Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Joseph C. Thackery

Washington, D.C.

Joseph C. Thackery was retired from his position with the National Labor Relations Board as an appellate attorney when we first corresponded with him and secured his permission to include some of his poems in the Legal Studies Forum. We were distressed to learn in January, 2008 that Mr. Thackery died last year at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. [Obituaries, Washington Post, Saturday, January 27, 2007; Page B06] Thackery was 92; he died of congestive heart failure.

At the NLRB, Mr. Thackery was a trial attorney in Pittsburgh and Atlanta; he began serving as an appellate lawyer with the NLRB, in Washington D.C. in 1960.

Thackery was born in Camden, Arkansas and grew up on a farm near Urbana, Ohio. He was a graduate of Marietta College in Ohio, and Duke University Law School.

During World War II, Thackery joined the Army, served for a year, then joined the Navy. He participated in the invasions of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

It was, according to the Washington Post, obituary: "After retiring, he received a master of arts degree in creative writing from American University in 1974 and taught there for three years. He was author of a Washington Writers' Publishing House poetry collection 'The Dark Above Mad River' and of about 20 published short stories. He was also an amateur oil and watercolor painter."

Thackery, in personal communication with James R. Elkins, indicated that he took up the writing of poetry when he moved to Washington, D.C. in 1960.

Legal Studies Forum


Joseph Thackery, The Dark Above Mad River (Washington, D.C.: Washington Writers' Publishing House, 1992)