Former Huntingdon County judge dies

HUNTINGDON – Judge Newton C. Taylor was passionate about two of his hobbies – baseball and bridge.

“When he interviewed me for a job, he asked me if I played bridge, and I said no. But I was a baseball fan – an Orioles fan and Phillies fan – and that went over well with him. That was enough to get the job,” said Huntingdon Attorney Bob Covell, who was hired by Taylor to be his law clerk in March 1984.

Taylor, 79, of 111 Sycamore Way, Huntingdon, died Thursday at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital following a brief illness.

Taylor enjoyed a distinguished legal career in his native Huntingdon. He graduated from Duke University Law School in 1960, where he served as president of his class. He recently received the prestigious “Duke Forever” award for excellence in voluntary service.

From 1961-80, he conducted a law practice in Huntingdon, partnering first with his father, I. Newton Taylor Jr., from 1961-67, then Stewart B. Kurtz from 1971-73 and then with Robert B. Stewart III from 1976 to 1980.

Taylor was elected district attorney of Huntingdon County in 1967 and served in that office from January 1968 until 1969. He was appointed President Judge of Huntingdon County Common Pleas Court by Gov. Richard L. Thornburgh in February 1980 and served through Jan. 5, 1992. After that, he practiced law part time.

Stewart said he became friends with Taylor while he was still in college.

“He always treated me more as an equal than a subordinate. He was one of the last old-time lawyers. He was a fellow who had tremendous intellect and encyclopedic memory. He practiced in the days when practicing law was more of an art than it is today. He was an outstanding human being and honest to a fault. He was a good aggressive, energetic litigator on behalf of his clients. He stood up for what he believed in,” said Stewart, who now works for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

Huntingdon Attorney Lawrence Newton said he had known Taylor for 37 years.

“Judge Taylor was friendly. He was a professional in every way. He was someone who was dedicated to the law,” Newton said. “He was always interested in athletics, in particular baseball and Duke basketball. He was always a sports enthusiast.”

Funeral services for Taylor will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Huntingdon Presbyterian Church, Fifth and Mifflin streets, with the Rev. Harold G. Williams and the Rev. Dr. Stanley Bhasker officiating. Interment will be made in Riverview Cemetery, Huntingdon.

Friends will be received at the church Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. until the hour of the service.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.