A. Lawrence Washburn Jr.
1935-2013 Larry Washburn, a retired New York lawyer, and a resident of Dorset, Vermont for the past 30 years, died on October 13 at Rutland Regional Medical Center. The cause of death was complications of Parkinson's disease. Born Arthur Lawrence Washburn Jr. in New York on Dec. 31, 1935 to Dr. Arthur L. Washburn and his wife, the former Sona de Got, Larry was raised in Manhattan with his five sisters. He attended Manhattan's Loyola School (Class '54), and graduated from Fairfield University ('59) and New York University School of Law ('66). First a high-school basketball star, then a frequent collegiate actor, his professional and personal life would be marked by enormous generosity. After admission to the bar, he was an associate at two Wall Street law firms, the first, Sullivan, Donovan, Hanrahan, McGovern & Lane, where he began the bond work he dearly loved because it was "so positive," versus the contentiousness of litigation. At the second, Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, again as a bond lawyer, he was (as he once described it) "on the team holding the city together with their fingers" throughout the New York fiscal crisis in 1975-6. During his Wall Street days, Washburn was one of three lawyers -- with Prof. Robert M. Byrn and Thomas J. Ford -- who brought the test case, Byrn v. NYC Health and Hospitals Corp., challenging New York's liberal abortion law. Byrn argued against abortion based on the humanity of the unborn child. The New York Court of Appeals decision saw the unborn child as human -- but unprotected. Byrn was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court chose instead to hear Doe v. Bolton and Roe v. Wade, when it legalized abortion nationwide. In 1976 he began his own legal practice, which included a number of major cases. His most widely publicized case was Weber v. Stony Brook Hospital (1983), known in the press as "the Baby Jane Doe case." Weber and another Baby Doe case around the same time prompted new federal protections for handicapped newborns in 1984. Largely vilified for what was seen by many as interference in a family's decision against surgery for their severely handicapped infant, Washburn had been sanctioned and fined by the court. The sanction and fine were later stricken because the child's parents had subsequently sought the surgery that was Weber's object. The child was known in the legal papers as the anonymous "Baby Jane Doe,' and the case given that label. But after the little girl's name, Keri-Lynn, belatedly became public, Washburn only referred to her by her own name. A past member of the board of the New York Guild of Catholic Lawyers, Elizabeth Seton College, the Acorn Montessori School, and other organizations, he was a longtime member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and of the ABCNY Pro Bono Society. He retired formally in December 2012, but was still involved in a few pro bono cases. In Manchester, Vermont he was a volunteer for the Community Food Cupboard and Neighbor to Neighbor. Mr. Washburn is survived by his wife, the former Susanne Quinn Schuppel, whom he married in 1961, and by a daughter Katha Brooks Washburn of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, a son Arthur Lawrence Washburn III and his daughter Gina of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and a son Niall Quin Washburn, his wife Amy Drucker, their son Quinn and Ms. Drucker's son Jacob of Katonah, New York. He was predeceased by two sisters, Elisabeth Deihle of Brewster, New York and Joan Coyle of Darien, Connecticut. Three other sisters survive him Nancy van Voorhees of West Palm Beach, Florida, Cornelia Granger of Oakland, New Jersey, and Camilla Donnelly of Louisville, Colorado together with a large extended family. FUNERAL NOTICE: A funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, October 21 at 11 a.m. at The Conversion of St. Paul Catholic Church in Manchester Ctr., Vt. Calling hours are scheduled at the Brewster Funeral Home in Manchester Ctr., Vt. on Sunday, October 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Community Food Cupboard (P.O. Box 864, Manchester Ctr., Vt. 05255) would be appreciated. To send the family personal email condolences, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com
Published in The Manchester Journal from Oct. 25 to Nov. 15, 2013
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