Judge W. Walter Braham

Former Lawrence County President Judge W. Walter Braham, 85, of 126 Hazelcroft Ave., died at 6:15 a.m. today in Jameson Memorial hospital after a extended illness. He was widely recognized as a spell-binding speaker, a brillant attorney and one of the most qualified judges to have served the county. Attorney Chris J. Mitos who was a law partner of the former judge had lived a good life. In his day, he was the best lawyer in Pennsylvania. "Although he's no longer with us, we can take great comfort in knowing that Judge Braham finished his work during his lifetime. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention", Mitos said. He added "He added as able a lawyer as ever admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, a distinguished judge, a promient leader of the bar and and a great humanitarian." Mitos added that as a lawyer, Braham's practice in civil and criminal cases was nationwide. He would frequently defend in criminal cases outside Pennsylvania and would serve as special counsel to attorneys from outside the state. Attorney Morjorie Young remembers Judge braham for his abilities as a speaker. "He had a brillant mind and was a fine speaker. He could make the law come alive for the ordinary person", she said The judge, a student of religion, history, goverment and politics, was concerned and involed with his cummunity and all individuals whose problems were presented to him, she said. She added that he always listened to lawyers, witnesses and gave them his full attention. "We'll miss him and remember the contributions he made during his career", she said. Attorney Thomas V. Mansell remembers some good arguments he had made through out his career with Judge Braham but said there is no question that the judge was an outstanding trial lawyer and a distinguished judge. "He was my lawyer before I became a lawyer", Mansell said. "My first association with Judge Braham goes back to 1927. The cook at Alpa Sigma Phi, the fraternity where I belonged at Westminster College, was suing us. I hired Judge brahm; a Westminister alumni, to defend us. He got us a good settlement. It never went to court" he recalled. As a lawyer Judge Braham might have been a little ahead of his time, Mansell suggested. "some people resented his tactics; but now everyone does what he did. he was fearless in introding testimony and witnesses. And if the court didn't agree with him, he was prepared to take an appeal to a higher court," he said. An honor graduate of George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C., Judge Braham Could have settled anywhere and been sucessful, Mansell said. He chose to return to Lawrence County where he served on the bench for 20 years, most of the time as president judge. "He was a good judge. He may not have liked your argument, but when you got down to the nitty-gitty of the matter he would listen to what you had to say and would come up with what he thought was the best answer. I respected him as a judge and believe I got along with him as well as anyone, although we did have some good arguments," he said. Bart Richards, editor emeritus of The News and county historian said this morning he knew Judge Braham since Braham was admitted to the Lawrence County bar in 1922. He also recalled that the judge set up a law practice with the late attorney Robert K. Aiken from 1922 until 1935 when he was first elected judge. He served for two terms as judge. Richards said he believes that Judge Braham was a brillant lawyer and always felt he was the most qualified man to serve as judge in Lawrence County. Attorney Perry L. Reeher, president of Lawrence County bar Association said he knew Judge Braham since he entered the practice of law 30 years ago. "Judge Braham had superior intellect and ability and possessed a great love of the law", Reeher said "He made valuable contribitions to the law and our proffession. His passing left a very empty void to be filled," he said. Judge Braham was born in youngstown on Oct 27 1893 to the late Robert R. and Olive Wilkin Braham. He began practicing in new Castle in the early 1920's and became judge of Lawrence county in 1936 and president judge in 1938. He began practice of law with Robert K. Aiken and later formed a partnership of Braham, Cobau and Berry. He was graduated from Westmininster College in 1915 and received his law degree from the University of Pittsburg Law School in 1922. He previously taught in the high school in Parnassus,Pa., New Willington and

Source: New Castle News - July 13, 1979, page 1

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