John P. Judge Sr., 92, former L&I chief

Posted: October 09, 2012

AS A BANKER, John Judge had one guiding principle: to help people own their own homes.

He was an officer of Continental Savings & Loan, and he saw to it that people, mostly in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up, got the loans they needed to fulfill the dream of owning property.

He went on to other banking positions and didn't retire until he was 89, when he was a director of Prudential Bancorp Inc., into which Continental had morphed.

His mission always was to serve the customers and to encourage them to follow his lifelong passion for saving money.

John Patrick Judge Sr., onetime chief of the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections, a Republican ward leader, state official, Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, bankruptcy referee and proud Irishman, died Sept. 29. He was 92 and was living in a nursing home after having lived for years in Mount Airy and Meadowbrook.

John's political activities dated back to his service as a clerk for Bernard Samuels, Philadelphia's last Republican mayor, who served from 1941 to 1952, when the GOP's lengthy hold on the city was broken by the reform movement of Democrats Joseph S. Clark and Richardson Dilworth.

John was the GOP leader of the 50th Ward after the family moved to Mount Airy in the early '50s.

He grew up in West Philadelphia, a son of John Judge and the former Delia Morrison, Irish immigrants. He was forced to drop out of school to help support the family when his father died young.

John entered the Air Corps in 1942. He served in the South Pacific as a photographer, taking aerial photos of bomb targets. He served in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. He attained the rank of sergeant.

"He was always running into men from West Philadelphia," said his daughter, Anna Marie Croney. "He would take their pictures and send them home to their families."

After the war, John married Elizabeth Wellock and went to work for the city as a clerk for Samuels. He later joined the Department of Licenses & Inspections and worked his way up to become chief in 1958.

In 1964, he went to Harrisburg as commissioner of Professional & Occupational Affairs. He worked in the administrations of Republican governors William Scranton and Raymond Shafer.

John "pioneered the movement for reciprocity between states in professional licensing," said his son, John P. Judge Jr., "and was widely regarded as an expert on professional-licensing issues."

After he left state government, John worked for a time in real estate, then joined the old Provident National Bank as vice president. In 1975, he joined Continental Savings & Loan as assistant vice president. In 1983 he became a director, a post he held until 2008, when he resigned and was named director emeritus.

John Judge was much honored for his service, including an award from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Catholic War Veterans.

Along the way, he obtained a license to fly small planes, as well as a private-detective license.

John was active in Catholic causes and often volunteered his services to his original parish, Our Mother of Sorrows, in West Philadelphia.

"He liked to be well-dressed," said his daughter, Anna Marie. "He was most comfortable in a suit and tie and pressed shirt. He enjoyed working and was a natural leader."

Michael P. Meehan, Philadelphia Republican Committee counselor, said that John Judge was a "gentle, quiet man known for his staunch conservative stances and his loyalty to the Republican Party."

John was a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and enjoyed marching in the St. Parick's Day Parade. He and his wife made trips to Ireland and other destinations.

His wife died in 2009. Besides his daughter and son, he is survived by two sisters, Catherine McDermond and Agnes Broccolini; a brother, Thomas J. Judge, chairman emeritus of the Delaware County Republican Committee; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services: Were Friday. Burial was in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Contrbutions in his memory may be made to St. John's Hospice, 1221 Race St., Philadelphia 19107.

Contact John F. Morrison at or 215-854-5573

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