An Opportunity to Share Fond Memories
This morning, Camden County Bar Association members who passed away during the past year were remembered and memorialized at the Bar's “Opening of Court” Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony is an annual tradition in Camden County and this year the presenters remembered 10 members of of the bar who passed in the previous year. Many of the family members and friends of those being remembered are in attendance every year. This year was no different. Those being memorialized and remembered this year were: Peter N. Fiorentino, Jr; Hon. I.V. DiMartino; Cheryl B. Todd (CCBA Staff Member for 31 years); Elizabeth A. Hallowell; Patrick H. Ronga, Sr.; Edward C. Laird; Andrew Zeldin; Hon. Dominick J. Ferrelli; Hon. John McFeeley, III and Blaine E. Capehart. I was honored to be asked to provide some thoughts and comments in remembrance of Elizabeth A. Hallowell. Below are my comments, as prepared, remembering Elizabeth A. Hallowell. Elizabeth Hallowell, or Betsy as I knew her, past at the much too young age of 53. She is survived by her husband, Jack Severson. Betsy was a graduate of Collingswood High School and Rutgers University Douglas College. The practice of law was not Betsy's first career. Her first career was a journalist working for the Philadelphia Inquirer which is where she met her husband Jack. She later began to work for Akron Beacon-Journal, where she covered the news of the courts. This is what ultimately inspired her to enroll at the University of Akron School of Law. She eventually returned home to Camden County to care for her parents. Betsy was an active member of the Laurel Springs community. To say she was a community organizers is an understatement. She was passionate and quick to tell you how she felt about the issues that mattered most to her. She was a feminist, a democrat, and a constant advocate for what she termed “the little guy”. Not surprisingly she was the municipal chair for the Democrat party in Laurel Springs. Truth be told ….. she was the Democrat party in Laurel Springs. Without Betsey's leadership and constant passion for politics there would have been no Democrat party in Laurel Springs. Betsey was also passionate about her position on the Laurel Springs joint Zoning and Planning Board. That is where I met her and had an opportunity to get to know her. In 2005 I started working as the solicitor of that board. Now you may suspect Betsey and I had nothing in common. That would be wrong. I'm not saying that we even shared one political ideal … we did not. Our relationship was based on a mutual respect and a focus on what we had in common. We both were graduates of Rutgers, we both cared about our community and we both were small firm lawyers. Betsey who was a late in life lawyer would often ask me to share my thoughts on being a lawyer. The questions would range from, which word processing program do you use in your office?, Who do you use for Malpractice insurance?, Should I join the Bar Association? She also vocal about what she called the high cost of representation. She could not believe what big law firms charged. She often asked to me, “How could the average Laurel Springs person afford representation?” Betsey, consistent with her help the little guy mantra, was determined to help anyone who need representation. As a solo practitioner, she focused on wills trusts and estates but would help anyone who had a problem and needed a lawyer. And most importantly to her … at at fee they could afford. Betsey was Everyone's Neighborhood Lawyer. So while this is a sad day for her family and our association. It is a truly sad day for the neighborhood people who counted on Elizabeth Hallowell.