Michael Lincoln Strong, 81, lawyer

Michael L. Strong
Michael L. Strong
Posted: October 24, 2012

Michael Lincoln Strong of Bryn Mawr, a commercial real estate lawyer who was active in urban renewal in Philadelphia, died of pneumonia at Bryn Mawr Hospital on Sunday, Oct. 14, five days before his 82d birthday.

Mr. Strong was born in London to a British father and American mother who divorced when he was very young. In 1941, after their house had been bombed in the Blitzkrieg, he and his mother sailed for America on the last passenger ship to leave Ireland before the United States entered World War II.

Mr. Strong became a U.S. citizen in 1946. He graduated from Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1952. He then served in the Air Force in Florida and Morocco.

After his discharge, he earned a law degree from Yale and was awarded the jurisprudence prize when he graduated in 1958.

He and his wife, Ann L. Strong, who also earned a law degree from Yale, were introduced by a mutual friend in New Haven and married in 1954. They decided to pursue careers in Philadelphia after hearing the mayor, Richardson Dilworth, speak at Yale Law School, his alma mater.

"We were impressed with Dilworth's plans to revitalize the city," Ann Strong said.

When he and his wife moved to Philadelphia in 1958, Mr. Strong joined the firm of Saul Ewing. He specialized in commercial real estate, and his clients included John Wanamaker department stores and First Pennsylvania Bank. In the 1960s, he served as president of the Citizens' Council on City Planning. He was also president of the Philadelphia Housing Association, now the Housing Association of Delaware Valley, an advocate for affordable, nondiscriminatory housing programs.

Mr. Strong retired as a partner with Saul Ewing in the mid-1990s.

An eclectic scholar, he held intellectual interests including scientific research, mathematics, and the study of Greek mythology. He spent years exploring the evolution of Islamic concepts and amassed a substantial collection of books on the subject, his wife said.

Mr. Strong enjoyed playing tennis with friends at the Merion Cricket Club and traveling with his wife, especially to Provence, France, where they had close friends. He was fluent in French and also spoke Russian.

The Strongs were longtime residents of Devon before moving six years ago to Beaumont, a retirement community in Bryn Mawr.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Strong is survived by sons Mark and Christopher; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A remembrance gathering will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Beaumont, 601 N. Ithan Ave., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.

Donations may be made to the Beaumont Fund for Landscaping at the above address.

Contact Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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