Richard J. Orloski, Esquire died unexpectedly at home on Sunday morning January 26. Rick was the son of Joseph B. and Wanda Chodnicki Orloski born on January 31, 1947.
His dad was a small town coal miner in northeast Pennsylvania who encouraged his children to "get their sheepskin." When the time came to apply for college, his parents, ever the pragmatists, told him to pick the one school he wanted to attend because they weren't going to waste money on two application fees. He sent out only one application to King's College and graduated in 1968.
He loved to debate, so law school was the next logical step, graduating from Cornell Law School in 1971. He always hated the cold Ithaca winters, but he followed the love of his life, Kathy Law to Michigan upon his graduation while she obtained her advanced degrees, clerking for the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The newlyweds returned to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and from there to the District Attorney's Office in Lehigh County. He drew upon that latter experience to publish Criminal Law: An Indictment in 1977, focusing on the need for criminal justice reform a generation before it was fashionable.
He was active in Democratic politics though never as successfully as he might have liked. He often wryly commented that everyone forgot to mention the election that he did win as a delegate for Gary Hart in the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco. Fortunately for many clients, his talents were not channeled into a political career. He earned a reputation as a bulldog attorney, taking on cases that others wouldn't.
A newspaper columnist once accused him of being, "one of the Lehigh Valley's top dynamos of tort litigation" intended as a slight, which he took as a compliment. He treated his clients as if they were his family, routinely giving out his house phone number so that he would be available at their convenience, not his. He instilled the value of hard work and education in each of his five children, two of whom followed him into the practice of law. Whether it was the Parkinson's Disease or the love of his eight grandchildren that prevented him from retiring to a warmer climate is not open for serious debate. He never lost his youthful enthusiasm or his love of fly fishing, gardening, and photography, the common theme of these hobbies is that he took pride in producing and sharing.
Funeral mass will be at St. Thomas More on Friday, January 31, on what would have been his 73rd birthday. Calling hours begin at the Church at 10:30 a.m. followed by a Mass at 11:30 a.m. Interment will be at Holy Rosary Cemetery in Duryea, PA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parkinson's Disease research organization of your choice.
Published in Morning Call on Jan. 29, 2020.