Longtime Leader Who Saw Small Firm Become One of NJ's Biggest Over 80-Year Career Dies at 104

A longtime lawyer who helped build a small New Jersey law firm into one of the state’s biggest over his 80-year career there while maintaining a reputation as a consummate gentleman has died at age 104.

Blaine Capehart had to drop out of Harvard Law School during the Great Depression but went on to earn his degree from Temple University’s night law school. He saw the four-attorney law firm of French Richards and Bradley grow to one of the state’s biggest during his 80-year career at what is now known as Capehart & Scatchard, according to the Courier-Post and a Capehart & Scatchard Web page memorializing his 100th birthday.

Capehart, a law firm and bar leader who stopped going to the office every day only a few years ago, because he could no longer drive, is remembered for his courtesy and charm as well as his legal and administrative skills. Listed on the law firm’s website as chairman of the board, he knew the name of every lawyer and secretary at what is now a 70-attorney regional law firm and not only appeared in court, well-prepared and sharp, in his 90s, but he was still mowing his lawn at the same age.

“He was the person everyone looked up to. He was revered and trusted by everyone and treated everyone in the firm fairly,” said fellow attorney Glenn Paulsen, who started working at the firm as a law clerk in 1971.

Capehart’s youngest daughter, retired nurse Gretchen C. DeCou, told the Courier-Post that one of her father’s early memories was his mother being told by a neighbor in 1912 about the sinking of the Titanic, which had some other residents of their Philadelphia neighborhood on board. He also recalled a time before the automobile was commonly used for transportation and walking was routine.

A devoted grandfather and gardener, her father was comfortable with the changes that life brings, DeCou said. “He always would tell me to roll with it, and it would be all right.”

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