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Bar News - December 13, 2002

In Memoriam - Murphy, Sterling, Carr

Maurice Murphy, Jr.

Former U.S. Senator and Portsmouth attorney Maurice Murphy, Jr., died Oct. 27 in Stratham at the age of 75.

Murphy was born in Dover on Oct. 3, 1927, the son of former Dover Mayor Maurice J. Murphy and Cecilia A. (Myers) Murphy. He graduated from St. Mary's Academy, Dover High School and the College of the Holy Cross. He also served in the U.S. Army.

Murphy earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1953. He was admitted to the NH Bar in 1955 and entered private practice in Dover and later in Portsmouth. He was a member of the NH, Rockingham County and Portsmouth Bar Associations.

Murphy was elected the first legal counsel to the NH State Senate. He also served as chief of staff to Gov. Wesley Powell; as deputy attorney general and attorney general of NH; and as U.S. Senator from NH.

Murphy also served as a corporator of the Portsmouth Hospital, a member of the Portsmouth Economic Commission and a commissioner of the Portsmouth Housing Authority. He was chair of the board of the Portsmouth-Kittery Armed Services Committee, which worked to reverse the closure order for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

After serving as a corporator and trustee of Portsmouth Savings Bank, Murphy was elected chair of the board of trustees and general counsel of the bank, in which positions he served until his retirement in 1988. He is credited with being the moving force behind the successful conversion of the bank from mutual to stock form in difficult economic times.

He was a member of a number of civic organizations in both the Washington, D.C. and Portsmouth areas.

Murphy is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth. The couple made their home in Stratham following his retirement.


Robert W. Sterling

Judge Robert W. Sterling, one of the state's last lay judges, died Nov. 9 at the Hospice House in Concord at the age of 88.

Sterling was born in Hillsborough, the son of Weldon P. and Aura Mae (Crooker) Sterling. He graduated from Hillsborough High School and did not go on to college or law school. He moved to Henniker in 1932 and opened the Sterling Exxon Garage, where he pumped gas seven days a week. He operated the garage from 1946 to 1982.

On Friday nights, though, Sterling dispensed justice in Henniker District Court as one of the state's last lay judges. He was associate justice of Henniker District Court from 1951 to 1963, presiding justice from 1963 to 1984, and continued to serve as one of the last lay judges for several more years.

People were sometimes surprised to see Sterling pumping gas during the day, then donning the judge's robes at night. As a judge, Sterling was known for his fair and honest dealings with those who appeared before him in court. "When he passed sentence, he was always very fair. He always showed respect for the person before him," said Sterling's daughter, Linda Killian, who liked to sit in the back of the courtroom on the nights when her father presided.

"He passed his judgment according to the law. He knew the law as well as any lawyer - absolutely - and then some. He knew as much and sometimes more. Being a lay judge, he also used common sense. He was fair. He was honest and respectful," said Killian in The Union Leader.

Sterling's brother, Walter Sterling, who predeceased him, was also a lay judge, in Hillsborough.

Sterling was a member of the Henniker Congregational Church; treasurer of the Henniker Cemetery Association from 1951 to 2000; a 55-year member and district deputy, grandmaster and grand lecturer, past high priest of the Scottish Rite, Royal Arch of Aurora Masonic Lodge 42 F & AM, Henniker; as well as a long-time member of other Masonic Lodges and posts of the American Legion.

Sterling was predeceased by his wife, Ercel E. (Hall) Sterling, in 1998 and a daughter, Bonita L. Sterling, in 2000. Survivors include two sons, Robert W. Sterling of Goffstown and William A. Sterling of Plymouth; three daughters, Linda L. Killian of Middlesex, NJ and Susan E. Emery and Kathleen A. Hadley, both of Henniker; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

(The Union Leader contributed to this report.)


Robert E. Carr

Robert E. Carr, who practiced law for 30 years at the Derry firm of Grinnell & Bureau, died Dec. 1 at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston at the age of 58.

Carr was born in Swampscott, Mass. on April 7, 1944, the son of E. Morgan and Dorothy (Hayes) Carr. He was a graduate of Boston Latin School, Farifield University and Boston College Law School. He was admitted to the NH Bar in 1970 and began his career with the State of New Hampshire Legislative Services before joining Grinnell & Bureau.

Carr was a resident of Londonderry for the past 33 years. He served as legal counsel for the town of Londonderry for 20 years. In addition to being a member of the NH Bar, he was also a member of the American and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

He served on the Londonderry School Board, Londonderry Charter Commission and Manchester Airport Authority.

Carr was a recreation coach for youth athletic teams in Londonderry. He was also a lector at St. Mark Church in Londonderry, where he and his family were original parishioners.

Family members include his wife, Kathleen A. (Cleary) Carr of Londonderry; three sons, Edward R. Carr, Thomas W. Carr and Morgan R. Carr; and a brother, T. Morgan Carr.

In memory of our colleagues Maurice Murphy, Jr. and Robert E. Carr, the New Hampshire Bar Association's Board of Governors has contributed to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, 112 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301.



Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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