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A silent gavel

  • AMY ZUBEK/TIMES NEWS The gavel of the late Honorable David W. Addy rests on the bench in Carbon County Courtroom No. 2.
    AMY ZUBEK/TIMES NEWS The gavel of the late Honorable David W. Addy rests on the bench in Carbon County Courtroom No. 2.
Published December 18. 2009 05:00PM

Carbon County has lost a friend in the court system.

On Thursday morning, Judge David W. Addy passed away at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia after battling a long-time illness. He was 52.

During his life, he dedicated his time and efforts to his family, his friends, his county, and most importantly to the people of Carbon County.

Addy graduated from Temple University in 1983, where he earned an associate degree in horticulture science and a bachelor of arts degree in economics; he then received his juris doctor degree in 1986 from Villanova University School of Law.

At the same time, he began working as a law clerk for former Carbon County President Judge John P. Lavelle. He then went on to work as an associate for the law firm of Scott and Webb; and later served as an assistant district attorney in Carbon County for 17 years.

During that time, he prosecuted criminal cases that dealt with drugs and sexual abuse. He was active in the county's Drug Task Force; served as a specially appointed deputy attorney general; maintained a private law practice in Lehighton; and served as solicitor to the Borough of Lehighton, the Lehighton Water Authority, Franklin Township Zoning Hearing Board, and home associations in Bear Creek Lakes, Holiday Pocono, and Pleasant Valley West.

On Jan. 3, 2006, Addy was sworn in as the 17th judge to serve Carbon County Court of Common Pleas. He also dedicated his life to helping the children in the county.

During the weekly meeting of the Carbon County Commissioners, Roberta Brewster, district court administrator, made the offical announcement of his passing.

Brewster said it was an honor to work with him during the four years he served as county judge.

"His term was definitely too short. Four small years and he wanted to do so so much," she said. "He was definitely extremely driven and a hard worker and nothing was ever too much. He took time to be involved in many outside things that he probably didn't need to but he felt he needed to. It is a very sad day for us."

Carbon County President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II, added that Addy will be missed in the court system.

"His passing was a shock to me," said Nanovic. "Judge Addy is going to be missed very much both by myself and by Judge Webb, and I know by the other staff and personnel in the courthouse. I sympathize with his family. It's a very unfortunate time of year for this of happen and I give all my condolences and all my sympathy to his family.

"I think he will leave a legacy of being a very compassionate judge, an individual who cared very much for children. He was very interested and extremely involved in children and youth and dependency proceedings and took a very personal interest in that and I think he's going to be remembered for that."

County and state officials, as well as friends were stunned as news of Judge Addy's passing spread and they provided their condolences to his wife and family.

"I really believe that Judge Addy had a great impact on Carbon Countians, both as a judge, an assistant district attorney and as a private counselor attorney," said Commissioner William O'Gurek. "I remember when I was the county prothonotary, how he represented women primarily in court who were seeking protection from abuse and cases of that nature. When they couldn't pay their bills, he paid for them. He had a tremendous heart. It's a sad day in Carbon County to lose a man who had so much to offer."

O'Gurek added that he was impressed by the way Judge Addy fought for the children and youth of the county. Addy served as chairman for the county's Children's Roundtable and was an active participant in the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative.

"One of the things he took to the bench that impressed me was how he had the sense of responsibility to children and became very involved in our Children's Roundtable and worked with our Children and Youth and various agencies to make things better for them," he said. "He didn't have the opporutnity to fulfill his dream or goal of serving the common pleas for a longer period of time. It's certainly a loss for us."

Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein echoed O'Gurek's feelings.

"I cannot express how he will be missed," Nothstein said. "Judge Addy was very active when he could be with the Child and Family Collaborative and even took the time to travel with us on several occasions to Harrisburg to meet with people from the Department of Public Welfare and other organizations and groups, including our legislators on the importance of these programs that we have going, such as Shine and Right from The Start, and how it financially impacts the counties, and how it impacted the children and youth and kept them out of the system."

County Solicitor Michael Ozalas said Addy was always well prepared for his cases.

"I knew Judge Addy as a judge and before that, as an attorney and also as a person," he said. "He was a very competent attorney when he practiced. He was always well prepared and he carried that to the bench with him. He treated all the attorneys with respect and he got that respect back. Likewise with anyone who came in front of him he treated those people with respect. He certainly was a very good person and will be dearly missed."

"Judge Addy touched a lot of lives over his time in the district attorney's office and then as a judge," said Randall Smith, county administrator. "We all know that he had a great mind, but he also had a great heart as well. I think we all saw that as he touched all the people's lives inside the courtroom and around him. He was a special kind of man."

Robert Crampsie, county controller, added that Addy saw every day as another opporunity to help someone.

"I think he looked at every day as an opportunity to impact people's live and even though he passed away at a young age of 52, the impact of the number of lives he touched in 52 years are far beyond what people do in 80 or 85 years," Crampsie said. "So even though his passinng came way too quickly, the impact he had on people in Carbon County will always be remembered."

Ron Sheehan, county treasurer, summed it up perfectly, saying "Carbon County has lost a true public servant. He was an outstanding individaul both professional and privately and will be grately missed."

Sallianne Newtown, director of the Carbon County Children and Youth Services Agency, said "In the all too short time that he was working with Children and Youth, he made great contributions to improving the welfare of the children and families in the dependency system," she said. "He was highly dedicated, a real pleasure to work with, and all the children loved him. The staff at Children and Youth also enjoyed working with him, and greatly respected him. I personally have known him since I did my internship 20 years ago. I'm deeply saddened by his passing; he will be greatly missed."

Addy, with Newton, on July 16, 2008 applied for the county to become one of 16 Pennsylvania counties to pilot a program called the Children's Roundtable. The program brought together social service agencies, parents and justice system representatives together with children and youth agency staff "to reduce numbers of dependent children in out of home placements," she said.

"At one point, he had about 30 people from the various agencies all them he brought together on this board," Newton said. "He did a lot. He really cared about the kids. He truly did."

Speaker of the House Keith McCall, who knew personally how much Judge Addy cared for this county, said Carbon County has lost a great man.

"The loss of Judge Addy is a loss for our entire community," McCall said. "There was no greater advocate of the people and his far-too-short time on the bench was marked with an outstanding dedication to fairness, compassion and justice. My deepest condolences go out to his wife Carol and their children the people of Carbon County share your grief and your loss and our prayers are with you."

Attorney David Masenheimer, president and corporate counsel of Pencor Services, Inc., a friend of Judge Addy's, reflected on their time working in Judge Lavelle's office in 1987.

"Dave was Judge Lavelle's law clerk and I was a summer clerk in 1987," said Masenheimer. "We shared the 'office' of the county law library. Although the county supplied regular PCs, Dave would lug his own Macintosh computer to the library. This was before notebook computers so Dave would pack up his full size desktop computer, monitor, printer and all, into his case at night and then unpack it in the morning.

"Despite his hefty workload, he was always cheerful and always took the time to teach me how to be a law clerk. Because of the hard work, keen thinking and dedication that he demonstrated as a law clerk, I knew he would be a great judge. All of Carbon County and particularly the legal community suffered a great loss."

The Schaeffer Funeral Home, 300 Alum St., Lehighton, is in charge of funeral arrangements. Among his survivors are his wife, Carol; three sons, Christopher, Michael and Jason; and two stepchildren, Ghyslyn and Jason.

More information on services was not available as of press time.

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