Black ends longtime career as attorney
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A familiar face is missing from the Allegheny Street office of Evey Black Attorneys LLC.
Clyde O. Black II, who had been with the firm since 1965, officially retired from the practice of law Aug. 31. Black, 77, had retired as a partner in 2010.
Black grew up in Roaring Spring. His father, Clyde O. Black, had a successful real estate/insurance agency.
“We never talked about it, but the presumption was to go into business with him and continue that,” Black said.
After graduating from Roaring Spring High School in 1958, Black went off to Gettysburg College where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1962.
He later served six years as chairman of the board of trustees at his alma mater.
“I took business courses at Gettysburg College, but I did not find that interesting. I knew I needed to do something,” Black said.
“Gettysburg had a connection to the Lutheran Theological Seminary. A lot of my friends went into the ministry. I had an interest in the ministry and law school. It was between the two,” Black said.
Law school won out, and he received his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law in 1965.
After graduating, he joined the law firm — then called Patterson and Evey — comprised of Marion Patterson, Merle Evey and James Routch.
Being from Morrisons Cove turned out to be advantageous.
“Being a Covite was a benefit, something they saw as an opportunity. There were only two attorneys in the Cove at the time. They were aging, and there was no one to take their places,” Black said. “We opened an office in Roaring Spring. We had a receptionist/secretary there. I would go out for appointments but had the practice here.”
In his beginning years with the firm, “each of us was all things to all people,” Black said.
“Each had our own estate planning and real estate clients; we had our own domestic relations clients. My practice morphed into estate planning work, wills, power of attorney and living wills,” Black said.
Over his last 10 years, he concentrated on estate planning.
“I enjoyed doing that. I enjoyed dealing with my clients in that regard. I also found meaning and comfort in representing families after someone died. I enjoyed being able to deal with and help people at good and bad times in their lives,” Black said.
From 1966-72, Black served as an assistant district attorney. He and John Woodcock were assistants under District Attorney Amos Davis.
“It was a very demanding time. From the experiential standpoint, it was ideal. This gave me a constant opportunity to be in the courtroom. Working with those guys was a wonderful experience. We were all different in our approach.” Black said.
He decided to leave the district attorney’s office because his practice was growing.
“Our office has always represented a number of municipalities and school districts. I represented five or six of those in the Cove; they need you at the other end of the telephone. My client base was growing. I needed to serve my clients. I had to make a choice which way to go. I could become political and move up the ladder or become a practicing attorney here the best way I could,” Black said.
Black said he never had any interest in leaving the law firm of which he and Routch became partners in the early 1970s.
“I felt as an employee I was treated very well and developed a client base of my own. I just knew the opportunity here was obvious and good and saw the potential for growth. If an area and a business is growing and you are happy with the growth and the future of the business, there was no reason to leave. My wife (Rita, whom he married after college) was also happy here,” Black said.
Family reasons ultimately lead to Black’s decision to retire.
“My wife was experiencing medical issues; we lived outside of Roaring Spring. She was going to need dialysis. It was 25 miles from the doctor. I was going to need to be available for her every day and some days all day. I couldn’t keep up my end of the practice and do that,” Black said.
Rita passed away in October.
“We had looked for a place to come to in Hollidaysburg. We had made arrangements to move into a cottage that Allegheny Lutheran had built on Hedge Street. She died before we moved,” Black said.
He said he had begun tapering off his work and knew it was time to retire, but he feels good about his career.
“I think I’ve been recognized as knowledgeable, available and having an understanding of all the situations that come up, many of which you cannot anticipate ahead of time,” Black said. “I think I took advantage of the opportunities in front of me throughout my life in the different areas I found myself in, mainly practicing law and dealing with people and their concerns. I feel I did a worthy job in all of them, and I feel good about it. I feel very comfortable with my life.”
Black is well-respected among his co-workers.
“He is a very dedicated professional. He had a high regard for the practice of law. He really cared about his clients and tried to help people. He was a team player. He was always very congenial and willing to give instructions when needed and very professional,” said Sheran Kendall, who became his administrative assistant/paralegal in 1995. “He set a good example of what an attorney should be, hard-working, ethical, and he set a good example for the young lawyers coming up through the firm. He helped train and nurture a lot of young attorneys.”
“He is very dedicated and always a favorite with the clients. He is very much a gentleman. He was an excellent teacher. When I started working with him, I was 18 and just out of high school and knew nothing about law. He would explain how to do things. He had a lot of patience and is an expert in his profession,” said Mary Ann Nedimyer, a paralegal, who has worked for the firm since 1975. “He definitely set the standard of what an attorney should be; he was very well-respected by all of the attorneys in the bar.”
Black said he has no special plans for retirement but hopes to do some traveling and spend more time with his family. His daughter, Jennifer, lives in Iowa City, Iowa, and his son, Brian, lives in Hollidaysburg.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.
The Black file
Name: Clyde O. Black II
Position: Retired from Evey Black Attorneys LLC
Education: 1958 graduate of Roaring Spring High School, 1962 graduate of Gettysburg College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, 1965 graduate of Dickinson School of Law.
Family: Wife, Rita, died Oct. 17, 2016; daughter, Jennifer Black Reinhardt, in Iowa City, Iowa; son, Brian Black, in Hollidaysburg; and grandchildren: Benjamin Black, Samuel Black, Eliza Reinhardt and William Reinhardt.
Quote: “If it is your dream to be an attorney, follow that dream. There are opportunities within the practice of law that didn’t exist for me.”