C. Clark Hodgson Jr., lawyer for many decades

Posted: April 20, 2013

C. Clark Hodgson Jr., 73, of Center City, a lawyer who spent more than 40 years in private practice, died Monday, April 15, of cancer at his home.

Mr. Hodgson, who specialized in commercial and securities litigation, was former chairman and senior partner at the law firm of Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, where his father, C. Clark Sr., also had been a partner.

In 1987, Mr. Hodgson successfully defended Shearson Lehman Bros. Inc., then the nation's third-largest brokerage, in a federal criminal jury trial in Philadelphia against charges of conspiring to launder more than $1.1 million in illegal gambling profits.

Representing Waste Management Inc., he also successfully challenged New Jersey's Solid Waste Act as unconstitutional.

In the early 1980s, he defended Valley Forge Christian College before the U.S. Supreme Court in a high-profile case centering on the First Amendment's "establishment clause." The court ruled, 5-4, that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims.

In that courtroom, he met Denise Daher, whom he later married.

Mr. Hodgson was born Sept. 25, 1939, in Philadelphia, the son of C. Clark Hodgson Sr. and Helen D. Hodgson.

He was raised in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill. He was the brother of the late Montgomery County Court President Judge Richard Hodgson.

He graduated from La Salle College High School in 1957 and earned a bachelor's degree in history at the College of the Holy Cross in 1961.

Three years later, he graduated from Villanova University School of Law, where he was editor in chief of the Law Review.

After law school, Mr. Hodgson clerked for Judge Thomas J. Clary, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In 1965, he joined his father in practice at Stradley Ronon. Mr. Hodgson mentored many lawyers at the firm.

"In every meaningful way, Clark was the heart, soul, and foundation of the firm," said William R. Sasso, the firm's chairman.

Mr. Hodgson was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1994 and was named a fellow of the International College of Trial Lawyers in 1999.

He retired from full-time practice in 2006 and continued to serve as senior counsel.

Mr. Hodgson later taught Latin at Regina Coeli Academy in Wyndmoor. "His passion was teaching and speaking Latin," his wife said.

He was a member of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Center City. He was on the boards of several charitable and educational organizations, including the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and La Salle College High School.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Hodgson is survived by daughters Cathleen Hylton, Kristin, and Elizabeth Armstrong; a son, Clark III; a brother; and a sister.

A viewing will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. Friday, April 19, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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