The Barrister Fall 2017 - 5

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President's Message

REMEMBERING SOME
GOOD EXAMPLES

W

hen I wrote my last President's
message, my proposed title
was "Your President is on
Summer Vacation." Our Executive
Director changed the title because it
is his opinion that the Bar Association
President is never on vacation. This time I
have chosen what I think is a more serious
subject, although while I always hope
to have issues of great legal weight and
significance to discuss, this time also finds
me musing in a nostalgic vein.
It was suggested to me that I should
write a column about my father who
practiced law for many years in Reading.
As my father was the first in the line of Bar
Presidents to pass me the gavel a year ago,
I find a certain symmetry in coming back
to him in my last column. That led me to
think of the many other fine lawyers of our
Association and the example they provide
for us all. Knowing my father's biography
better than those others, he will have to
serve as an example for all in this article.
Ralph J. Althouse, Jr. was born in
Emmaus, Pennsylvania in 1931. This was
during the height, or depth, if you prefer,
of the Great Depression. While living in
straitened circumstances, the Althouse

family was able to survive the Depression
without tragic consequences, although my
father was left with a lifelong aversion to
potato soup. That led me to believe there
was not always plentitude in the Althouse
residence, despite my father's firmly held
belief that Emmaus was a sparkling light
in the universe.
The youngest of five children, by a
considerable margin, he attended Emmaus
High School. He was the first of his
family to graduate from high school. So
far as I know, from the descriptions he has
given me over the years, Emmaus High
School was an institution of learning on
par with Oxford or the Sorbonne. All of
the children were above average and the
teachers were all apparently either nuclear
physicists, Rhodes scholars or both.
Being from a family of modest means,
he had no real inkling that he would
go to college. Fortunately, a neighbor
took an interest in him and suggested
otherwise. My father was 6'7" and played
basketball for the Emmaus High School
team. As a result of these talents, he was
able to attend Muhlenberg College on a
partial basketball scholarship and a partial
academic scholarship. I have the feeling
that college tuition didn't cost quite as
much then as it does now.

In college, my father met my mother
and romance blossomed. Upon graduating
from college, my father was called to public
service. Although the Korean War was
not in an active shooting phase, there was
an armistice and no one really expected
it to last 50 plus years. Accordingly, the
Army was beefing up its numbers and my
father joined many young men who found
themselves in khaki.
During basic training, my father met
a fellow basketball player, Pete Carrill,
who played basketball at Lafayette and
went on to be the famed coach of Reading
High and Princeton. He and my father
were acquainted from competing against
each other. Pete contacted my father and
assured him that he would not have to go
overseas; but instead Pete was forming a
team that would go up and down the East
coast playing at Army bases, against the
local teams; assuring him that life would be
easy with no reason to acquire a taste for
kimchi. A couple of days later, my father
received orders to report to Korea.
Fortunately, there was no real shooting.
Almost as fortunately, as a morale building
tactic, the Army decided that a team of
college basketball players would be formed
and would go around playing at various
service bases around the country. That
idyllic life was not to last as a serpent
entered the garden. A congressman on
tour found out that some basketball players
were having an easy time of it while his
son was sitting around in a trench. The
basketball tour was over and the team
dispersed to more serious duties.
My father then received orders to
report to an army hospital as a clerk.
He claims that he was like Radar from
MASH, but for anyone who has ever met
my father, that is very hard to picture.
Continued on page 6
Fall 2017 | 5


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The Barrister Fall 2017

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