Bernard G. Segal: Living Greatly Within the Law

Bernard G. Segal, an alumnus and trustee of the University who was one of America's most respected and renowned lawyers, died on June 1 at his home in Philadelphia, following a long illness. He was 89.

A life trustee from 1954-77, Mr. Segal served for many years on the trustees executive board, and was a vital force in the University's handling of issues where institutional policy and public good converged. He led in the creation of the Trustees Committee on Corporate Responsibility (now the Trustees Committee on University Responsibility), serving as its first chair and publishing its first draft guidelines for comment by the University community (Almanac May 16, 1972). As an emeritus trustee he remained active in trustee deliberations until illness intervened.

In 1978, the year his wife took her Ph.D. in social work here, he established the Geraldine Rosenbaum Segal Professorship in American Social Thought in her honor. A few years later, in 1987, he also endowed the Bernard G. Segal Professorship of Law, which is attached to deanship of the Law School.

Born in New York City and raised in Allentown and Philadelphia, Mr. Segal took his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School in 1928 and taught political science there while earning his law degree from Penn in 1931. For the next four years he taught law and finance at Wharton and the Law School--and was also deputy attorney general of the Commonwealth, a position that would lead to the founding of the prestigious law firm, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, that he chaired for many years. As colleagues there recall:

In 1932, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, William A. Schnader, asked the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School to recommend "a young lawyer who can write English," noting that "if he knew a little law, that would do no harm." The Dean recommended Bernard Segal. From 1932 through 1934, he served under Schnader, and at the age of 24, became the youngest Deputy Attorney General in Penn-sylvania's history. In that post, he drafted important legislation, including the Pennsylvania Banking Code. When Mr. Schnader opened his firm in Philadelphia in 1935, Mr. Segal was its only associate and quickly became a partner (the firm was to grow under his leadership to nearly 150 lawyers by 1986).

In a career marked by his consummate preparation and an unremitting drive for perfection, Mr. Segal became known as a superior lawyer, among the best in his profession. Appellate advocacy was his forte and he was involved in nearly fifty cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

When he was President of the American Bar Association, Mr. Segal once recalled the observation of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that "one can live greatly in the law." He followed that admonition. His vigorous advocacy for civil rights, judicial merit selection, fair compensation for judges, pro bono service by lawyers and improvement of the administration of justice, won national and international acclaim. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter once called Segal "the lodestar of our profession." Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. observed, "Bernie has touched our profession with greatness," and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said, "Bernie represents the highest and best ideals of the legal profession."

Mr. Segal was known as the nation's foremost advocate of merit selection of judges. In the mid 1950s he persuaded then Attorney General Herbert Brownell and President Eisenhower to submit to the American Bar Association Committee on the Federal Judiciary the names of all prospective federal judicial nominees, including the Supreme Court, for a report and recommendation on their qualifications. That practice has continued ever since, with Presidents very rarely appointing a Federal Judge found "Not Qualified" by the ABA Committee. Mr. Segal chaired that Committee for six years and continued his key role in judicial selection long after he relinquished his chairmanship.

Deeply committed to civil rights, in the spring of 1963, as the civil rights revolution was heating up, Mr. Segal called Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and asked why the President was not marshalling lawyers to help the civil rights movement. Following up on Mr. Segal's suggestion, President Kennedy convened a meeting of 244 prominent lawyers suggested by Segal and established the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, with Mr. Segal as co-chairman. The Committee sent lawyers to defend civil rights workers in southern states and played a critical role in advancing civil rights, not only in the south, but in many northern cities as well. Mr. Segal's wife, Dr. Geraldine Segal, a civil rights scholar in her own right, worked closely with Mr. Segal in their civil rights activities.

Mr. Segal also played a seminal role in furthering legal services for the poor, chairing the Advisory Committee on the National Legal Services Program under President Johnson's OEO program and enlisting lawyers throughout the nation to provide legal services to the indigent.

In the course of his career, he carried out special assignments for four Presidents, Eisen-hower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

He served as President of the American Bar Association in 1969-70. The late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said of his service in that role, "To his remarkable contributions to the improvement of the well-being of the bench, he has added new and imaginative projects of the highest significance for the improvement of our system of Justice at both State and Federal levels." Jerome J. Shestack, now president-elect of the ABA, whom Segal mentored, noted that "Bernie Segal became the conscience of the bar and served individual rights and the rule of law more than any other lawyer in our time."

In 1952, Mr. Segal became the first Jewish lawyer to be elected Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the oldest Bar Association in the United States. He also became the first Jewish lawyer to be elected President of the American Bar Association. In 1976, he received the ABA's prestigious Gold Medal. Mr. Segal also served as president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, President of the American Bar Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the American Judicature Society.

In addition to serving as a Penn trustee, Mr. Segal was a life trustee of the Jewish Publication Society, a former President of Allied Jewish Appeal and a life trustee of Hebrew University, where the law library is named for him.

He received honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Villanova University, Franklin and Marshall College, The Dropsie University, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Vermont Law School, Georgetown University, Suffolk University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

He received many other awards and honors from institutions and organizations throughout the world, among them the World Peace Through Law Award as the "World's Greatest Lawyer"; the National Civil Rights Award by the Attorney General of the United States; first Lifetime Achievement Award of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the National Human Relations Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews; and the Judge William H. Hastie Award of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

In 1981, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review devoted a unique issue to Mr. Segal, with tributes from Supreme Court Justices William J. Brennan, Jr. and Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Judges Arlin M. Adams and Louis H. Pollak and other legal luminaries. In that Review, former Judge A. Leon Higginbotham said "When the high court of history writes its judgment in praise of Bernard G. Segal, it will place an even higher value on his indefatigable efforts to expand and improve legal services for the poor, the powerless, and the dispossessed. I will note his mighty role in pushing the organized bar and many individual lawyers to accept the eradication of barriers of racial discrimination and religious bigotry as part of their mission. It will stress his efforts to maintain and improve the independence and excellence of the judiciary."

Mr. Segal is survived by his wife, Geraldine, two children, Loretta Joan Cohen and Richard Murry Segal, three grandchildren, one great grandchild, a sister, Florence S. Lowe of Washington, D.C. and a brother, Irving R. Segal of Philadelphia, a partner in the same law firm for many years.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the University of Pennsylvania, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

Dr. Wood of Pediatrics

Dr. David W. Wood, an alumnus who was on the pediatrics faculty of the School of Medicine for some 37 years, died of cancer on June 4 at the age of 77.

Dr. Wood's undergraduate studies at Penn were interrupted by service in the Army during World War II. From cavalry sergeant in 1941 he rose to captain of the Corp of Engineers, serving in five European Theatre campaigns in 1942-45, and winning a Presidential Unit Citation, a Unit Croix de Guerre, and a Silver Star. After the war, he enrolled in PennMed, earning his M.D. in 1950. After an internship at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore he returned to Philadelphia for a residency at Children's Hospital.

Beginning as an instructor in pediatrics at the Medical School in 1953, Dr. Wood became assistant clinical professor in 1960 and was associate clinical professor from 1977 until his retirement in 1990. He also held positions in pediatrics and pediatric allergy at Lankenau, Bryn Mawr and Riddle Memorial Hospitals and the Children's Seashore House.

Dr. Wood is survived by his second wife, Elizabeth McGee Wood; sons David Jr. and Henry; two grand children; and two sisters. He was predeceased by his first wife, Josephine.

The family asked donations in Dr. Wood's name to the Special Projects in Hematology, Lankenau Hospital, 100 Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood, PA 19096.

Dr. MacNeal of Medicine

Dr. Perry Scott MacNeal, an associate professor of clinical medicine at PennMed for 27 years, died on June 8 at the age of 83.

Taking his undergraduate degree from Michigan in 1933 and his medical degree there in 1936, Dr. MacNeal interned at Pennsylvania Hospital, 1935 -38, and was on the hospital staff there from 1940 until he retired. He served as president of the hospital staff, 1962-64, and was on the hospital's Benjamin Franklin Clinic staff.

A specialist in headache treatment, Dr. MacNeal was also a faculty member at Jefferson Medical School and physician-in-chief at Burlington from the early 1940s until he joined Penn in 1957. He was a founding member of the American Association for the Study of Headache and served as the group's president, vice president and treasurer and was named distinguished physician by the organization.

Dr. MacNeal is survived by his wife, Virginia Collier MacNeal; a daughter Martha Zweig; a granddaughter and a sister.

Memorial donations may be made to the Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, Madison Ave., Mount Holly, NJ 08060.

Deaths Reported

Almanac has belatedly learned of the deaths of the following three members of the staff.

Mr. McClatchy, Project Engineer

John McClatchy, a project engineer on some of Penn's major new facilities, died in his home on March 19 at the age of 69.

Mr. McClatchy joined Facilities Planning in October 1974 and worked on the design of major projects including the Silverstein Pavilion, Stemmler Labs, Clinical Research Building, Stellar-Chance Labs, the Mudd Building, and several smaller projects. He retired in May 1996, but continued to work part time on two large projects: the Vagelos Labs and the Biomedical Research Building #2.

A registered professional engineer, Mr. McClatchy received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Drexel University. Before joining Penn, he was a senior engineering consultant/cost analyst at a project management consulting firm. He made many friends at Penn through tennis, a colleague recalls. "He will be remembered for his wit and insight, both professionally and in his private life."

Mr. McClatchy is survived by his wife Jane, son John Jr., daughters Eileen Gerhart and Megan McClatchy, and grandson Michael Volpe.

Mr. Carrington and Mr. DeMarco, Transportation and Parking

Steven Carrington, who was with transportation and parking for five years--most recently at the 33rd and Spruce Street site--fell ill and died at his home in October 1996, at the age of 44. Colleagues describe him as "a quiet person who...had an interest in world religions and was very concerned with the plight of his fellow man. He was a valued member of our team and will be missed." No survivors are known.

Dominic DeMarco, a member of parking services for seven years, died on May 9 at the age of 64, at his post at 36th and Walnut Streets, where he was known as one who "always had a smile and a kind word for all who entered. He will be missed."

A member of the 101st Airborne in the Korean War, Mr. DeMarco was wounded in action and was awarded a Purple Heart.

He is survived by his daughters, Denise and Stephanie, and by a grandson.


Volume 43 Number 36
June 17, 1997

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