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Memorial-Irelan, Charles M.
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Charles M. Irelan
January 8, 1905 – October 30, 1959 




     I have the honor, on behalf of the Montgomery County Bar, to respectfully ask the Court to pay tribute to the memory of a distinguished lawyer, jurist and counselor at law of Montgomery County, Maryland. I announce, formally, to your Honors, the death of Charles M. Irelan, Esq., on October 30, 1959. 

     Charles M. Irelan was born in Washington, D. C., on January 8, 1905, and resided in that City until 1931, when he moved into Montgomery County, Maryland, to a residence on Layhill Road in Silver Spring. He was educated in the Public Schools in the District of Columbia and graduated from McKinley High School. He received his Bachelor of Laws Degree from National University Law School in Washington, D. C., in 1928, and was admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia. After moving to Maryland, he was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1935. 

     On December 28, 1928, Mr. Irelan married Julia Mae Mackenzie, and there were two sons born of this marriage, Charles Mackenzie Irelan and Robert Withers Irelan. Since June, 1957, he and Mrs. Irelan resided in their charming country home in Brookville, known as “Greystone”. 

     After being admitted to the practice of law, Charles M. Irelan served as Assistant Trust Officer of the Washington Loan and Trust Company until 1933, when he resigned to enter the private practice of law, which continued until 1942. During this period of time, he was, in 1938, elected Judge of the Orphans’ Court of Montgomery County, Maryland, and served this Court as its Chief Judge during his four-year term. 

     In 1942, he entered the service of the United States Departmetn of Justice, as Principal Trial Attorney in the Lands Division, where most of his time was spent in representing the Government beofre the United States District Courts in the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas. Two particularly well-known condemnation cases which Mr. Irelan handled during this period of time involved the acquisition of land for a new Senate Office building and for the Fort Miles Military Reservation in Delaware, both cases involving approximately $1,000,000.00, each. 

     In 1951, he was requested to come to the White House and serve as Legal Advisor to the then President of the United States, the Honorable Harry S. Truman. In the fall of the same year, he was appointed by the President to be United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, in which capacity he served until 1953, and then resumed the private practice of law.

      In December, 1954, he was appointed County Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, and served honorably and capably in that position, until his resignation on March 31, 1958. On the following day, April 1, 1958, Charles M. Irelan assumed office as General Counsel of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and was so engaged at the time of death. 

     Mention should be made of the fact that, during World War II, this distinguished lawyer served, voluntarily, as Chairman of the Montgomery County Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was also Chairman of the War Price and Rationing Board for Silver Spring, and later, for the entire County, during that same great conflict. 

     Charles M. Irelan was a member in good standing of the Bars of the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Court of Appeals for Maryland, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He was a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association for eighteen years; the Montgomery County Bar Association, a member of Sigma Delta Kappa, Legal Fraternity; a member and past President of the Lions Club of Silver Spring; a lifelong member of the Democratic Party; and for more than a decade, an Elder of the Warner Memorial Presbeterian Church in Kensington. 

     Literally hundreds of the members of our profession throughout the United States know Charles M. Irelan well, as a distinguished advocate of the law and many of that same number were privileged to know him intimately, as a friend. I feel confident in saying that the true extent of the sincere advice and assistance he gave to lawyers and laymen alike, will never be accurately determined. Charles M. Irelan had a great philosophy of the law. He felt that the legal profession was of the highest calling and took pains to assure everyone with whom he worked and came in contact, that the dignity of the Court was above reproach, and that at all costs, that solemn dignity must be preserved. Charles M. Irelan was, in every sense, a true Christian gentleman, whose very presence as a member of this Bar, and others, helped to give the legal profession the credit it deserves. His entire adult career is marked by outstanding public service. His temperament on all questions on which he was called to pass, was even and impartial. 

     I say to your Honors, with deepest humility, that the career of Charles M. Irelan was one which we present members of the Bench and Bar can be proud, and to which our younger lawyers can well aspire. 

     Therefore, on behalf of the Bar of this County, I move your Honors that an appropriate minute be recorded that will make lasting record in this Court of Charles M. Irelan’s distinguished service, and mark our deep respect to his memory. 

Respectfully submitted