Carter R. Buller, 80, chair of Phila. law firm

Carter R. Buller
Carter R. Buller
Posted: January 13, 2014

Carter R. Buller, 80, of Center City, a lawyer, civic leader, and chair of the Philadelphia law firm Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads L.L.P., died Wednesday, Jan. 8, of kidney failure at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Starting in 1962, Mr. Buller practiced at Montgomery McCracken for his entire career.

"He was going until the end," said his son, Pierce. "His last title was 'of senior counsel.' "

As a partner in the firm, Mr. Buller served in many management capacities. He chaired the firm from 1992 to 1996. He founded and chaired the firm's labor and employment law department and guided its move from offices on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to its current location at 123 S. Broad St.

He was particularly proud to represent Bryn Mawr College, the Budd Co., and Mack Trucks Inc., whose plant was near his boyhood home.

Born in Allentown, Mr. Buller graduated from Allentown High School and in 1955 from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. After three years as a supply officer in the Navy, and graduation from Yale Law School, he signed on with Montgomery McCracken.

Asked why his father liked the law, his son said: "His organized and analytical mind was drawn to the law's complexities and the possibility of fairness."

Mr. Buller was active in civic life. He was chair of the Committee of Seventy; the Society Hill Civic Association; and, by request of Mayor Ed Rendell, the Philadelphia Orchestra Millennium Task Force following labor turmoil.

He also served as chair of the board of trustees of Methodist Hospital, where he received the 1998 Dr. Scott Stewart Award for service, and was a trustee and trustee emeritus of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

"He took great pleasure in addressing the intricacies of health-care administration," his family said in a statement.

Mr. Buller's last volunteer post was on the zoning committee of the Society Hill association, from which he resigned three months ago.

During summers, Mr. Buller enjoyed the family cottage in Eagles Mere, Pa., where he loved kayaking and socializing. At various times, he chaired the Eagles Mere Lake Association, Eagles Mere Park Association, and Eagles Mere Conservancy.

A noted equestrian, Mr. Buller took off a year from law school in 1959 to train for the 1960 Olympic Games. He and his horse, Stay Put, served as an alternate for the U.S. equestrian team. The horse was named for the family's cottage.

His favorite avocations were worldwide travel with his family, historic preservation, music, outdoor life, antiques, farms, and fine clothes. Family, friends, and civic responsibility were his passions.

A gentle man, he was refined, generous, honest, patient, and funny, his family said.

Surviving, besides his son, are his wife of 49 years, the former Jo Ann Nowak; a daughter, Valerie; two granddaughters; and a brother.

Services and burial will be private.

Donations may be made to the Jefferson Foundation of Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals, 125 S. Ninth St., Suite 700, Philadelphia 19107, or via


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