Several of the cases Mr. Thistle successfully litigated were profiled in The Inquirer. In 1982, he sued the Abington School District on behalf of a 16-year-old boy who lost the use of his arms and legs after a fall in the Abington High School gymnasium. In 1994, he represented the family of a man who died of AIDS after receiving contaminated blood during heart-bypass surgery at Graduate Hospital. In 1999, he represented a woman who acquired a serious lung disease after taking the diet pill Pondimin.
He had great sympathy for his clients and became emotionally involved with his cases, his wife, Christina Koziel Thistle, said.
The son of a lawyer, Mr. Thistle grew up in South Philadelphia. He graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School, where he was a member of the crew team, and he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1967.
He served on the boards of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and Mount St. Joseph Academy in Philadelphia.
Mr. Thistle met his future wife at a party, and they married in 1970. They raised three children in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, where he coached youth soccer. Later, he attended his son's rowing events at St. Joseph's Preparatory School and at the University of Pennsylvania, and his daughter Laura's field hockey games at Georgetown University.
He enjoyed long-distance running and participating in marathons, playing Beatles songs on the guitar, and spending time with extended family in Cape May, where he and his wife had a summer home.
In addition to his wife, son, and daughter, Mr. Thistle is survived by another daughter, Stephanie; three sisters; and a brother.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. at Old St. Joseph's Church, 321 Willings Alley. Friends may call from 8 a.m.
Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.