Louise Anderson Terzian, lawyer, Democratic Party official and last chief judge of the old Montgomery County Orphan’s (Probate) Court, died in Fredericksburg, VA on May 6 after a brief illness. She was 89. A resident of Montgomery County, MD, since 1944, Mrs. Terzian had entered assisted living in Fredericksburg in October 2001.
Mrs. Terzian was born in Philadelphia on September 12, 1912 and was a member of the first women’s class at the University of Pennsylvania. She later received a law degree from George Washington University. From the middle of the Depression until moving to Kensington, MD toward the end of World War II she was a caseworker for social service agencies in Philadelphia and in suburban Delaware County, PA.
She was married in 1936 to Dr. Levon A. Terzian, a microbiologist at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, who died I 1974.
Beginning in the late 1940s, Mrs. Terzian was active in Democratic Party affairs in Montgomery County, first as a precinct chairman, campaign manager and founder of the Kensington-Wheaton Democratic Club and later as secretary of the Montgomery County Committee for Unity and Victory in the 1958 primary election. A friend and adviser to Gov. J. Millard Tawes, she was secretary of the Citizens for Tawes Committee and county coordinator in his successful 1962 campaign for re-election.
In December of that year Governor Tawes appointed Mrs. Terzian to succeed the late Ella Plummer as chief judge of the Orphan’s Court. As chief judge, Mrs. Terzian’s attempts to set reasonable limits on attorneys’ fees for smaller estates attracted the attention of reporter Leonard Downie Jr., now executive editor of The Washington Post, who wrote a series of articles about the issue, and author Murray Teigh Bloom, who featured Mrs. Terzian’s efforts in “The Trouble With Lawyers” (1968).
After leaving the bench Mrs. Terzian practiced law for several years in Rockville, where she was a founding trustee of the Office of Public Defender in Montgomery County, and special advisor on family law for the Maryland State Bar Association. She was a member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, the Women’s Bar Association of Montgomery County, and the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland.
A resident of Chevy Chase View in Kensington from 1944 until 1995, she lived at the Bedford Court retirement community in Silver Spring until moving to Fredericksburg.
She is survived by her daughter, Anne Booher of Baltimore, MD; two sons, David L. Terzian of Fredericksburg, VA and Philip Terzian of Oakton, VA; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Marjorie Anderson of Kennett Square, PA