LeRoy S. Oelschlager, 85; was Montco district judge

LeRoy S. Oelschlager
LeRoy S. Oelschlager
Posted: April 26, 2013

LeRoy Slemmer Oelschlager, 85, of Green Lane, a retired district judge in Montgomery County, died Sunday, April 21, of heart failure at Pottstown Memorial Hospital.

Judge Oelschlager retired in 1988 at age 60 after 18 years as the most prominent symbol of justice in the Upper Perkiomen Valley. His career in the judiciary began in 1962, when he was elected justice of the peace for Red Hill.

At that time, each town had up to two justices of the peace, who were revered by residents. They made a living from fees collected from defendants and those involved in civil cases whose cases they heard.

When the justice of the peace system was scrapped in 1970, in response to pressure from the federal government, Judge Oelschlager ran successfully as a Republican for a six-year term as District Judge. He twice won reelection.

As judge, he heard everything from spats between neighbors to motor violations and cases involving petty thieves.

"I thought I tried to be fair and open-minded to both sides," he told the Allentown Morning Call in 1988 in a retirement interview. "That's what the system is all about. You shouldn't be obligated to anybody."

As a younger man, the judge worked for truck-trailer manufacturers, including as assistant service manager for Fruehauf Corp. in Philadelphia.

He was born in Telford, a son of Ephraim Y. and Katie U. Slemmer Oelschlager. Judge Oelschlager received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Pennsylvania State University.

The first lower-court judge in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, he also served for three years as the county's senior district court judge.

On retiring, he received a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for "five decades of dedicated and distinguished service to the Upper Perkiomen Valley."

He was a life member and past president of the Upper Perkiomen Lions Club. Within the club, he served as district governor and state convention representative for District 14-R, and was a life member of the Pennsylvania Lions Laser Center. He received numerous awards for his work with the Lions.

He was a member and past secretary of the Upper Salford and Red Hill Fire Companies. He served as a Marlborough Township supervisor from January 1998 to October 2000.

Judge Oelschlager was a member of Advent Lutheran Church in Harleysville and a past president and board member of the Old Goshenhoppen Cemetery Association.

He was the husband of the former Doris Jane Lynch. The two met on a double date when she was a student nurse at Montgomery Hospital.

Surviving, in addition to his wife of 63 years, are sons LeRoy Mark, Richard, and Russell; daughters Janet Pescatore, Judith Formalarie, and Patricia Tachayapong; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 25, at Advent Lutheran Church, 470 Landis Rd., Harleysville, Pa. 19438. A viewing will be from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church. Interment will be in Old Goshenhoppen Cemetery, Woxall.

Contributions may be made to the church Memorial Fund at the above address. Condolences to the family may be offered at www.falkfuneralhomes.com.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook

at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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