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Memorial-Schap, Joseph
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Joseph Schap
1926 - 1975



Rockville, Maryland
September 16, 1975
2:00 p.m.

Court Reporter: Carolyn G. Davis 

In Memory of :

Presiding Judges:
ALBERT BRAULT, President, Montgomery County Bar Association
ROURKE J. SHEEHAN, Chairman, Memorial Committee


JUDGE SHURE: Please remain standing. 

     [There followed an opening prayer for the services given by Rabbi Joseph M. Brandiss.] 

     JUDGE SHURE: Thank you. Please be seated. 

     The court recognizes Mr. Albert Brault who is President of the Montgomery County Bar Association. 

     MR. BRAULT: Chief Judge Shure, Associate Judges of the Circuit Court, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce at this time the Chairman of our Memorial Committee who will conduct our services today, Mr. Rourke J. Sheehan. 

     Mr. Sheehan. 

     MR. SHEEHAN: May it please the court, in accordance with a long-standing custom of this court and the Montgomery County Bar, the court has suspended its usual business today and has convened in order that the court and Bar of Montgomery County might pay their respects to those members of the Bar who have died since the last memorial proceedings were held. 

     On behalf of the Bar Association of Montgomery County I respectfully move the court that a transcript of this memorial ceremony be recorded and permanently filed among the records of the court. 

     JUDGE SHURE: The motion will certainly be granted. 

     MR. SHEEHAN: We are pleased to have as our guests today the family members and friends of our deceased colleagues, and we wish to express to them our sincere sympathy for the loss they have sustained. This is an occasion for sadness but also an occasion for pride and gratitude as we contemplate the lives led by our friends and colleagues and their contributions to our profession and their fellow man. 

     The former colleagues whom we honor today are the following: Joseph Schap, S. David Rubinstein, E. Harold Patterson, James R. Miller, Sr., Edward L. Koepenick, Paul Cohen, and Robert W. Beal.

     Now, on behalf of the Bar Association I will call upon a member of the Bar to speak briefly out of the respect for the memory of each of our former colleagues. A member of the court will respond on the remarks of each speaker from the Bar. Now, in the memory of Joseph Schap, I now call upon James T. Wharton. 

     MR. WHARTON: Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. May it please the court and members of the families of those who we honor, whose member we honor today, as well as the fellow lawyers who are here present, Joe Schap – we knew him as “Joe,” – was born in 1926 in Pennsylvania. His parents were Lewis and Katherine Schap, both of whom are now deceased. He had two brothers, Dave and Lou, both of whom survive him, and sister Rachael. Rachael and Lou are here today. 

     Joe was married to Mimi Schap, and Mimi is here today with their oldest son, Bill. Mimi and Joe have two other children, Cathy and Nancy. Joe attended high school that a lot of other lawyers in Montgomery County attended. He went to McKinley Technical School in Washington, D. C.

      After high school and near the end of World War II he served in the U. S. Navy aboard a destroyer escot. And those of us who knew him later when he practiced law also knew that something like that had to be in his background because he had a tremendous love of the water, and if you got him anywhere near a boat he knew how to handle it and knew everything about it and that harkens back to his navy days as he would stay around the boat or water. 

     Joe attended the University of Maryland where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He then attended George Washington University where he graduated with his law degree. While attending George Washington University Law School Joe participated in a few firsts with regard to the court system as it existed in Montgomery County. 

     He was one of the first clerks of our Trial Magistrate of the court which was the court that we had back in the thirties up to the early fifties. Joe was clerk to that court whenever Judge Fairbanks who now sits on the Circuit Court was a Trial Magistrate. Also while attending George Washington University Law School he was clerk to the first judge of the People’s Court for Montgomery County which became a successor to the old Trial Magistrates Court, and I think Joe Schap also took a lot of pride in the fact that he was the first clerk of the People’s Court and this his good friend Judge Christenson was the first judge of the People’s Court when the Trial Magistrate’s Court no longer existed. 

     After Joe finished his law school at George Washington University he was admitted to the Bar of the Court of Appeals in 1957. Thereafter for a period of time he practiced along. 

     I did fail to comment on one thing. In addition to the period of time he worked as a Clerk in the Trial Magistrate’s Court and the People’s Court, he also clerked during law school for the law firm known as Duckett and Orem. After he graduated from law school and had his degree he practiced alone for a while. He was then associated with the firm of Donahue and Ehrmantraut. 

     Following through on the concept of having certain firsts in the administration of justice field in Montgomery County Joe Schap worked for quite a while with the first public defenders system in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. Joe was on the staff of John Mitchell now Judge John Mitchell of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County when Judge Mitchell was the first Public Defender for Montgomery County. 

     That is a biographical sketch of Joe Schap. It needs added to it the fact that he was active in the Maryland State Bar Association attending its annual and semi-annual meetings. He was active in his legal fraternity, and he was very active throughout his lifetime in the activities of the court that he first served as a clerk and that ultimately became the People’s Court. Joe consistently wanted to serve and did serve on the old Trial Magistrates and then Peoples Court Committee of the Montgomery County Bar Association because he had a great respect for that court and he recognized that that was the court where he first became involved with the law. 

     Joe also was very much involved with the formation of a group of lawyers in Montgomery County in 1960, 1961 and the purpose of that group, the reason it was formed, was more or less to help younger lawyers in self education. The group was called the Counsellors and it still exists. Joe was one of the organizers of that group, and I think as a friend of Joe Schap and of his family if I were to say to them and fellow lawyers and to the judges here today what was one of Joe’s greatest characteristics and one of the characteristics by which we will remember him most I will have to say it is shown in that type of thing which caused him to help organize the Counsellors. Joe had an extreme eagerness to assist younger lawyers to help them learn the ropes and to assist them in doing things he had already done but that they were about to do for the first time. 

     So, to all of you I say on behalf of Joe’s fellow lawyers it’s a real privilege to honor Joe’s memory today and we will remember him through the rest of our days. 

     JUDGE SHURE: Thank you, Mr. Wharton. Judge Mitchell will respond for the court.


     JUDGE MITCHELL: Mr. Wharton, ladies and gentleman, I was admitted to practice on the same day Joe was, June, 1957, as I recall, weather unlike today. There was a terrible rainstorm. I stayed in touch with Joe and close to Joe thereafter. 

     Eventually I had the pleasure to work with him in the Public Defenders Service. Joe devoted his energies to the cause of juveniles. He was most interested in juveniles. I have seen him work from early in the morning until late at night. He would take children to his own home when the juvenile facilities did not have a place available for that child. He would feed the child and see that he was properly cared for. 

     That gives you but one dimension as to the compassion Joe had for his fellow man. I can only say on behalf of myself and my brothers both in this court and in the District Court that Joe has been missed. Joe is missed today and Joe will be missed hereafter.