Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

George B. Clothier


Obituary, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 23, 1992:

George B. Clothier, 86, a real estate lawyer, a lover of words and a grandson of Isaac H. Clothier, a founder of Strawbridge & Clothier, died Tuesday of heart failure at the Quadrangle, a retirement community in Haverford.

Born in Wynnewood, he attended Haverford School and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1926 and Harvard Har School in 1929.

For more than 50 years, he practiced law with the firm of Edmonds, Obermayer & Rebmann (now Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel), specializing in real estate law.

He was a reader and writer.

He especially enjoyed reading poetry, and in particular the "classical" poetry of Shelley and Keats, said his son, Birchard T. Clothier.

As a writer, he contributed articles to legal journals in Pennsylvania and was a former editor-in-chief of the Shingle, the publication of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Fascinated with words, he wanted to see them used correctly. In the last article he wrote for thePennsylvania Law Journal, he took fellow lawyers to task for failing to use the proper plural of condominium—the subject of the piece. The article was titled "Condonminia Mania.'

He also wrote poetry in the classical style, though none of it was ever published. "He wrote for fun and for enjoyment of his audience—for family, friends and co-workers," his son said.

Much of his father's poetry was written for specific events, Birchard Clotheir said. He rhymed for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings or penned a piece for an after-dinner speech at the Button Club (a segment of the Bachelors Barge Club).

"When he had something, he could do a poem in no time at all," Birchard Clothier said. "He just loved words and worked with them all his life."

He didn't even try to keep his poems together in a notebook or a journal. "They are hither, thither and yon," his son said. He said he had found a half-dozen the day before, scattered through his father's papers.

He said his father had not composed a poem for him since his 50th birthday five years ago. But he did remember fragments of a poem his father had written. It went:

The sea is a wanton maiden
Whose frocks are all frilled with lace,
Torn to the most delicate shreds
In the throes of the rocks' embrace.

Mr. Clothier was a former director of and counsel to the Philadelphia Art Museum and was a former trustee at Swarthmore College.