In Memoriam: Charles A. Szybist (1928-2021)
Charles A. Szybist a 67 year member of the Lycoming Law Association, died on Feb. 3, 2021. He was remembered in a special session of the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas on June 15, 2021. Read the transcript of the court session.
Charles Alfred Szybist, 92, of 1316 Walnut St, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 after contracting COVID-19. He spent his last days in the Valley View Nursing Center and died with his family at his side.
He was born in Williamsport on Oct. 13, 1928, the elder of two children of Mary Victoria Krezmer Szybist and Stanley Joseph Szybist. Growing up in Newberry, he worked during high school at the Home Dairy, became an Eagle Scout, and graduated from Williamsport High School in 1946. He attended the University of Pennsylvania with the support of a State Senate scholarship awarded by Senator John Snowden, graduating in 1950 with a degree in chemistry, then enrolled at the Temple University School of Law. After receiving his law degree in 1952, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and received an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1953.
Szybist returned to Williamsport and took his first attorney position with the firm of Bidelspacher and Bidelspacher. His early cases included the court-appointed representation of George "Junior" McCoy, who was charged with (and subsequently convicted of) the murder of alleged communist William Walter Remington at the Lewisburg Penitentiary. After several years with the Bidelspacher firm, he established his own law practice, first working in the Penn Tower in downtown Williamsport and then relocating to 423 Mulberry Street. He practiced law in Williamsport for 63 years, working in many areas and eventually specializing in bankruptcy law and serving as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee.
Szybist was devoted to Williamsport and its civic life. He was an active member of the Holy Rosary and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic communities and served, at various times, as Executive Director of the Williamsport Parking Authority, Bowman Field Commissioner, and Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Williamsport. He was a member of the Ross Club, the Polish Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Williamsport Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce), and the Young Men's Republican Club, among other civic organizations.
In 1969 Szybist married Carla Gerber and they became the devoted parents of five children. In the 1970s and 80s he attended countless ball games, concerts, plays, and performances, always putting his children first, and then putting them all through college.
He was an avid swimmer and reader and loved learning about history. He stayed closely connected with his children through phone calls and visits, and on weekends regularly wrote them letters.
He is survived by his children, Mary Carla Szybist (Jerry Harp) of Portland, OR, Mark Szybist (Teresa Spencer), of Baltimore, MD, Kathleen Szybist (Kenneth Saltman) of Chicago, IL, Robert Szybist (Mary Walsh Szybist) of Media, and James Szybist (Angelique Adams) of Knoxville, TN, and his five much-loved grandchildren, Finn Szybist, Liam Szybist, Seth Szybist, Sophia Szybist, and Simone Saltman, who knew him as "Ja-Ja."
He was preceded in death by his wife, Carla Szybist, his parents, and his sister, Rita Mae Szybist Reichard.
A Funeral Mass will be scheduled at a future date by the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Charles' name to North Penn Legal Services (https://www.northpennlegal.org/) & Lycoming County Family Promise (https://www.familypromiselycoming.org/).
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LYCOMING COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
IN RE: RESOLUTIONS IN THE DEATH OF CHARLES A. SZYBIST, ESQ.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
TO THE HONORABLE JUDGES OF THE COURT:
The Honorable Judge Nancy L. Butts, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, 29th Judicial District, by Order dated April 26, 2021, appointed the undersigned Committee to draft appropriate Resolutions memorializing the life of Charles A. Szybist, Esquire, and to present those Resolutions at a Special Session of Court to be held on June 15, 2021. The Committee reports as follows:
- Charles Alfred Szybist was born on October 13, 1928, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He died on February 3, 2021, at the age of 92.
- He was the elder of two children born to Mary Victoria Krezmer Szybist and Stanley Joseph Szybist. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Rita Mae Szybist Reichard.
- He grew up in Newberry across the street from the Sweet’s Steel plant and the Armour Leather tannery. He played baseball for the Holy Rosary parish team and became an Eagle Scout. During high school, he worked at the Home Dairy; on summer breaks from college, he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Newberry.
- He graduated from Williamsport High School in 1946. He attended the University of Pennsylvania with the support of a State Senate scholarship awarded by Senator John Snowden, graduating in 1950 with a degree in chemistry. He enrolled at the Temple University School of Law and received his law degree in 1952.
- He enlisted in the United States Air Force and received an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1953.
- When Charlie returned to Williamsport, his first attorney position was with the firm of Bidelspacher and Bidelspacher. One notable case from his early years of practice was a court appointment to represent George “Junior” Taylor who was charged with and subsequently convicted of the murder of alleged communist William Walter Remington at the Lewisburg Penitentiary.
- In 1969, Charlie married Carla Gerber and together they were the devoted parents to five children: Mary Carla, Mark, Kathleen, Robert and James. In the 1970s and 1980s he attended countless ball games, concerts, plays and performances, always putting his children first, and then putting them all through college. Carla passed away in 2013.
- Charlie eventually established his own law practice in Williamsport, first working in the Penn Tower building and then relocating to 423 Mulberry Street where his practice remained for the rest of his legal career. For much of his career, he specialized in collections, a field he learned about from law school friends. No one wanted to get into collections work in Williamsport, he said, because it was seen as “grubby.” He did the work with honor and compassion.
- Primarily a solo-practitioner, Charlie mentored a few associates from time to time including Joel McDermott, and three members of our Committee – Nancy L. Butts, Katherine R. Shimer and his son, Mark Szybist.
- Charlie eventually specialized in bankruptcy law and served as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for many years, beginning in the 1980s. One of the more notable cases he was trustee for was United States v. Zerbach and Mervis, involving the sale of Taylorcraft Aviation Corporation. The defendants were convicted of bankruptcy fraud.
- Charlie was especially proud on December 21, 2000, when he moved the admission of his daughter, Kathleen, to the several courts of Lycoming County. He was proud once again on December 13, 2004, when he moved the admission of his son, Mark.
- Charlie was a dedicated and active member of the Lycoming Law Association, serving as its president in 1972. At the 2003 annual banquet, Charlie was honored as a 50 year member of the organization. He was recognized at the 2008 annual banquet as a past president and at the 2015 annual banquet for his military service.
- Charlie was also devoted to civic life in Williamsport. He was an active member of the Holy Rosary and St. Joseph the Worker Catholic communities. He served as Executive Director of the Williamsport Parking Authority, Bowman Field Commissioner, and Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Williamsport. He was a member of the Ross Club, the Polish Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Williamsport Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and the Young Men’s Republican Club.
AND NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that as a result of the passing of Charles A. Szybist, the Bar of Lycoming County has lost a respected and conscientious member who upheld and exemplified the highest traditions of the legal profession; Williamsport has lost a valued participant in the community; his family has lost a devoted, kind and loving father and grandfather; and his friends and acquaintances have lost a fine gentleman.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, joined in by all members of the Lycoming County Bar, do hereby recognize and mourn the passing of Charles A. Szybist.
BE IT FURHER RESOLVED, that this Court and this Bar do hereby extend to Charles A. Szybist’s children and grandchildren our deep and heartfelt expression of sympathy.
AND BE IT RESOLVED FINALLY that this Resolution be spread at length upon the records of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, and that copies be sent to his children, and published in the Lycoming Reporter.
Hon. Nancy L. Butts, Lycoming County President Judge, Co-Chairperson
Tammy L. Taylor, Esquire, Co-Chairperson
Mark Szybist, Esquire
MDJ Allen P. Page
Katherine R. Shimer, Esquire