Myron L. Wolfson, 80, lawyer, veteran

October 10, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Myron Leonard Wolfson, a decorated World War II veteran and lawyer who won the confidence of the Gypsy community and handled its legal business, died of complications from diabetes Oct. 3 at Brightwood Rehabilitation Center. The Randallstown resident was a day short of his 81st birthday.

Born in Baltimore, he attended Windsor Hills Elementary School and graduated from Charlotte Hall Military Academy in Southern Maryland. His studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, were interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army, became a lieutenant, and fought in France, Belgium and Germany.

"Although I was very young, I was thoroughly indoctrinated into military discipline," Mr. Wolfson said of his education for author Michael H. Rogers' 2002 Johns Hopkins Press book, Answering Their Country's Call: Marylanders in World War II. "I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father, who was a lieutenant in the First World War, and honestly, I didn't know anything else I wanted to do."

Mr. Wolfson was wounded by shrapnel when an enemy shell exploded in densely planted trees at the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. He received a Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars for valor and the Silver Star.

"It's easy to get killed in combat," he said in the book. "And when men I knew died, I just walked on. There was nothing I could do to bring them back and I got used to seeing death. ... Even the best and bravest of men could lose their composure for a while."

As Mr. Wolfson crossed the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine River, the canteen he was wearing was blown off his hip by flying shrapnel. He then helped liberate the Nordhausen concentration camp.

"We went to the nearby village and inquired if they had known what was happening at the camp. They all swore they hadn't ... but I didn't believe a single one of them," he said.

"The real heroes of the Second World War were every dog-faced soldier who picked up a gun and went to the line every day," he said.

Mr. Wolfson remained in the reserves until retiring in 1965 as a lieutenant colonel.

"Part of his life was defined by his years in military service," said his wife of 56 years, the former Emily Corney.

After the war, he was awarded his bachelor's degree by the University of Maryland and earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore. He practiced initially with his father in downtown Baltimore. In 1960, he moved what became a solo law practice to Towson.

Within a few years, he began defending members of Maryland's Gypsy community. His reputation soon spread and he had Gypsy clients across the country.

"The Gypsies were the flamboyant part of his practice," his wife said. "The rest was nuts and bolts: some criminal work, ordinary contracts and divorces."

She said he had a knack for drawing people out and establishing trust with them. She said he had extensive knowledge of tribes and ethnic groups.

"He was an accepting lawyer who treated his clients fairly," she said.

A hunter, he shot wild geese, duck, pheasant and deer.

Services were held Tuesday.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Carl Bruce Wolfson, and a daughter, Jean Wolfson, both of the Baltimore area; and three grandchildren.

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