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Memorial--DeLashmutt, Donald A. (Judge)
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The Honorable Donald A. DeLashmutt
December 24, 1885 – July 10, 1968 

MR. LATHAM: If your Honors please, we will proceed with the memorial services for Donald A. DeLashmutt.

I call upon Barney Welsh.

     MR. WELSH: Judge Schnauffer, ladies and gentlemen of the bench, ladies and gentlemen of the DeLashmutt family.

     My acquaintanceship with Judge DeLashmutt stems back, I suppose 30 years. We lived on the same street and it is one of the nicest memories of my boyhood, the friendship with the judge who helped me become the lawyer I am.

     Donald DeLashmutt was born on December 24, 1885 and he lived in Montgomery County until July 10, 1968.

     The judge was born in Frederick and he became married to Elizabeth McCann in 1912. He had and now has two lovely daughters. I know, because I was on the same street with them.

     One of them is Frances Renshaw and the other is Bettina Weitzel.

     The judge has three grandchildren, Mike, Kathleen, and Kent.

     Judge DeLashmutt was educated in Frederick in the public school system and then not being satisfied with one of the western counties, he went to St. Mary’s where he attended Charlotte Hall Military Academy.

     Going further south in 1904 he went to the Macy Business School in Richmond, Virginia, and in 1910 he went to Georgetown University Law School and graduated there from – his legal career did not start at that time, on the contrary, he started as a clerk in the Department of State in 1911 and he obtained the title of Chief Clerk.

     The he deserted the south. He went north and became associated with one J. Ruben Clark, who was then the United States Ambassador to Mexico.

     He moved back to Rockville and instead of immediately practicing law, in order to show the diversification of Judge DeLashmutt, he took out a distributorship of automobiles and was successful in combining a dealership of a Ford and a Chevrolet, illustrating the diplomacy of the man.

     And not only did he combine the two rival automobiles, but he succeeded in becoming secretary to the county Automobile Dealers Association.

     In 1934 he became a deputy administrator of the NRA Auto Trade Code for several counties in Maryland, and about the same time in 1932 he became attorney for the Bank of Damascus and was a member of their Board of Directors until 1965.

     He also was a member of the Montgomery County Liquor License Commission, and I believe one of the other offices which he held which attests to the integrity of the man was between 1940 and 1950 when he was appeal agent for the National Selective Service.

     In 1932, Judge DeLashmutt became a member of the firm of Prettyman, DeLashmutt, which later became the firm of Prettyman, DeLashmutt and Prettyman.

     He was trial magistrate of this county from 1932 to 1955, and he was twice president of the Trial Magistrates Association of Maryland.

     In 1932 he was a delegate to the Maryland State Democratic Convention.

     In 1955 after his retirement as a trial magistrate he resumed his practice of law, and he was recognized by the lawyers of this county as an authority in probate matters and in matters of real estate.

     One of the pleasures I had with Judge DeLashmutt was riding with him some afternoons in the upper part of the county and he would narrate to me the family history of the tracts of land which we passed.

     Judge DeLashmutt was an active man. He had a curious and inquiring mind. He kept the weather records for forty years, and he was frequently called into court as an expert on weather.

     His records, although not official documents, were nevertheless received in this court room in which you are sitting as evidence of how the moon was on a certain night and whether the certain day had precipitation.

     He was an active man. He was a swimmer, and in 1909 he organized the first swim club in Washington, D. C., and it was entirely fitting in that year that his club won the first South Atlantic Swimming Championship, and he won the free style events.

     In addition to that, he was a member of the Washington Canoe Club.

     Rockville and Judge DeLashmutt grew together. He was active in Boy Scouts. He took part in every emergency Red Cross Drive.

     He was active in both the Rockville Athletic Club and Rockville Boys Club.

     He was a member of the Rockville Library Association and the Montgomery County Safety Board.

     He was a mason, a member of the Lions Club and he was very active in the Isaac Walton League.

     Perhaps some of you don’t know it, but Judge DeLashmutt was a skillful iceskater.

     One of the happy recollections I have is in 1935, or thereabouts, the Potomac froze, froze hard and crisp, so that when skating on it you could see the leaves and even the fish beneath the ice. And Judge DeLashmutt and other people from Rockville would go to Seneca Creek and light a fire, and we would skate and skate up to the third island, and then the Judge and I would skate back with the wind at our back. And he exulted in the outdoors and the iceskating.

     I recall in the winter when the ice wasn’t on the river – Judge DeLashmutt was also a bowler – he nejoyed going down to Henry Heiser’s and he would take Charlie Prettyman and me. He didn’t have very good form, but when you write them up, I don’t care whether the ball bounced from one gutter to the other, if it struck, it struck.

     My recollection of the judge as a judge was in the old court room in theold court house, the one tht has the ceilings lowered now, and probably the court house might not be there too long, but I recall the judge’s interest in landlord and tenant cases.

     It was about that time that he was judge – whether it wad the fact that Montgomery County had a liberal welfare policy or whether it was for some other reason or another, but a lot of unfortunate people migrated to this favored county from Loudon County, Virginia.

     They took jobs on the farms and for one reason or another didn’t satisfactorily milk the cows and there would be the three-day eviction notice, or some notice that would come, and they would go to trial in landlord versus the tenant.

     The word soon got around among the brethern that Judge DeLashmutt was sympathetic toward the undrerdog.

     Landlord and tenant law was never easy. Judge DeLashmutt made a study of the law. He developed forms. He helped the lawyers try a rather complicated type of case, and no man went from that court feeling that he was not given a fair and full day in court.

     I feel that Judge DeLashmutt, who lived 82 years, was a man who has seen every facet of life. He was a fine family man. He was devoted to his daughters and his wife, and he was a respected and honored judge and a lawyer.

     He was deeply enrooted in the development of a town. He had varied and healthy interests. He was respected by all who knew and who loved him, among whom I was and am counted.

     I hope that I have expressed myself in the deep respect that I have for Judge Donald Arness DeLashmutt.

      And I move Your Honors that the remarks that I make and those which follow me will be enrolled and made a permanent part of the records of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.

     Thank you.


     MR. JACOBS: In further memory of Donald A. DeLashmutt, I would like to call upon John Oxley.

     MR. OXLEY: If Your Honors please, this is a sorrowful time for me to know that we don’t have Judge DeLashmutt with us.

     My dear friend, Barney Welsh, has told you almost everything I had planned to tell you, so there is no point in repeating it.

      I will make some remarks as to Judge DeLashmutt. I think he was a very mild mannered man. He was a courageous man. He was a lawyer’s friend. He was a righteous and a just judge, and he was a brilliant man and he certainly was a busy man with all the things he did.

     And in addition to the law he was a brilliant man and one thing Mr. Welsh missed – perhaps he didn’t know – but Judge DeLashmutt was also an expert shorthand reporter and typist.

     There wasn’t much of anything he couldn’t do if he wanted to do it.

     He was patient, and I don’t think I ever saw him in my life get out of sort or get upset or be rude to anybody. He was a real man.

     I don’t know of anybody that ever held the job that he did, judge of the Police Court, that ever did the job any better or as well.

     And I thank you.

     MR. JACOBS: That will conclude the speakers on behalf of Judge DeLashmutt.



     JUDGE MATHIAS: I welcome this opportunity to respond to the tributes to Judge DeLashmutt which were made by Mr. Welsh and by Mr. Oxley.

     I became a member of this bar in 1942, but I did not get a chance to practice until 1946 because I had been invited to join the Navy.

     When I returned to civilian life and opened my law office, Judge DeLashmutt was a trial magistrate for this county, and he sat in what we now know as the Peoples Court, in the court room down the hall where Judge Fairbanks and others now preside.

     And one exciting day, I appeared nervously before Judge DeLashmutt to try my first lawsuit. It was an automobile accident case; property damage only.

     And my client was awarded a judgment for $105, out of which I collected a fee of $35. That was my first meeting with Judge DeLashmutt and needless to say he made a very favorable impression on me.

     Judge DeLashmutt came to Rockville not to practice law, but to run an automobile agency. He didn’t like this work very much, but it was fortunate in a way because he made contacts with those with whom he later practiced law and that was his real love.

     He, I am sure, didn’t become a wealthy man practicing law; very few of us do. He might have made a lot more money in the the automobile business; most of them do; but on the other hand, he may not have lived to be 82 years old. And he, I am sure, wouldn’t have lived the pleasant kind of life that he lived.

     He liked being a lawyer and he liked being with lawyers, and he shared, I think the view of a famous lawyer in the early nineteen hundreds, Harrison Tweed, who once said that lawyers are better to work with and play with and fight with and drink with than almost any other variety of mankind.

     I have listened to the other speakers talk about his many athletic accomplishments, and I have heard about those too because he has a niece named Mary Monk who lives near me, and she had told me a lot about him.

     She told me he also was a weight lifter and a motor cycle rider.

     I was interested to hear Mr. Barney Welsh tell about how he was able to bounce the bowling balls out of the gutter and get credit for the pins that he knocked down.

     I was bowling with my wife in a league a little while ago, getting a little practice, and I rolled one in the gutter and knocked down a pin, and she said, oh, that doesn’t count, it went in the gutter.

     I had many opportunities to associate with and know Judge DeLashmutt at Bar Association meetings and at other functions, and I always enjoyed his company.

     He was a man who had very definite opinions, but he always would listen to the other fellow, and I have never heard him speak unkindly about anyone, and in arguing with those who disagreed with him, I think he knew how to engage in dialogue, even before the word was invented.

     I personally feel that it has been a privilege for me to know Judge DeLasmutt and to have been able to walk a few steps with him along the winding path of life.


     JUDGE SHOOK: Are there any further remarks concerning Judge DeLashmutt? 

                                                              (There were none) 

     JUDGE SHOOK: The Court will order that your motion will be granted. 

     The remarks concerning Judge Prescott and Judge DeLashmutt will be transcribed and filed with the Clerk of the Court. 

     MR. LATHAM: Your Honors please, as a somewhat younger member of the bar, I would like to remember these words of William Penn.

                                                I expect to pass through life but once,

                                                If there ever be any kindness I can share or

                                                 Any good I can do for any fellow being,

                                                Let me do it now and not defer or neglect,

                                                 As I shall not pass this way again.

       Certainly the two men we have honored today, Judge Prescott and Judge DeLashmutt, in every day of their lives lived up to these words of Mr. Penn, and we now move that this Court adjourn in memory of the honor of these two gentlemen. 

      JUDGE SHOOK: Court stands adjourned. 

     (Thereupon, at 3:00 o’clock, p.m., the Court adjourned)


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