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 Roy Winfield “Judge” Harper

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Roy Winfield “Judge” Harper

Birth
Gibson, Dunklin County, Missouri, USA
Death
13 Feb 1994 (aged 88)
Chesterfield, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Burial
Steele, Pemiscot County, Missouri, USA
Memorial ID
98245465 View Source

Retired Federal Judge Roy W. Harper, 88, of Ladue, Mo. died Sunday, February 13, 1994, at Surrey Place Nursing Home in Chesterfield after a heart attack following a short illness.
Judge Harper was born in Gibson, Mo. and grew up in Steele, Mo. He maintained ties in the Missouri Boothheel throughout his life.
He received a law degree from the University of Missouri in 1929.
Judge Harper spent 31 months in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, later returning to his law practice in Steele, and in 1946 became state Democratic chairman.
A political confidant and former poker-playing friend of Harry S. Truman, he was appointed by President Truman to the federal bench in St. Louis in 1947. In fact, Truman had to appoint him four times before he was able to get the Republican-controlled Senate to make the appointment permanent.
A former chief judge of the federal court at St. Louis, Judge Harper retired in 1991 after 44 years on the bench. He had been a senior judge for two decades. During that time he developed a reputation as a no-nonsense jurist without regard to the status of those who appeared before him. When he retired, Judge Harper said he never cared what lawyers thought of him. "The bench," he said, "is the poorest place in the world to win a popularity contest."
Lawyers who practiced before Judge Haris did not soon forget him, especially if they were not ready to try their cases.
U.S. Magistrate David D. once recently said off the bench Judge Harper "had a particularly warm spot in his heart for the children of courtoom personnel."
U.S. Magistrate William S. Bahn recalled his first appearance before Judge Harper in the early 1950s as a young lawyer. "He was a stickler for the rules, but he was a good judge," Bahn said.
"He disdained lack of preparation. One of his favorite lines was, 'If you weren't ready with this lawsuit, why the h---did you file it'?"
Bahn said, "He loved southeast Missouri - that was his roots."
Cief U.S. Judge Edward L. Filippine said that Judge Harper was "the guiding force" of the court system in St. Louis and that he set a standard for other jurists.
Judge Filippine said, "A giant has passed from our ranks, he will be missed but never forgotten."
Judge Harper once said his biggest case was what he called the Communist trial, in 1954. After a five-month trial, five people said to be Communists were convicted of conspiring to overthrow the government. Later in the '50s, Judge Harper went to Little Rock, Ark. to clear out a backlog of school desegregation cases.
Bahn and Noce said Judge Harper always took time to offer advice on courtroom problems,. "I remember him as one of the leaders of the court family," Noce said.
Judge Harper leaves his wife, Ruth Butt Harper;
One daughter, Katherine Connolly, of Port Jefferson, N.Y.
A son, Arthur Harper, of Kirkwood, Mo.;
Two sisters: Kathleen Boroughs of Independence, Mo., and Ruth Toohey of Vallejo, Calif.;
Four brothers: Frank Harper of Hot Springs, Ark., Dr. Guy Harper of Hypoluxa, Fla., Marvin Harper, Jr. of Steele and Bobby Joe Harper of Nashville, Tenn.;
Two grandchildren; and
Two step-grandchildren.
A funeral service was held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 16, 1994, at Ladue Chapel, 9450 Clayton Road.
Graveside services were held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, February 17, 1994, at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Steele, with Rev. Tom Zych officiating.
Memorials may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children.

Retired Federal Judge Roy W. Harper, 88, of Ladue, Mo. died Sunday, February 13, 1994, at Surrey Place Nursing Home in Chesterfield after a heart attack following a short illness.
Judge Harper was born in Gibson, Mo. and grew up in Steele, Mo. He maintained ties in the Missouri Boothheel throughout his life.
He received a law degree from the University of Missouri in 1929.
Judge Harper spent 31 months in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, later returning to his law practice in Steele, and in 1946 became state Democratic chairman.
A political confidant and former poker-playing friend of Harry S. Truman, he was appointed by President Truman to the federal bench in St. Louis in 1947. In fact, Truman had to appoint him four times before he was able to get the Republican-controlled Senate to make the appointment permanent.
A former chief judge of the federal court at St. Louis, Judge Harper retired in 1991 after 44 years on the bench. He had been a senior judge for two decades. During that time he developed a reputation as a no-nonsense jurist without regard to the status of those who appeared before him. When he retired, Judge Harper said he never cared what lawyers thought of him. "The bench," he said, "is the poorest place in the world to win a popularity contest."
Lawyers who practiced before Judge Haris did not soon forget him, especially if they were not ready to try their cases.
U.S. Magistrate David D. once recently said off the bench Judge Harper "had a particularly warm spot in his heart for the children of courtoom personnel."
U.S. Magistrate William S. Bahn recalled his first appearance before Judge Harper in the early 1950s as a young lawyer. "He was a stickler for the rules, but he was a good judge," Bahn said.
"He disdained lack of preparation. One of his favorite lines was, 'If you weren't ready with this lawsuit, why the h---did you file it'?"
Bahn said, "He loved southeast Missouri - that was his roots."
Cief U.S. Judge Edward L. Filippine said that Judge Harper was "the guiding force" of the court system in St. Louis and that he set a standard for other jurists.
Judge Filippine said, "A giant has passed from our ranks, he will be missed but never forgotten."
Judge Harper once said his biggest case was what he called the Communist trial, in 1954. After a five-month trial, five people said to be Communists were convicted of conspiring to overthrow the government. Later in the '50s, Judge Harper went to Little Rock, Ark. to clear out a backlog of school desegregation cases.
Bahn and Noce said Judge Harper always took time to offer advice on courtroom problems,. "I remember him as one of the leaders of the court family," Noce said.
Judge Harper leaves his wife, Ruth Butt Harper;
One daughter, Katherine Connolly, of Port Jefferson, N.Y.
A son, Arthur Harper, of Kirkwood, Mo.;
Two sisters: Kathleen Boroughs of Independence, Mo., and Ruth Toohey of Vallejo, Calif.;
Four brothers: Frank Harper of Hot Springs, Ark., Dr. Guy Harper of Hypoluxa, Fla., Marvin Harper, Jr. of Steele and Bobby Joe Harper of Nashville, Tenn.;
Two grandchildren; and
Two step-grandchildren.
A funeral service was held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 16, 1994, at Ladue Chapel, 9450 Clayton Road.
Graveside services were held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, February 17, 1994, at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Steele, with Rev. Tom Zych officiating.
Memorials may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children.


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