Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Memorial Resolution for Frank Ginsburg



WHEREAS, Frank I. Ginsburg, our distinguished colleague, died on June 27, 2000; and

WHEREAS, it is the tradition of the Delaware County Bar Association to convene a meeting to memorialize the life and recognize the passing of our fellow members, we meet today to honor Frank, the meaning of his life and his contribution to his community, our profession and to us as fellow members of the Bar.

Born in Chester, Frank spent most of his early life in Marcus Hook where the family had a food market. His summers were spent working at the American Viscose and Sun Oil Companies. Following graduation from Chester High School he attended and graduated from Penn State University where he showed an interest in sports and was active on the boxing team. He attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and ultimately graduated from Temple University School of Law. He retained his interest in Penn State and sports until his death. In fact, Frank served on the Board of Trustees of the Delaware County facility of Penn State University shortly before his death.

While attending law school he worked as a volunteer for the public defender's office in Philadelphia and was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. In that employment he met and became a friend of E. Wallace Chadwick. With Chadwick's help he was admitted to the Bar in 1937 joining the firm of Chadwick, Taylor and Weeks. This was during a regrettable time in our Bar and Court history when admission was subject to a quota basis and, with Chadwick's help, Frank helped remove that blight from our profession once and for all time. Frank's struggle and ultimate victory against prejudice entitles him to a special place in the history of the Delaware County Bar.

Frank's law practice was interrupted in August 1943, when he was inducted into the U.S. Army. Although he could have requested deferment at age 36, he did not, believing it was his patriotic duty to serve his country. After training in the United States he was sent to England in April 1944. While there, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft battery attached to the 9th Army. He served with that unit until the war in Europe ended in May 1945. He was discharged from the service on October 31, 1945 and returned to the law firm headed by E. Wallace Chadwick, later to become Chadwick, Petrikin, Ginsburg & Wellman. That firm merged with two other large firms to become eventually Fronefield & deFuria, from which he retired in March of 1998.

As a lawyer Frank was always thorough and organized. He was well known and revered in Marcus Hook and represented many of the residents of southern Delaware County. He represented the Yellow Cab Company of Chester and was local counsel for the Baldwin Locomotive Works, specializing in the defense of worker compensation claims. Frank was Solicitor for many municipalities including the City of Chester, Township of Lower Chichester and the Borough of Rose Valley and was highly respected by his peers and the members of the Court. He was especially friendly with the Honorable John V. Diggins, former Judge and President Judge of the Court. They often lunched together and this friendship and their mutual respect for law and justice and this Bar Association assisted Frank in establishing the E. Wallace Chadwick Memorial Fund Committee. The Fund is memorialized in a written Agreement dated February 15, 1973 between the Delaware County Bar Association and the Chadwick Estate Trustees.

The Fund is established to foster and support the improvement of the administration of justice in Delaware County for the benefit of the citizenry thereof; and to that end grants may be made to foster and support teaching and study in the fields of law and government, and to any project perpetuating the history and tradition of the Bench and Bar of Delaware County. Over the years grants have been made in support of the Bench Bar Conference, to fund repairs and renovations to the Bar Building, and for the purchase of communication equipment to assist the Bar Association as a sponsor of continuing legal education seminars.

Although a quiet man, almost unassuming, Frank was a natural leader. He was a member of Ohev Shalom Synagogue, serving at one time as its President; he was also a member of the Jewish War Veterans of Chester of which he served as Commander. He was active in the Delaware County Bar Association serving on several posts and committees and ultimately becoming President in 1988. He was also active in the Pennsylvania Bar Association and enjoyed attending the Pennsylvania Bar Association conventions at various sites in Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Florida, Pittsburgh and Hershey, among others.

In 1954, Frank and two other Delaware County lawyers, Guy G. deFuria and John W. Wellman, were selected by E. Wallace Chadwick, a former Congressman and Delaware County Judge, to be the legal staff of the Select Committee of the United States Senate which was charged with investigating the censure charges against Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Frank and the legal staff labored for ten long weeks to assist the Committee in conducting the hearing and producing the report which resulted in the censure of Senator McCarthy by the Senate and his ultimate fall from grace.

Frank was a gentleman of the first order, never raised his voice and had the kindest of demeanors, but on the handball court he was highly competitive. Frank loved sports, especially handball. When the Bar Building was constructed in 1965, Frank was instrumental in the building including a handball court. If you think of handball in Delaware County you remember Frank Ginsburg, a most accomplished player. While being competitive on the court he was still a gentleman, and offered an apology if he pushed or bumped an opponent too aggressively. All the while he made sure he accomplished the winning point.

Frank was a passionate family man. He was a loving husband to his wife, Jean and an adoring father to his son, Robert and daughter, Bonnie. As his family grew he was delighted to assume the role of doting grandfather and great-grandfather.

Frank's surest legacy as a man and as a lawyer endures because so many of us were fortunate to have had our lives touched and enriched by the force and vitality of his intellect, character and personality. He was a gentle, patient, compassionate man; an excellent listener; a man of great integrity, honesty and dependability. He was fortunate to have lived a long, good and full life, and to leave happy memories in others. May God grant him divine peace and love and may we long remember Frank I. Ginsburg, Esquire.

MAY IT THEREFORE BE RESOLVED by the membership of the Delaware County Bar Association that a copy of this Resolution be lodged in the records of the Association in commemoration of the life and death of a most respected, learned member and further to extend to his wife and family the sympathy of this Association; and

MAY IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution and the Minutes of this meeting be forwarded to his wife and family.

Respectfully submitted,

  • The Honorable Joseph T. Labrum
  • The Honorable Edward S. Lawhorne
  • The Honorable Melvin G. Levy
  • Robert E. J. Curran, Esq.
  • Joseph A. Damico, Jr., Esq.
  • Donald W. Lehrkinder, Sr., Esq.
  • Guy A. Messick, Esq.
  • Edward R. Paul, Esq.
  • David M. Smilk, Esq.
  • Robert N. Speare, Esq.
  • Allen H. Tollen, Esq.
  • John W. Wellman, Esq.