William Goldman, 94, lawyer

William L. Goldman Sr.
William L. Goldman Sr.
Posted: September 25, 2013

William L. Goldman Sr., 94, a longtime lawyer in Bucks County, died Monday, Sept. 16, of heart failure at Pine Run Community in Doylestown.

Raised in West Philadelphia, Mr. Goldman was a child of the Great Depression who worked as a waiter in his father's saloon. He sold programs at Franklin Field and later went door to door, peddling vacuum cleaners, Bibles, U.S. Savings Bonds, and tombstones.

Mr. Goldman studied business law at Temple University, and after earning a bachelor's degree in 1942, volunteered to join the Navy.

"I picked the Navy because I wanted clean white sheets when I went to bed at night; I didn't want to sleep in the mud," he told R. Kurt Osenlund, a writer for BucksLocalNews.com, in 2010.

He served in World War II as a Navy pilot from 1943 to 1947, and was honorably discharged in November 1956 from the reserve with the rank of lieutenant commander. He ended up piloting Navy airships because pilots were needed, although he hadn't even known the military had such aircraft. The goal was to watch over American cargo boats making their way through enemy-infested waters.

He had wanted to go to sea, but was turned down due to flat feet and a slight overbite. He questioned the finding, saying he would neither "stomp" nor "bite" the enemy, but his fate as a blimp pilot was sealed.

Mr. Goldman trained at Lakehurst, N.J., and was transferred in 1944 to Amapa, Brazil. At the time, many U.S. ships were carrying bauxite ore from Paraguay, needed to make aluminum, a valuable wartime commodity.

Under his watch on the blimp, no ship was attacked by enemy submarines, Mr. Goldman said.

While still with the Navy Reserve, Mr. Goldman completed his degree at Temple Law School in 1951. He specialized in commercial law and criminal defense from offices in Doylestown.

"Over the next 60 years, Bill earned a reputation as an accomplished and hardworking attorney, respected by his peers, who fought the good fight for his clients," his family said in a statement.

He married the former Jean Marie Beneski on July 5, 1947. They met in the Navy, where she was serving as a nurse with the rank of lieutenant junior grade. The two made their home in Doylestown. She died in 2006.

Surviving are sons William Jr. and Robert; daughters Jan O'Connor, Lee Kolbe, and Jeanne Haeckel; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services were Friday, Sept. 20, with interment in Doylestown Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Doylestown Hospital, 595 W. State St., Doylestown, Pa. 18901, or Doylestown Post 175, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Box 1533, Doylestown, Pa. 18901.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8102 or bcook@phillynews.com.

 

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