Arthur Pratt Gottwald died after a short illness on the morning of March 24, 2014 at the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, MA. Born on December 28, 1920 in Everett, MA, he was the loving son of the late George J. Gottwald Sr. and Freda (Pratt) Gottwald. Brother of the late Dr. George J. Gottwald Jr. of Washington State. Brother of Natalie (Gottwald) Somers of Arlington, MA. He moved with his family to Arlington in 1929. A graduate of the Arlington High Class of 1938, during World War 2 he served with the Army Air Corps, Office of Scientific Research and Development. Notably, he worked for General William Wild Bill Donovan, who is best remembered as the wartime head of the OSS, a precursor to the CIA. Mr. Gottwald received a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Biology from Tufts University. He was awarded a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gottwald entered the private practice of Law in Alexandria, Virginia in 1952 and practiced successfully there until 1965, during which year he served as Escheator for the City of Alexandria. In 1965 he was appointed a Special Justice for the City of Alexandria, VA for a term beginning January 1, 1966. Reappointed, he continued to serve in that capacity through December 1975. By order of the Circuit Court of Alexandria dated December 22, 1975 he was appointed Chief Special Magistrate for the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria, VA. He continued in that role as Chief Magistrate until his retirement on January 31, 2001 at the age of 80. During that time he was instrumental in the successful development of the State Magistrate System as it now exists. He also oversaw the unification of the City of Alexandrias Magistrate System with the State Magistrate System. Until his retirement he served as the only Chief Magistrate for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. He served with great distinction, and brought the office of the Magistrate from the manual typewriter into the age of cyberspace. In his spare time Mr. Gottwald had many interests. He was very proud of his family heritage, and spent over thirty years researching his family tree. He became a member of many genealogical organizations: Society of Mayflower Descendants, Sons of the American Revolution and Descendants of Colonial Clergy to name a few. He could trace his bloodline to Kings, Noblemen, Presidents, poets as well as Saint Margaret of Scotland. He was also very proud of his Gottwald family legacy. His grandfather, Lt. George J. Gottwald was killed in the infamous Merrimac St. Fire of 1898 along with 5 other Boston Firefighters. For the last 120 years a member of the Gottwald family has served with the Boston Fire Department. A master in the art of horticulture, in the summertime he would decorate the grounds of a family cottage in Maine. Flowers, plants, trees and shrubs were his artists tools. People would stop by as he gardened to comment on his arrangements. He was always happy to share his secrets, as well as his time - Any excuse to chat and make a new friend. A man of dignity, class and education, his family remembers him as a very warm human being. He traveled back to Arlington every summer to spend time with his Somers/Gottwald family. He loved people and he loved to laugh. A generous man, he helped family and friends as well as anyone that he thought could use it. He was for the underdog, and treated people with respect and kindness. He had a self-deprecating humility, and was an avid story teller. He could tell a funny or tragic story with an equal amount of pathos or gallows humor when necessary. He will be remembered with a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his face and a funny anecdote on the tip of his tongue. As well as his younger sister Natalie, he leaves many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews who loved him dearly and will miss him. A Christian memorial service and burial will be performed at the family gravesite in Kingston, New Hampshire.
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Published in The Arlington Advocate from Apr. 8 to Apr. 15, 2014