Judge's courage, humor, how he helped others remembered More than 400 attend service for Hargrove

April 06, 1997|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Senior U.S. District Judge John R. Hargrove Sr. was remembered yesterday for his dignity, courage and refreshing humor as he forged a model legal career during a period of great racial transition in Baltimore and the nation.

More than 400 well-wishers and mourners, many of them from the state's legal and political establishment, gathered at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where Cardinal William H. Keeler presided over a Mass of Christian burial for Hargrove, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at 73.

Many stood in line for more than 30 minutes to view Hargrove's body and offer a hug or words of comfort to his wife, Shirley, and other family members.

'One of the most decent'

"John Hargrove was simply one of the most decent and good human beings I have ever known in my life," said Baltimore Circuit Administrative Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan.

He was one of a dozen speakers delivering moving eulogies for the judge, who over four decades cleared a path in Maryland legal circles for fellow African-Americans.

Judge Robert F. Sweeney, retired chief of the Maryland District Court, recalled in his eulogy that Hargrove was not only a skillful lawyer and judge, but a man with a noticeable and well-regarded compassionate side who often went out of his way to help others in need.

'Great sense of humor'

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, who served on the federal bench with Hargrove for 12 years, said, "He had a great sense of humor and a sense of human nature that was profound."

Many said that Hargrove's most likely legacy is his tireless mentoring of young lawyers and law students who worked for him when he was deputy U.S. attorney in Baltimore or as law clerks or interns after he was appointed to the bench.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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