penelope, Isolde, Maddie, Zaccaria and Lily.

Gordon Gerber L’49, a World War II veteran and longtime Philadelphia lawyer and Judge Pro Tempore, died Feb. 23. He was 98.

Mr. Gerber, a lifetime resident of Philadelphia and its western suburbs, graduated from Overbrook High School, Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After the Pearl Harbor bombing, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served between college and law school. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, he was an intelligence officer assigned to manage airports in the China, Burma, India theater.

After graduation from law school, he clerked for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Horace Stern for a year. He practiced law with his father, Harry Gerber, for three years in Philadelphia before joining Dechert, Price and Rhoads. After retiring from Dechert as required at age 73, he served pro bono as a Judge Pro Tem in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for 23 years. He was involved in many activities of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Mr. Gerber was also a member of the Whitemarsh Township Zoning Hearing Board; a board member of Sunnybrook Golf Club for 20 years, including terms as Secretary and President; a board member of the Unitarian Church of Germantown; and Past Master of Apollo Lodge No. 386 F&AM.

Mr. Gerber was preceded in death by his first wife of 55 years, Martha, who died in 1999. His second wife of 11 years, Ethel Sunny David, died in 2017. Mr. Gerber is survived by his children Patricia and Gordon Jr.; grandchildren Elizbeth and Christopher; and great-grandchildren Spencer Jane, Stephen Paul III and Collins Martha. Upon marrying Sunny in 2006, his family expanded to also include survivors: children Clifford Jr., Kimber, and S. Edgar; and grandchildren Cate, Clifford III, Sarah, Rebecca, Matilda, Allison, Cameron and Isabelle.

Thomas Hyndman Jr. L’50, a longtime Philadelphia lawyer and World War II veteran, died Dec. 2. He was 96.

Mr. Hyndman was born in Philadelphia and in 1942 graduated from Germantown Academy, where he served as a member of its Board of Trustees for many years.

He began studies for his undergraduate degree at Williams College, but paused his education to enlist as a navigator in the 15th Army Air Force, where he served from 1943 to 1945. He was based in Foggia, Italy. During one air mission, he and eight crew members had to bail from a bomber flying over Italy that had been hit by gunfire. Hyndman waited until the plane was over Allied territory before instructing the men to parachute down, and he was the last one to jump at a dangerous 800 feet. No one was hurt in the incident, and Mr. Hyndman was later honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant.

He returned to Williams College and graduated in 1946. Two years later, he married Mary de-Coursey, whom he met through mutual friends in college. They raised five children in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

After graduating from the Law School in 1950, Mr. Hyndman clerked for Chief Justice Horace Stern of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He then joined Duane, Morris & Heckscher, now Duane Morris LLP, as an Associate in 1951. He specialized in business and corporate law, and was promoted to Partner in 1957. He served as the firm’s Managing Partner from 1979 to 1989 and became Of Counsel in 1993, remaining at the firm until his retirement.

The Hyndmans loved golfing, sailing and skiing and were members of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Sunnybrook Golf Club, and the Taconic Golf Club. They also enjoyed gardening.

Mr. Hyndman was involved in many other organizations: He was a member of the Union League of Philadelphia and a Trustee for the Blind Relief Fund of Philadelphia, the Presser Foundation, and the Visiting Nurse Association Community Services. He was on the Penn Engineering Corp.’s Board of Directors from 1974 to 2003 and the Rochester & Pittsburgh’s Coal Board from 1980 to 1996. He served on the board of his final residence, the Hill at Whitemarsh, and he was also an usher at St. Thomas Church in Fort Washington.

Mr. Hyndman was preceded in death by his wife, Mary. He is survived by children Patricia, Thomas, Susan, Stephen and Peter; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and Suzanne Castle, his companion of seven years.

Thomas Hyndman Jr. L’50
During one air mission, Hyndman and eight crew members had to bail from a bomber flying over Italy that had been hit by gunfire. He waited until the plane was over Allied territory before instructing the men to parachute down, and he was the last one to jump at a dangerous 800 feet.

Aims “Joe” Coney, Jr. L’54, a longtime Pittsburgh attorney and more recently a resident of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, died January 9. He was 91.

Mr. Coney was born in Cleveland and attended Hawken School. During World War II air raid drills, his assignment was to identify chinks of light escaping around blackout curtains. His family moved to Pittsburgh in 1942, where he attended Shady Side Academy.

With a shortage of camp-counselor-aged men in postwar Europe, Mr. Coney worked at a summer camp in Annecy, France in 1948 and 1949. He graduated from Yale University in 1951. As a student at Penn Law, he needed a date for a formal event and invited an acquaintance named Rita. He failed to tell her it was formal, and they were the only couple not in evening attire. The snafu began a bond between the two that led to their wedding in 1954 and a 66-year loving marriage.

In August 1954, the U.S. Army drafted Mr. Coney and assigned him to the Dental Corps with the occupation forces in Germany. After completing his service, he joined Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart & Johnson in 1956, became a Partner, and stayed 51 years as it grew into K&L Gates, one of the world’s top legal firms. His specialty became labor relations, and while often in late-night negotiations, most evenings he rode the #61 bus home in time for family dinners.

Mr. Coney also cared about helping others. While in law school, he volunteered at a settlement house in Philadelphia, and later taught carpentry at the Manchester House on Pittsburgh’s North Side. After the 1968 riots following Martin Luther King’s assassination, he and his wife Rita hosted interracial discussion groups, and he helped create the Freedom House ambulance service for Pittsburgh’s underserved Hill District, which later became the model for Pittsburgh’s emergency response system.

From 1985 to 2009, Mr. Coney served on the board of The Pace School in Churchill, Pa., which provides a free education program for students with severe disabilities. He remained a Director Emeritus until his death. He spent 20 years on the boards of Transitional Services Inc, which assists the mentally ill, and The Ellis School.

Mr. Coney loved Blue Mountain Lake in New York’s Adirondacks and was involved in the Blue Mountain Lake Association. He co-founded Water Watch, a group concerned with water quality and combating invasive species, and he also helped establish permanent funding for a steward to monitor campers on the lake’s islands.

He and Rita loved to travel and often joined a group called People to People on international tours. In 2009, they left Pittsburgh for a retirement community in Chagrin Falls to be closer to family.

Mr. Coney is survived by his wife Rita; children Andy, Sally and Nancy; grandchildren Katie, Courtney, Gordon, Chris, Annie, Allison and Sarah; and great-grandchildren Connor and Maggie.

John Sharpe, IV L’55, a fourth-generation Chambersburg, Pa., lawyer and former town mayor, died Nov. 3. He was 93.

A Chambersburg native, John lived within the Chambersburg area all of his life except for years at Phillips Academy at Andover, Mass., the Army, Princeton University, where he was in the class of 1952, and University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he graduated from in 1955. He marveled at his role as the fourth generation in a line of Chambersburg attorneys dating back to 1851, with his son, Jack, joining him at the Sharpe & Sharpe law firm for 28 years, and then his grandson Alex joining after his retirement.

Mr. Sharpe married the love of his life, Lynn, in 1951. He also loved his hometown and wanted it to be a great place to live, evidenced by his involvement in community activities during his 58-year legal career. He served as Mayor of Chambersburg, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Secretary and President of the Franklin County Bar Association, 1964’s Centennial-Bicentennial Celebration Chairman, United Way Chairman, and many other committees and boards, including the YMCA. He was President of Downtowners, Inc. Chambersburg, a nonprofit company that bought, rehabilitated, and sold buildings to help upgrade the business section on Main Street. He also served as President of the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter for a five-year stint following the “Save the Shelter” effort in 1994; he served more than 40 years on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and was Vice President of the Cumberland Valley Chamber Players. He was a member of the Distribution Committees of the Franklin County Foundation and the Greater Harrisburg Foundation. He relished his service as the Solicitor for the Chambersburg Area Development Corporation, Franklin County Area Development Corporation and Franklin County Industrial Development Authority. As Mayor, he promoted the relationship with Gotemba, Japan as a sister city, visiting Japan several times and regularly hosting Gotemba visitors.

Mr. Sharpe had a strong faith and was active in the Presbyterian Church of the Falling Spring. He served as Trustee, Elder, Sunday School superintendent and teacher, as well as Confirmation class leader and teacher for decades. He volunteered at the church’s community dinner for several years and served by teaching people to read, which he always viewed as Christian service. At his death, he was one of the longest tenured members of the church, having held membership for over 80 years. Apart from his service, he faithfully attended every Sunday he was in town, until his move to the Menno Haven community, where he became a familiar presence at worship services.

Mr. Sharpe was preceded in death by his wife, Lynn, his parents, and sister Rachel. In addition to his son Jack and grandson Alex, he is survived by children Peter and Betsey; grandchildren Jessica, Josh, Drew and Meghan; niece Jenny; and nephew Peter, who lived with him from age 8.

Donald Bobb L’56, a Korean War veteran and Berks County attorney, died March 9. He was 91.

Mr. Bobb graduated from Reading High School in 1947, Lafayette College in 1951, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1956. He served as an Army Infantry Communications Officer during the Korean War from 1952 to 1953 and earned the Combat Infantry Badge and a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.

In 1956, Mr. Bobb joined the Reading law firm of Snyder, Balmer, & Kershner and retired from the successor firm of Mogel, Speidel, Bobb, & Kershner in January 2001. He served as Secretary, and later as President, of the Berks County Bar Association. He was one of the Founder-Directors of the Berks County Estate Planning Council. In 1983, he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Council. He was one of the Founder-Directors of Family Guidance Institute and served several terms as its President and Solicitor. He served as Solicitor to the Spring Township School District and later as Chairman of the Wilson School Authority. He was Solicitor to the Berks County Recorder of Deeds for more than 23 years.

Mr. Bobb was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading and served as Lay-Leader, Vestry member, and as a member on various church committees. He was a Trinity cook for the Reading Shelter and served as a cook for Trinity Hunger Breakfasts, where he introduced the congregation to grits. He also prepared various cookbooks, including a Trinity Cookbook, to celebrate Trinity’s 250th Anniversary, and a very special Family Cookbook for his children and grandchildren.

Mr. Bobb delighted in spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he particularly enjoyed reading books together.

He was preceded in death in 1991 by sister, Alice, and her daughter, Emily.

Mr. Bobb is survived by his dear wife, Peggy, whom he married in September 1952. He is also survived by children, Deborah, John and Amy; grandchildren Christopher, Daniel, Meghan, Elliot, Madeline, and Jacob; great-grandchildren Parker and Sophie; and his brother, Arthur.

Guyla Woodward Ponomareff L’56, a passionate attorney who worked tirelessly for women’s rights during a career spanning more than five decades, died March 27. She was 88.

Mrs. Ponomareff was born in Charlerio, Pa., graduated from Penn State, and later was among the first women admitted to the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

She was an early member of the National Women’s Political Caucus and active in local, state, and national politics. As a practicing attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area, she specialized in family law and probate. Her pro bono work included defending LGBTQ+ women and women of color.

Mrs. Ponomareff met Dr. George Ponomareff while she was working as an attorney for the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. They married in 1959 and moved to Hawaii, then Texas, and finally settled in California. She became a Buddhist in 2004.

After George died in 2014, she retired from her law practice in Walnut Creek, California. During the next six years, she split her time between living in Ashland, Ore. and California, becoming a permanent resident of Oregon in 2020.

Mrs. Ponomareff is survived by her children Eleanor, Lisa and Greg, and four grandchildren.

Guyla Woodward Ponomareff L’56
Ms. Ponomareff was a passionate attorney who worked tirelessly for women’s rights during a career spanning more than five decades. She was an early member of the National Women’s Political Caucus and active in local, state, and national politics.

Charles “Peter” Mather III L’59, a fourth-generation insurance executive, sportsman, and cultural leader in Philadelphia, died Sept. 21. He was 86.

Mr. Mather was born in Philadelphia and could trace his ancestry to an indentured servant who arrived in America aboard the Mayflower, and his great-great-grandfather was a Quaker abolitionist and a founder of the Republican Party. In addition to law school, he graduated from St. Paul’s School and what is now Harvard University.

Mr. Mather spent the majority of his career as President of his family’s insurance brokerage company, Mather & Co. His work frequently took him to London, and in 1983, the British foreign service made him honorary British Consul in Philadelphia. He held that post until 1998.

Mr. Mather was an avid fan of horse racing and was involved in United Kingdom racing. He attended some of those races with Queen Elizabeth, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, whom he met through friends.

He was a founding member of the Christiana Bank & Trust and a board member of the Central Penn National Bank. He was also Chair of the board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and also the longest-serving — from 1985 to 2013 — President of the Association for Public Art.

During his tenure, he featured the work of several contemporary artists throughout the City of Philadelphia, including Jody Pinto’s Finger-span along the Wissahickon Creek, Martin Puryear’s Pavilion in the Trees at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, and Mark di Suvero’s Iroquois on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. His daughter, Dorothy Mather, said he instilled in his children an appreciation for art and often took his children to museums and galleries.

His family also remembered him for his sense of judgment and diplomacy. Mr. Mather loved, in addition to watching and betting on horse races, placing wagers on football and golf. He summered in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and was a Vice President of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame there.

Mr. Mather is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary; children Dorothy and Charles Mather IV WG’86; four grandchildren; and a brother and sister.

Rodney Henry L’60, a longtime attorney in Quakertown, Pa., died March 1. He was 85.

Mr. Henry was born in Quakertown and attended Quakertown High School in 1953. After graduating from Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School School, he served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1964. During his time as a Judge Advocate, he was separated from active service with the rank of captain. Mr. Henry met his wife, Janenne, at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base, Stephenville, Newfoundland, when she was a teacher at an Air Force dependents school.

He practiced law in Quakertown from 1964 to 2021. For the last 20 years, he was a Partner with his son, Carter.

For 24 years, Mr. Henry was the Treasurer of Richland Library Company. He loved to sing and read, and he read German literature with Dr. Viehmeyer at Schwenkfelder Library for many years. Recently, Mr. Henry had renewed college friendships via the Internet and in person with nine fellow Wesleyan graduates.

Mr. Henry was preceded in death by his sisters, Barbara and Patricia. He is survived by his wife, Janenne; children Melinda and Carter; and grandchildren Grace and Patrick.

Melvin Shapiro L’60, a longtime Rochester, N.Y., lawyer, died Dec. 6. He was 87.

Mr. Shapiro served in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from Hobart College. After graduating from the Law School in 1960, he practiced law in Rochester for more than 40 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Helene. Mr. Shapiro is survived by daughters Melissa and Abbe; grandchildren Erin, Ryan, and Cophen; and best friend Martha.

The Hon. Jack Mandel L’61, an Orange County (Ca) Superior Court Judge and champion for youth education, died Dec. 24. He was 84.

Judge Mandel was born in Erie, Pa., and graduated from Allegheny College in 1958. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1961, he served as Captain in the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General stationed in the Philippines and Arizona. He received a master’s degree from the University of Arizona during his service, and later in life received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Morningside College.

In 1967, Judge Mandel opened a law office in Anaheim, Ca., where he specialized in family law. In 1974, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association recognized him as Trial Lawyer of the Year. The Governor of California appointed him as an Orange County Superior Court Judge in 1981, where he served until retiring in 2000. The Orange County Superior Court recognized him as Judge Emeritus in 2001.

Judge Mandel guided his life by the Jewish philosophy of Tikkun Olam, which posits that society is inherently broken in places and that it is our responsibility to help repair the brokenness. It was in the spirit of Tikkun Olam that he began a youth mentoring and education program in 1989 with his wife, Judy, called Stay-in-School. The program, which adopted every eighth-grade classroom in the Santa Ana School District, was aimed at reducing a 50 percent dropout rate between eighth and ninth grades. The Mandels recruited more than 200 volunteers from the community who visited their adopted classroom in teams of two at least six times a year and mentored students in continuing their education.

In 1992, Judge Mandel learned that school libraries were closing after school because of budget cuts, and he successfully asked the school district to keep them open. After court cases ended at 4:30 p.m., he generally worked with students until 6:30 p.m., teaching them vocabulary, grammar, history and current events, and driving many home. He also took students to museums, plays, musical performances and sporting events. The program continued for several years.

As a Trustee of Allegheny College from 1977 on, he began a pipeline of about 50 students, known as the “Judge’s Kids,” who enrolled and graduated. He and his wife helped them prepare for college by buying them clothes, dorm supplies, books and offered financial help. The students were expected to call him weekly, and he also made college visits to see them. Among many other awards, he was recognized as the L.A. Times Volunteer of the Year in 1998.

Upon retiring, he eventually partnered with Dr. Henry Nicholas III in 2008 to open the first Nicholas Academic Center, of which there are now three Santa Ana locations. The centers offer mentoring, social services and help with college applications and visits. The academic centers have helped almost 1,500 students graduate from high school and, subsequently, college. Judge Mandel remained involved until his death as board Chairman and as a mentor.

He is survived by his wife, Judy; sons David, Josh and Jeremy; grandchildren Jacob, Gideon, Nolan, Hayden, Mina, Monte, Max and Anabelle; his sister Nancy; and extended family Hugo and Rosa.

Gersham Goldstein L’62, a prominent Portland, Ore., tax lawyer, died Aug. 6. He was 81.

Mr. Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from City College of New York, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and New York University School of Tax Law.

In 1963, he clerked for the Hon. Peter M. Gunnar while he was the First Judge for the Oregon Tax Court. He returned to NYU, and then spent 11 years as a Professor in the College of Law at the University of Cincinnati.

In 1977, Mr. Goldstein and his family moved to Portland, Ore., where he became a Partner with the law firm Davies Biggs, which later became Stoel Rives. He was a member of the Oregon State Bar for more than 50 years.

Mr. Goldstein was also an active member of the Jewish community. He served as President of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland from 2009 to 2011. He was active with Chabad in Portland for many years, served on the boards of the Robison Jewish Home, Congregation Neveh Shalom, Greater Portland Hillel, and was also a Life Trustee of Lewis & Clark College.

Mr. Goldstein was preceded in death by his son, Marcus, who died in 2015. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pauline; daughter Deborah and daughter-in-law Jennifer; and grandchildren Krystal, Logan, Jakob and Noah.

Herbert “Herb” Riband, Jr. L’63, a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer, died Jan. 9. He was 84.

Mr. Riband was born in Philadelphia and attended LaSalle College High School. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame and the Law School, he spent most of his professional career as a trusts and estates attorney at what is now Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP in Philadelphia. He served on the Executive Committee at the firm and eventually retired as a Senior Partner.

Mr. Riband played a leadership role in counseling and supporting many nonprofit educational, artistic and healthcare organizations, including Carson Valley School, which he helped desegregate in 1967; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA); and the Penn Health Systems Institute for Diabetes. As Vice Chairman of the Board at PAFA, Mr. Riband was credited for his work as a lead negotiator for the team that successfully kept in Philadelphia Thomas Eakins’ iconic painting The Gross Clinic, now shared by PAFA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He and his wife, Leah, also supported the Morris Arboretum, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts.

He was an accomplished woodworker who forged a friendship with the renowned artist George Nakashima and drew inspiration from his craft. His varied experiences included serving as President of the Notre Dame Marching Band, a U.S. Army Reserve officer, Cantor and Choir Director at St. Genevieve Church in Flourtown, and an active member of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Fort Washington. He took great pleasure in gatherings with family and friends, travels around the world, scuba diving and cooking (primarily Italian cuisine).

Mr. Riband was preceded in death by his sister Mary Joan and daughter Rosemarie. He is survived by Leah, his wife of 61 years; sons Herb and Anthony; grandchildren Daniel and Michelle; and many nephews and nieces.

Herbert “Herb” Riband, Jr. L’63
Mr. Riband played a leadership role in counseling and supporting many nonprofit educational, artistic and healthcare organizations, including Carson Valley School, which he helped desegregate in 1967.

G. William (Bill) Bissell L’64 died Nov. 4 at the age of 82.

Mr. Bissell attended Linden School, Shady Side Academy, and graduated in 1956 from St. Paul’s School, in 1960 from Williams College, and in 1964 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mr. Bissell enjoyed storytelling, particularly about his mentors and colleagues in Pittsburgh at what is now K&L Gates, where he specialized in estate law. He was devoted to his late wife of 31 years, Kay, and her children and seven grandchildren. In the 1980s, he served as Treasurer of Calvary Episcopal Church. In 1986, Mr. Bissell was the inaugural recipient of the Henry Award for his outstanding service to the National Hemophilia Foundation.

He was a deeply-rooted resident of the Point Breeze neighborhood in Pittsburgh and loved taking walks there in his yellow windbreaker.

In addition to his wife Kay, Mr. Bissell was preceded in death by his brother John. He is survived by Kay’s children, John, George and Louise, and their families.

Earl Britt L’64 died Nov. 9 at the age of 80.

Before earning his law degree, Mr. Britt was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep and St. Joseph’s College. After splitting off from Duane Morris, he and two other lawyers co-founded Britt Hankins & Moughan in 1992.

Mr. Britt was remembered by family as a beloved husband and devoted father. He is survived by his wife, Maureen; children Denise, Karen, Eileen, Mary, Kevin and Stephen; and nine grandchildren.

John Murray L’64, a longtime corporate lawyer, died Feb. 5. He was 81.

Mr. Murray was born in South Amboy, N.J. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he was elected to the Law Review and received the Order of the Coif. Later, he earned a doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University.

After practicing corporate law at Shearman & Sterling in New York City, he joined McGuire Woods in Richmond.

Mr. Murray was preceded in death by his parents and brothers James and Francis. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Janet; daughters Janet and Melissa; and grandsons Carter and Spencer.

Joel Sachs L’66, a pioneering environmental lawyer, died Jan. 24. He was 78.

He was born in New York City and attended A. B. Davis High School. After graduating from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he earned an LLM from New York University School of Law. After serving as a clerk to the Hon. Charles H. Tenney of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, he began his legal career as an New York State Assistant Attorney General.

Mr. Sachs was an early, and earnest, practitioner in the then-emerging field of environmental law. He was appointed First Deputy Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office upon its formation. He continued to influence the development of environmental review and regulatory practices in New York State as a municipal attorney (as Town Attorney of the towns of Greenburgh and Bedford) and while in private practice.

Mr. Sachs joined Keane & Beane P.C. in White Plains, N.Y., in 1993, where he remained until his passing. He established the firm’s environmental practice and ably served its municipal and land use clients during his long tenure there. He enjoyed imparting his rich knowledge of environmental, municipal, real property and construction law as an Adjunct Professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law of Pace University for more than 40 years, and as a frequent lecturer at programs sponsored by bar and professional organizations. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Mr. Sachs received numerous awards and honors for his pioneering work in environmental law.

Mr. Sachs served in several leadership capacities with the New York State Bar Association, including as Chair of the Real Property Section and Chair of the Environmental Section. He also served as President of the White Plains Bar Association. His wisdom and wit endeared him to colleagues and adversaries alike.

Mr. Sachs is survived by his wife of 47 years, Roslyn Sachs CW’65, and daughters Beth and Lori, who are also attorneys; and grandchildren David, Sarah, Talia, Maxwell and Lily.

James Neeley L’69, a lawyer who helped post-Communist countries develop business law, died Nov. 10.

Mr. Neeley was an Oregonian, Merit Scholar and graduate of Harvard College. He served as Naval officer before attending the University of Pennsylvania Law School. During his time as a law student, he received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study in the Hague Court of Law.

Mr. Neeley practiced law privately for three decades, and then spent several years working for the United States Agency for International Development. At USAID, he helped Ukraine and Kazakhstan develop a system of post-Communist era business law.

Mr. Neeley loved traveling with his wife, Marcia Neeley G’78, and the pair explored world cultures from ancient Silk Routes to the Darwin Straits. He was also a voracious reader of ancient and contemporary history and loved to play bridge. He and Marcia, an amateur cellist, attended hundreds of orchestra and chamber music concerts in many countries over the years.

Mr. Neeley is survived by his wife, Marcia, of 58 years; children Alexander and Kyra; and grandchildren Charlotte and Madeline.

Walter “Terry” Batty, Jr. L’70, a longtime prosecutor turned criminal law attorney died Dec. 22. He was 75.

Mr. Batty was born in Ithaca, N.Y., and his family moved to Ardmore, Pa., when he was eight. He graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1963. During his high school years, he met his future wife Nancy at summer camp in Maine. Mr. Batty graduated from Yale University in 1967 and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1970.

He clerked for the Hon. Alexander Barbieri on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth and Supreme Courts, and in 1971, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia as a federal prosecutor. Three years later, he was named the Office’s first Chief of Appeals. Mr. Batty loved his job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, which he continued until 2001. As Chief of Appeals for 27 years, he edited more than 3,500 briefs and prepared for and attended more than 500 oral arguments. He set a standard within the office for no misrepresentation of fact or cases. During his tenure, the U. S. Attorney’s office won over 98 percent of its appeals.

Along with his appellate work, he undertook more than 100 of his own trial cases both in District Court and the Court of Appeals. His cases focused on art and automobile theft, arson, as well as tax and investor fraud. Recently documented in a book titled Stealing Wyeth by Bruce E. Mowday, his most interesting case resulted in the recovery of fifteen paintings stolen from Andrew Wyeth’s compound in Chadds Ford, Pa. Over a seven-year period, he successfully prosecuted 26 defendants and obtained 19 convictions on related burglaries in Chester County. In another high-profile case, he successfully prosecuted a defendant who was enticing 39 investors in a pirate radio ship that broadcasted to the UK from international waters in competition with the BBC.

In January 2004, when he retired for health reasons, the Library in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia was named in his honor.

In the years following his retirement, Mr. Batty enjoyed his new vocation as a criminal defense attorney, finding his pursuit of justice and fairness just as important to him as a defender as it had been as a prosecutor. Though facing challenges to his health and confined to his home for many years, he inspired many for his courageous spirit and his ability to maintain a full and engaged life with an active law career.

As a defense attorney in the U.S. District Court, he wrote briefs for 16 criminal cases. In 2009, he argued in front of a judge via telephone from his home.

He also worked closely with the late Tom Mellon, Jr. and Timothy Fleming to shape the arguments and edit the written briefs for the Havlish v. Iran case in the Southern District of New York. This case proved Iran’s direct involvement in the 9/11 attacks and ultimately led to more than $100 billion in judgments for thousands of 9/11 victims. He continued to collaborate with Fleming on the cases until the time of his passing.

Throughout his career, he was motivated by passion for justice, fairness and equality. He also mentored scores of younger lawyers and college students. In his free time, Mr. Batty donated his expertise to solve legal or personal problems of friends and helpers. He was extremely well-informed and conversant on current events. He had a fascination with cars, loved classical music and Philly sports teams, and generously shared books with family and friends of all ages. Mr. Batty was also remembered for his kindness, keen intelligence, and integrity by a wide circle of friends and colleagues.

He is survived by his wife Nancy; sister Sudie; niece and nephew Eleanor and Robert; and several relatives.

Walter “Terry” Batty, Jr. L’70

Recently documented in a book titled Stealing Wyeth by Bruce E. Mowday, his most interesting case resulted in the recovery of fifteen paintings stolen from Andrew Wyeth’s compound in Chadds Ford, Pa.

E. Ralph Walker L’72, a longtime Iowa trial attorney, died Nov. 4. He was 77.

Mr. Walker was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from Indianola High School, where he met his future wife of 55 years, Linda. The two married in 1965 and moved to Boston while Mr. Walker attended Harvard University for his undergraduate degree.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1972, the Walkers returned to Iowa, where they raised three sons. Mr. Walker established a distinguished legal career and became one of the top trial attorneys in the state. In 2001, they relocated to Reno, Nev., to be closer to sons who had moved west.

Mr. Walker was remembered for his zeal not only for his legal work but also his hobbies. His lifelong love for Lionel trains led to a large collection as an adult. He also loved traditional jazz music and attended several festivals across the country. Mr. Walker was an accomplished long-distance runner and cyclist, having completed many long-distance rides, including the infamous Death Ride, at age 68.

Mr. Walker never complained or lost his sense of humor during the past few years of ill health, his family said, and he was also remembered for his high standards, work ethic, quick wit and love of family.

Mr. Walker was preceded in death by sisters Joan and Jeanne. He is survived by his wife Linda; sons Jens, Damon and Trevor; five grandchildren; and his brother Brian.

Sonia Fishkin L’79, an Atlanta lawyer and real estate agent, died March  23. She was 66.

Ms. Fishkin was born, raised and attended college in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from the Law School in 1979, and a favorite early job involved the regulation and enforcement of securities law at the New York Stock Exchange. In 1986, she moved south to join her husband, Andrew Zangwill, who had begun working at Georgia Tech.

As an Atlanta lawyer, she was proud of her work as the General Counsel of Ciba Vision Corporation, a division of Ciba-Geigy. In 2010, she combined her legal prowess with her people skills and launched what became a successful and satisfying second career as a residential real estate agent.

Throughout her life, Ms. Fishkin was very involved in a variety of advocacy, professional, and community organizations. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, she took a strong interest in Holocaust history and educational programming. In Atlanta, that interest focused first on the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and then on the Breman Museum, particularly its Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education.

Her activities at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue included singing in the choir, teaching Torah Study, participating in chavurot, and chanting the haftorah at High Holiday services.

Ms. Fishkin was remembered for her strong will, deep intelligence, insistent curiosity, infectious enthusiasm, enormous smile, and resounding laugh. A fundamentally joyful human being, she was never happier than when she was dancing at a simcha or singing in one of the many choirs and choral groups she graced over the years.

She is survived by her husband, Andrew; daughter Hannah; grandson Ezra; brother David; and several relatives.

John Roth L’83, WG’83, an established immigration attorney, died Dec. 7. He was 65.

Mr. Roth was born in New York City and graduated from Nanuet Senior High School in 1973. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Drew University. In 1983, he graduated with a law degree and Master’s in Business Administration from Penn Law and the Wharton School of Finance.

Mr. Roth was the Managing Attorney for the Roth Immigration Law Firm in New York City. He was a licensed EB-5 Visa Financial Advisor and a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2010, he passed the rigorous Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 7 and Series 63 exams to become a FINRA licensed registered representative with Dalmore Group, LLC. Mr. Roth founded EB-5 Analytics in 2010 to research EB-5 projects for investors. He oversaw the entire due diligence process for the firm and led a team of independent analysts to evaluate the financial strength of projects. Mr. Roth was a frequent speaker on international panels on immigration and investments.

He was an avid reader and had a strong interest in current events, especially politics and pop culture. Mr. Roth was an early pioneer of technology, getting his first computer, a Radio Shack TRS-80, in 1980. He was a lifelong lover of Scrabble and a car enthusiast. Mr. Roth resided in Portsmouth, N.H.

He was remembered as a devoted family man who had a persevering spirit when faced with medical obstacles.

Mr. Roth was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Alice. He is survived by his son, Peter; brothers James, Thomas and Matthew; and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Ronald Turner L’84, the first African American full professor in the history of the University of Houston Law Center, has passed away. He was 66.

Turner joined the Law Center faculty in 1998 and was the A.A. White Professor of Law. Before joining the Law Center, he served as a labor-management relations examiner with the National Labor Relations Board, practiced law in Chicago, and taught at the University of Alabama School of Law.

He was a noted scholar who published in top 30 law reviews and was the author of several casebooks. Turner specialized in labor law, employment law, constitutional law, and taught employment discrimination, labor law, torts, constitutional law, and a course on HIV/AIDS and the law.

A former research associate at the Industrial Research Unit at the Wharton School, Turner also served as a contributing editor for the AIDS & Public Policy Journal. His numerous publications included books and articles on labor and employment law issues, AIDS, and hate speech. He was also a Visiting Professor of Law at the College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law and a Visiting Professor of History at Rice University.

“The loss of Ron Turner is a crippling body blow to all who knew, loved, and respected him for his towering employment law and critical race theory scholarship,” said Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center Emeritus Professor and William B. Bates Distinguished Chair.

Turner is survived by daughter Kathryn Kendall; son Ronald Turner Jr.; and grandchildren Ryan, Kaitlyn, Victoria, and Harper.