I now call upon Mr. R. Edwin Brown to speak in memory of Mr. Clitus Bordeaux.
MR. BROWN: May it please the Court, I rise with a deep feeling of personal sorrow to announce to Your Honors the death on January 21, 1981, of Clitus Oliver Bourdeaux, Jr., Esquire, a member of the Bar of Montgomery County, Maryland, the Maryland Court of Appeals and the American Bar Association.
The Bench and Bar of Mryland knew Clitus O. Bourdeaux as one of the keenest, analytical and thorough lawyers ever to practice in the courts of this State. He was an able and conscientious student, a thorough and meticulous digester of any complex factual problem and an advocate of great persuasion. He had the capacity and knew how to enjoy himself, his family and his many friends.
Clitus Oliver Bourdeaux, Jr., was born in Lauderdale, Mississippi, on June 21, 1905, one of five children. He lost his mother at an early age. He had four sisters, Eugenia B. McCausland of Kensington, Maryland, Mary B. Lenhart of Adelphi, Maryland, Geneve B. Hoyle of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Nellie B. Arnold, deceased. Clitus is also survived by his widow, Margery Girling Bourdeaux who he married on June 6, 1931, and their two sons, Thomas Devane and Robert Bridges and one daughter, Margaret Amanda Macensky. He leaves eight grandchildren.
Clitus Bourdeaux grew up with his father and four sisters in Washington, D. C. He graduated from Central High School and later, while working at Union Trust Company, attended National University Law School and earned the following degrees: L.L.B., L.L.M. and L.P.M. Few of us realized that Clitus was a master of patent law. In 1935 Clitus moved with his young family to Gaithersburg, Maryland, and became cashier of the First National Bank of Gaithersburg. He served in that capacity until 1942. From 1942 to 1945 he operated a hatchery business at his residence property at Brown’s Station, and was also in partnership with McKendree Fulks in the broiler business.
Clitus attended the Ginsberg Bar Review, passed his Maryland Bar and was admitted to practice before the Courts of Maryland in 1945. He began his practice that year, sharing offices with John D. Bowman, Esquire, on the second floor of the Oxley Building. He later removed his office to the second floor of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Building. At that time the Sixth Circuit had three judges, Judge Charles W. Woodward, Judge Stedman Prescott and Judge Patrick Snouffer. Other tenants on the second floor of the fire house were the Honorable James H. Pugh and Messrs. Simpson and Simpson, District Judge Charles W. Woodward and Frank Tyler, Esquire.
Shortly after Clitus began his practice, he was appointed a Circuit Court Auditor by Judge Charles W. Woodward. In 1959 Clitus was recommended for a gubernatorial appointment as Circuit Court Judge along with the Honorable Ralph W. Shure and Donald K. Staley.
Clitus entered semi-retirement approximately ten years ago at his home and beautiful adjoining grounds on Brink Road at the Land of Goshen. In 1979 doctors discovered cancer of the esophagus and Clitus died in January of this year.
It was my privilege and pleasure to first become acquainted with Clitus O. Bourdeaux when I returned from military service after World War II and reentered the law practice in November of 1945. At that time Clitus and John Bowman were occupying the second floor of the Oxley Building, and I had a desk on the first floor. In the next twenty or more years we worked closely together, sometimes on the same side of the case and at other times on opposite sides.
I particularly recall one occasion when we drove over to the Court of Appeals together. Judge Prescott had only been recently elevated to the Court of Appeals. I was appealing a decision of Judge Prescott in an equity matter, Dove v. White, No. 13, October Term, 1956, in which Clitus had represented the defendant and had won in the Circuit Court. Also that morning I had a second appeal to argue, Board of Education of Montgomery County v. Victor N. Judson, Inc., No. 14, October Term, 1956, in which a decision of Judge Anderson was under appeal with the late Alger Barbee, Esquire, representing the Appellee. On the way home that evening, after calling at a number of taverns, I recall Clitus putting his arm on my shoulder and saying, “Ed, you know, I really hope you win that case against Barbee.” When the decision came down, I had lost the case against Barbee and won the case against Clitus.
I particularly recall the Wes Briggs case. Wes, a member of the Gaithersburg Volunteer Fire Department, was killed at the corner of Diamond and Summit Avenues when one of the Gaithersburg fire engines collided with a motor vehicle at that intersection. Clitus represented the fireman’s widow. I represented the Fire Department. Al Brault, Sr., Esquire, represented the liability carrier. The case was removed to Easton and after a hung jury, was eventually settled.
Clitus O. Bourdeaux was a forceful and gifted advocate. In a lawsuit, if he had a choice between the law and the facts,he would invariably choose the facts, believing that if the facts and equities were with his client, that the law would provide the right answer. He was a staunch advocate of personal property rights. He never hesitated to challenge the government or to “take on City Hall.” The caliber of his work will stand as a beacon of light to those following him. As a general practitioner, he was a specialist in all that he undertook, in equity or at law and whether working in contract or in tort. He was an accomplished business lawyer, exceptionally well informed in matters of real estate, dealing with conveyancing, leases, values, zoning and assessments.
By reason of his banking and business background he became very astute in tax matters, representing many large landowners and up-county businessmen in their tax matters and their families and heirs in the settlement of their estates.
Clitus served as Trustee of the Grace Methodist Church, was President of the Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Secretary of the Montgomery County Firemen’s Association, and Treasurer of the Gaithersburg PTA. He was a charter member of the Gaithersburg Lions Club, a Mason, Pentalpha Lodge, Gaithersburg, and a member and auditor for the Montgomery County Historical Society. During World War II he served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Gaithersburg Minute Men.
Clitus O. Bourdeaux was a man of many and varied talents. Born in Lauderdale, Mississippi, and educated in Washington, D. C., and moving to Gaithersburg with his young family at thirty years of age, he quickly became a true scion of the country, having a complete understanding of country banking, agriculture, and the practice of up-county law. With the passing of Clitus, we have probably seen the last of the true Montgomery County country lawyers.
And now, Your Honors, on behalf of the Bar of this State, and of this Court, and on my behalf as a personal friend of that distinguished lawyer, I respectfully move that the minutes of these proceedings be entered upon the records of this Court in commemoration of Clitus Oliver Bourdeaux, Jr., Esquire, in whose honor we meet, and I move this Honorable Court, when it stands adjourned to stand adjourned in his memory.
JUDGE MATHIAS: Thank you, Mr. Brown.
I call upon Judge David L. Cahoon to respond for the Bench.
JUDGE CAHOON: Judge Mathias, thank you for the courtesy that you have given me to respond today in these proceedings with respect to the memorial statements being presented for our advocates, Clitus being the first of those.
He was a person that I had a long and personal association with. I was the successor of his association with John Bowman. Clitus was a self-effacing individual but a staunch advocate of the interests of the elders. He was an effective and a fair and a judicial auditor. He cherished his liberty.
I individually recall proceedings in this very courtroom in the early fifties in which members of the organized bar of this County were assembled for the purpose of considering sanctions against their members who had the audacity to charge less than the recommended fees. Clitus stomped out of the meeting, announcing to all and sundry that he reserved the right to work for nothing, and that was so characteristic of his individuality and as Mr. Brown has pointed out, his willingness to take on City Hall.
He was unrelenting in his pursuit of his clients’ interests and truly was a man who plowed a long and straight furrow.
Mr. Clerk, you will please record the record of these proceedings, the remarks of Mr. Brown and those of mine.
JUDGE MATHIAS: Thank you, Judge Cahoon.