February 18, 2011
Remembering Art Vorys and Jack Alton
by Robert W. Werth
Arthur I. Vorys, a distinguished member of Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease for 44 years, and my partner, friend and mentor, passed away earlier this month at the age of 87. Art had a long and illustrious career and was among a rare breed of individuals who were able to serve their country, their government, their community and their profession.
He served his country during World War II as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and as a platoon commander in the bloody battle of Okinawa where he earned a Purple Heart for serious injuries that resulted in the loss of his right eye. He served his government by being the Ohio Superintendent of Insurance under Governor C. William O’Neil. He served his community by serving on literally dozens of charitable, business and professional boards and organizations.
Last, but not least, he served his profession as a practicing attorney for over 40 years, during which time he became a leader in our firm and our profession. He was a creative and imaginative attorney who often was able to find a solution to a client’s problem that seemed unsolvable. He was a man of peerless integrity who practiced law with grace, dignity and honor.
In addition to his service, Art had boundless energy and enthusiasm for all aspects of his life. He was a family man, an athlete (a three-sport star and All-American tackle in college), a biker, a skier, an Arctic explorer, a mountain climber, a watercolor painter, a fisherman, a camper, a boater and a voracious reader. It is hard to imagine that many could have had life experiences that were as full and varied as those enjoyed by Art. He was a good man and all of us who have known or worked with Art are better persons for having had that experience. He is gone but will never be forgotten.
by Joseph A. Gerling
Jack R. Alton, one of the founding partners of Lane Alton & Horst, passed away February 14 at the age of 85. Jack was a uniquely talented trial lawyer who drew upon his childhood experiences in South Columbus to connect to jurors in a way that most lawyers could not. He was fearless and tireless in his representation of his clients, all the while demonstrating the utmost respect for and civility toward other lawyers and judges. Jack was never afraid to impanel a jury and present his case. The example he set inspired generations of lawyers who were fortunate enough to work with him at the firm he founded.
Jack also served the Columbus Bar and the legal community in central Ohio. He was President of the Columbus Bar Association in 1969. He was honored with the Professionalism Award in 2001. He assisted on many bar committees and, without any self-promotion, visited many lawyers who were gravely or even terminally ill. His strength and compassion surely comforted these members of his profession.
Jack was devoted to his family. He and Reba were inseparable and were married nearly 63 years. He was proud of his children, John, Elaine and Nancy, and of his grandchildren. John followed Jack into the legal profession. One of Jack’s proudest moments was when John was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, a prestigious organization that had long counted Jack as a member.
Jack Alton’s legacy will live on in the many lawyers who were blessed to have his guidance and counsel in their early years in the legal profession. It will live on in the fine families of his children. Jack will be missed, but his work here will always be remembered and valued.