Honorable William Lipsett (z'l)
Honorable William W. Lipsitt
William W. Lipsitt, 92, of Harrisburg passed away on Saturday, August 1st,
2009 at Community General Osteopathic Hospital.
He was born in Harrisburg on August 2nd, 1916 to the late Henry and Emma
Judge Lipsitt is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, May Y. Lipsitt;
four step sons, Richard Miller of Pottsville, Steven Miller of Harrisburg,
David Miller and his wife Sammie of Harrisburg, James Miller and his wife
Erin of Wormleysburg; one brother, Robert Lipsitt and his wife Jean of
Florida; two nephews, Henry Lipsitt of San Antonio, TX, Michael Lipsitt of
Atlanta, GA; niece Nancy Otto of Austin, TX, and his twelve loving
grandchildren, Jason, Melissa, Samantha, Robert, Jessica, Ryne, Ian, Sophie,
Jacob, and Ella Miller, and Haley and Casey Fritz. The Judge also leaves
behind his loving and faithful caretaker, Carol Warren.
Judge William W. Lipsitt attended William Penn High School in Harrisburg.
He graduated from Harvard College in 1938, where he played varsity football
and from Harvard School of Law in 1941. He excelled in his studies and he
also attended Oxford University. He was admitted to practice before the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Superior Court and various Federal
Courts. He was a member of the law firms of Shelley, Reynolds and Lipsitt,
later Reynolds and Lipsitt, and former Solicitor for the Sheriff of Dauphin
In June 1965 Governor William Scranton appointed him a Judge of the Court of
Common Pleas of Dauphin County. In November of 1965 he was elected to a
full ten year term on the bench and was returned in a retention election in
November 1975 for an additional ten year term. It was noted by the Dauphin
County Court of Common Pleas Judges that during Judge Lipsitt's years on the
bench, he "... conducted some of the most famous trials in Dauphin County
history, including the infamous '666' lottery fix trial (which was made into
a movie), the Jay Smith murder trial (which was recounted in a best-selling
novel and TV movie), and early Three Mile Island litigation." Upon his
retirement in 1986, he continued to preside over cases throughout
Pennsylvania as a Senior Judge until he retired for the second time in
December 2002. He then joined his step-son, James A Miller, and formed
Miller Lipsitt, LLC, serving in the capacity as "Of Counsel." He also
taught as an Adjunct Law Professor at Dickinson Law School.
Judge Lipsitt served in the United States Army in World War II and the
Korean War and fought in the European theatre for 44 months. He earned the
rank of First Lieutenant, receiving the bronze star and the campaign medal.
Judge Lipsitt was a member of the Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and American
Bar Associations, Beth El Temple, former President of the Keystone Area
Council of Boy Scouts of America, National Jewish Committee on Scouting,
Harrisburg Lodge # 12 B.P.O. Elks; Harrisburg VFW Post # 1086, American
Legion, Jewish War Veterans Post # 97, Salem Lodge # 26 B'nai B'rith, and
past chairman of the Tri-County Welfare Council.
The Judge was a former member and president of the Harrisburg School Board,
a former member of the board of Trustees of the Harrisburg Public Library,
past president of the Harvard Club of Central Pennsylvania, a past secretary
and treasurer for the Optimist Club of Harrisburg; past member of the
Executive Committee, United Jewish Community of Harrisburg, a national
delegate to the American Jewish Committee, a member of the Royal Arcanum,
American Technion Society, Paxton Lodge # 798 F. & A.M., Harrisburg
Consistory, Zembo Temple, National Sojourners, Tuesday Club of Harrisburg,
Greater West Shore Area Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania Society of New
York, Harrisburg Council Navy League of the U.S. and was former member of
the Board of Managers of the Harrisburg Hospital.
Judge Lipsitt earned and held many important titles and positions thru out
his life. Two that he held to be the most important were Eagle Scout with
the Boy Scouts of America and the one he treasured and held dearest was that
In honor of Judge Lipsitt's 90th birthday, the Judges of the Dauphin County
Court of Common Pleas in 2006 proclaimed "Throughout his legal career he
earned and kept the esteem and respect of the bench, bar, and community for
his legal scholarship, work ethic, vision, wit, gentility, and compassion;
and was well known for his personal charm, marvelous sense of humor, love of
literature, art, theatre, sports, and good conversation."
Funeral services will be held on August 4th, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at Beth El
Cemetery Chapel, 1100 S. Progress Avenue, Harrisburg. Rabbi Eric Cytryn and
Rabbi Peter Kessler will be co-officiating. Burial will be in the Beth El
Arrangements by Hetrick Funeral Home, 3125 Walnut Street, Harrisburg.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to the Keystone Area
Council of Boy Scouts of America, One Baden Powell Lane, Mechanicsburg, PA
17050, the Beth El Temple Building Fund, 2637 North Front Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17110 and/or the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg, 4000
Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112