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We welcome submissions for inclusion in Class Notes. Submit online, mail to UVA Lawyer, University of Virginia School of Law, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; or fax to 434-296-4838. Please send your submissions by September 15 for inclusion in the next issue.


Margaret “Peggy” G. Seiler died on July 6, 2013. Peggy served in the Women’s Army Corps from 1944 to 1945 after graduating magna cum laude from Sweet Briar College. Following her service in the war, she taught English at the University of Georgia. While at the Law School she was the first female staff member of the Virginia Law Review.

Peggy started her law career with Cleary Gottlieb in Washington, D.C., and finished as an associate at McGuire, Woods & Battle in Richmond, Va. In the mid-1960s when Peggy and her family lived in the Philippines, she taught English at the American School in Manila. Later, in New Jersey, she served as legal counsel to the New Jersey Commission on Children and Youth and was an editor at Prentice Hall legal publishers. She was a founder of the Richmond Friends of the Library, a former member of the Richmond Junior League, and a parishioner at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond.


George G. Snarr, Jr. died on January 9, 2013, at the age of 83. Following graduation from the Law School, he served in the counterintelligence branch of the U.S. Army in Japan. After military service, he practiced law in Winchester, Va., for four decades. He began with Massie, Snarr and Monahan and retired from Snarr, McCandlish and Rockwood in 1996. He was a magistrate judge and a substitute judge in Virginia’s 26th Judicial Circuit Court, a Commissioner in Chancery, Circuit Court of Frederick County from 1961-96, and served on the Winchester Board of Zoning Appeals and the Frederick County Planning Commission. He was the club tennis champion at the Winchester Country Club for a number of years.


Mark H. Berliant is listed in Best Lawyers 2014 in tax law. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers for 31 consecutive years. He is of counsel with Strauss Troy in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he focuses his practice in real estate development, federal estate and gift taxation, probate and family planning, and succession.


Janet R. Dugan writes that she plays golf two days a week, duplicate bridge three days a week, and sells real estate two days a week.


by Ted Torrance
Corresponding Secretary
1955 Windward Way
Vero Beach, FL 32963

The following notes reflect contacts your scribe has had with members of our class over the last several months. As a practical matter, I am limited in my contacts to those 44 classmates who have provided the Law School with e-mail addresses, leaving some 32 fellow alumni out in the cold. If you have not done so already, I strongly urge you to provide the School or me with an email address at which you can be reached.

Jim Atkin reports he is still living in Roanoke, the hometown of his wife, Dottie, who passed away several years ago. He is fighting the effects of Old Man Age by workouts in his local gym some five days a week.

Alan Diamonstein describes his eight years of service on the Universityʼs Board of Visitors, which he completed last year, as “a wonderful opportunity and a marvelous experience.”

Bill Edwards is “still kicking and practicing law” in Corpus Christi. He speaks of a nationwide personal injury practice and of his invitation to address the State Bar of Texas Grievance Symposium this April.

Martin Flanagan, in a most informative note, says his practice in West Palm Beach over the years evolved into one primarily devoted to defending General Motors, Ford, AMC, and a number of tire manufacturers against product liability claims. His work involved considerable travel over the years, but starting in the 1980s he and his wife saw the world for pleasure, via home exchanges in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and other European sites, and even Manhattan, plus a three-month motor home trip to Alaska in the 1990s. Alas, after a while he had had enough of retirement, so he joined his sonʼs law firm in West Palm Beach, where he handles a variety of trial preparation work for other attorneys in the office.

Our perennial nexus to the Law School, Fred Goldstein, keeps active in a variety of University matters, and at the time of this writing he is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Virginia Tax Study Group in Charlottesville in mid-April. A winter resident of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., but summering in Chamberlain, Me., Bill Griesar reports that he has finally given up his license to practice law (as has your scribe), after retiring about 10 years ago. Bill had 25 years of practice in New York City followed by 21 years as general counsel at Rockefeller University.

Larry Grim chimed in with the notation that his secretary of 50 years retired from his firm with considerably more fanfare than was accorded Larry himself. I sense he was somewhat miffed. He was apparently shaken more by a long-ignored stomachache that eventually called for the removal of his gallbladder—a much bigger deal than it needed to be, he says. A lesson for us all.

Nancy and Allan Johnson '58Nancy and Allan Johnson -- exhibit A to Allan’s description of Anguilla, the Johnsonsʼ winter retreat for a good number of years, as being “tranquility wrapped in blue paradise.” Allan: keep those pictures coming, in particular those of Nancy!

Fred Landess reports that, following the death of his wife, Kitty, in 2012, after 58 years of marriage, he has moved into a cottage at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, a life care retirement facility in Charlottesville. Fred keeps busy by attending to his three children and five grandchildren, playing tennis, attending exercise classes regularly, and playing the trumpet in three amateur bands.

A short note sent along by Doug Mackall: He continues to live in McLean, Va., but also has a condominium in Charlottesville, which serves as his base for attending a variety of Virginia sporting events via season tickets. Dougʼs assessment: “Life couldnʼt be better.” Letʼs see—where do I get those tickets?

I had a good telephone chat with Hobart McWhorter. He is still practicing in Birmingham, and indeed will be handling what he describes as his “last jury trial” in April, following which he intends to pursue his favorite sport of fishing along the Gulf coast. Last October Hobart had open-heart surgery, which makes him, along with your scribe, a member of the Zipper Club, so named because of the distinctive scar left on oneʼs sternum from that kind of procedure.

Last October Richmond UVA alumni created the John F. Merchant Book Award, pursuant to which up to 50 high school seniors in the Richmond area will receive copies of Johnʼs autobiography, A Journey Worth Taking, and in March, John was scheduled to be a member of a panel presenting the subject “Memoirs of Civil Rights and Changes” at the 20th annual Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. John says he is seriously considering attending his daughterʼs 20th Law School reunion this May, recalling that he was the principal speaker at her commencement proceedings.

I have been in touch with John Oram by telephone. He and Sonia continue to live at The Landings on Skidaway Island, outside Savannah, but unfortunately back problems have caused him to curtail seriously his golfing on the six (6!) great courses there. One of the purposes of my phone call was to cadge a nightʼs lodging on my annual drive north in May, so I will get a first-hand report on the Oram family then.

Tom and Mina Otis say they have adopted a rigorous annual schedule: golf at Yeamenʼs Hall Club in Charleston, S.C., in November and March, tennis in Boca Grande, Fla., in January and February, and involvement in both sports the balance of the year at their home in South Dartmouth, Mass.

At age 83, a milestone most of us have either passed or are fast approaching, Foster Pettit says he is “sitting up and taking nourishment” in Lexington, Ky., and enjoying the company of five grandchildren, one of whom will be graduating from George Washington University this May.

Ben Phipps says he is still pretending to work full-time in Tallahassee, but that itʼs really about a 70 percent rate. He reminds us all of the Class of 1958 Hardy Dillard Scholarship Fund, a most worthy cause that always appreciates donations.

A telephone call from Bert Sachs, from Boynton Beach, Fla.: He recalled for my benefit that, due to a need to report immediately to Norfolk for a court clerkship, he never got to march with the rest of us in our commencement proceeding those many years ago. But there is a happy ending: Bertʼs granddaughter is receiving her degree from the Law School this May, and she has arranged to have Bert march with her class—and has even picked out a cap and gown for him. Grandchildren can be wonderful surprises!

Bob Smith, along with his niece, has co-authored the 2014 (and 22nd) edition of Westʼs Tax Law Dictionary, scheduled for publishing this past February. Classmates will recall that Bob also authored Law and Lawyers in the United States, making him one of our more prolific writers.

With no thought of retirement, Jim Thornton is still managing money in New York City. Although the city’s new mayor seems to espouse income equality, Jim says his clear preference is for inequality. He has moved back into his home in Lawrence, Long Island, after dealing with the ravages of Superstorm Sandy, but if any reader is attracted to “a good view of marsh and a navigable creek; dike to be repaired; government promises,” Jim has just the place for you.

Henry Williams continues in some kind of time warp by continuing to sail and ski in upstate New York and at Mt. Tremblant, Canada. Plans for this winter season include a week in the Caribbean, two weeks on a relocation cruise from St. Martin to Lisbon (non-stop, hopefully), Easter in Surrey, England, and a week in Dublin. No moss growing on the Williams stone.

Swan Yerger called me from Jackson, Miss., where since 2010 he has been enjoying retirement after 38 years of private practice followed by 14 years as a judge on the Hinds County Circuit Court. He said he loves retirement and keeps active as a member of the board of governors of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters—not to mention as an enthusiastic supporter of Ole Miss athletics.

It is never too late to include a gem about one of our classmates. I recently came across the obituary in the Amherst Magazine for Bill Millard, who died in 2010. Bill was a trial lawyer for some 30 years in Columbus, Ohio, and then served two terms as a judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. The author of the obituary, one of Billʼs sons, said that Bill alternated between civil and criminal dockets, but did not relish hearing the things that came to light during certain criminal trials. During one such proceeding a young girl, barely old enough to take the stand, was called upon to testify about a defendantʼs uncivilized conduct toward her. The girl found the courtroom atmosphere to be intimidating and became unable to speak. Bill shortly realized that the outward symbols of the majesty and gravity of the law were working at cross-purposes with its spirit. He stepped down from the bench, removed his judicial robe, and sat down cross-legged on the courtroom floor, inviting the little girl to sit wherever she pleased, so that he would be at her eye level. Speaking to her as an equal, “as gently as he would to one of his own grandkids at a birthday party,” he put her at ease. She was able to testify, and “a successful prosecution made Columbus, in one particular but nontrivial respect, a safer and better place.”

I send my grateful thanks along to all of you who made the foregoing report possible. I urge all classmates to consider news contributions for the next issue of UVA Lawyer, especially those who, for whatever reasons, have elected to remain silent to date. I can be reached at 1955 Windward Way, Vero Beach, FL 32963; by email at; and by telephone at (772) 234-6765. Best wishes to all for a good summer!