Extraordinary lawyer with extraordinary past
I would like to offer the following short eulogy as a footnote to the obituary of Henry Templeman published on Sunday, July 27.
Henry was born a Jew in Poland in 1939. Nine months after his birth, Nazi Germany invaded Poland with the intention of exterminating all of the Polish Jews. According to the account I heard, Henry ended up in a Nazi concentration camp. He was saved from inevitable death by someone smuggling him out in a laundry bag and protecting him until he could be sent to Canada and ultimately to Portland as indicated in the obituary.
I was a classmate of Henry's at the University of Washington law school, a colleague in the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office, and for some 30 years a frequent opposing counsel in a variety of civil cases after we both left the prosecutor's office. I knew Henry as a lawyer, and as a lawyer he was extraordinary. I feel that he was born with skills that most of us took many years to acquire. For all the drama of his early childhood, Henry was not a dramatic personality. His approach to trial law included no histrionics but mostly a Joe Friday, just the facts approach. When he had the facts he had an intuitive feel for what a judge or jury would do with those facts. In presenting his case he worked with a calm, workman-like manner. When it came to cross examination he was legendary. He was never loud nor sneering, but in the end the liar, the mistaken, or the confused would be shown up and his case destroyed.
To my mind Henry was one of the brightest stars of my generation of lawyers.