Charles Hearne Jr., Wicomico lawyer

January 30, 1995|By Karen Zeiler | Karen Zeiler,Contributing Writer

Charles Elmer Hearne Jr., a retired Wicomico County lawyer whose career spanned more than six decades, died Friday of complications from emphysema at his home in Salisbury. He was 85.

Mr. Hearne specialized in estate planning and probate law. He retired in 1979 from Hearne & Bailey P.A., but continued to do legal work, providing counsel to the firm until his death. He established the firm in 1954 as Hearne, Fox & Bailey after the death of his previous partner, Ernest Clark.

He formed his first partnership, Duer, Hearne & Duer, in the 1930s.

Mr. Hearne also was known for his leadership in the community, relatives and friends said.

"I knew him as a community leader," said Audrey Stewart, retired dean of student affairs at Salisbury State University. "He was very, very interested in seeing this community become a strong, viable group of human beings."

Mr. Hearne was the first president of the Wicomico County Recreation Commission, past president of the Wicomico County Library and an organizer of the Community Players. In the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared in many of the theater group's productions.

"He was great storyteller and loved to communicate with people, and being in the Community Players was an extension of that," said his son Stephen Merrill Hearne of Salisbury.

In the 1960s, he served on the Maryland Judicial Nominations Commission for the First Judicial Circuit.

"On the First Judicial Circuit his opinion was always listened to because it was succinct and fair," Mrs. Stewart said.

Born and reared in Salisbury, Mr. Hearne was a 1926 graduate of Wicomico High School. He attended the University of Maryland for two years before transferring to the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated in 1931. In the early 1930s, he worked briefly for a stockbrokerage firm in Baltimore.

During World War II, Mr. Hearne served on the Selective Service Board and later taught in the officer's candidate school at Fort Lee, Va. He was discharged in 1944 with the rank of captain.

Mr. Hearne was a member of the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He served on the board of governors of the Maryland Bar Association and was a past president of the Wicomico County Bar Association. In the 1960s, he was elected to the Maryland Bar Foundation, an honorary organization for attorneys.

His community work included membership in the Salisbury Lions Club and the Benevolent Order of Elks. An avid golfer, Mr. Hearne was a charter member of the Green Hill Yacht & Country Club in Salisbury. He also was a member of the Pompano Beach Golf Club, in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he had a second home.

Services are to be held at 2 p.m. today at Asbury United Methodist Church in Salisbury, where Mr. Hearne was a longtime member.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 50 years, the former Anna Merrill; another son, Charles E. Hearne III of Boston; and two granddaughters.

Memorial donations may be made to the church, 1401 Camden Ave., Salisbury 21801.

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