James Frank Young, 85, of Radnor, a maritime lawyer

James F. Young
James F. Young
Posted: January 12, 2013

James Frank Young, 85, of Radnor, a maritime lawyer and prominent figure in the Port of Philadelphia for many years, died Sunday, Jan. 6, at Bryn Mawr Hospital of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Young was a retired partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild L.L.P. in Philadelphia. His longtime specialty was admiralty law, governing vessel owners and shipping interests.

He handled numerous high-profile marine disasters, including the Jan. 31, 1975, collision of the chemical tanker Edgar M. Queeny with the Liberian tanker Corinthos in Marcus Hook.

The impact, as the Corinthos off-loaded crude oil, caused the vessel to explode in flames, killing 26 crewmen and injuring 11. The Queeny had minor damage, but the Delaware River was awash in oil and property damage ran to more than $20 million.

Mr. Young's son, A. Christopher, then a teenager, recalled that the phone rang in the night. His father was being summoned to the scene by the Queeny's owner. "He went down there," he said. "The litigation went on for years, until the wrongful-death claims were settled with their estates."

Mr. Young was known for his involvement in the Philadelphia port community, serving for 30 years as solicitor and secretary to the board of directors of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay.

The exchange acts like a chamber of commerce for the Delaware, reporting on ship activities and promoting the region, said its president, Dennis Rochford.

Mr. Young was a life member and past president of the Ports of Philadelphia Maritime Society.

At various times, he worked as a lawyer for Krusen, Evans & Byrne; Clark, Ladner, Fortenbaugh & Young; and Fox Rothschild.

Born in Erie, Mr. Young attended Haverford High School before graduating in 1946 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Duke University in 1952, and a law degree from Duke University Law School in 1954.

While serving with the Merchant Marine in 1945, he was sent overseas, and was awarded the Atlantic and Pacific War Zones Medals and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.

He and his wife, the former Jane Dagit, met on a blind date on New Year's Eve 1958. They were married for 54 years and raised a family in Wynnewood, Gladwyne, and Radnor.

In his personal life, Mr. Young did not speak right away, "but when he spoke it was important," his son said.

In 1996, Mr. Young received the Scout Mariner Award, Cradle of Liberty Council, from the Boy Scouts of America; in 2004, the Spirit of the Port Award given by the Seamen's Church Institute; and in 2009, the Ports of Philadelphia Maritime Society Award.

He was a member of the Merion Golf Club, the Union League, and the Down Town Club.

Surviving, in addition to his wife and son, are another son, James Brinkerhoff; daughters Janet Young Spillane and Margaret Young Donohue; and eight grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, 350 Conshohocken State Rd., Gladwyne. Friends may visit at the church after 9 a.m. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Hope Partnership for Education, 1701 N. Eighth St., Philadelphia 19122.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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