Attorney James D. Christie December 4, 1921 - November 28, 2017

Atty. James D. Christie, 95, passed away Wednesday, November 28, 2017, in Phoebe Allentown. Born in Allentown on December 4, 1921, he was the son of the late John J. Christie, who died in 1924 and Matilda F. (Roth) Christie King and stepson of Charles King. He was married to Betty Jane (Jenkins) Christie for over 67 years (married August 15, 1950). He was a graduate of the class of 1939 of Allentown High School and a graduate of Allentown Business College, class of 1940.He then worked two years in the accounting department at Trojan Powder Company in Allentown until entering the Army in July, 1942. After four months with Headquarters 2nd Infantry Division, he was sent to the Antiaircraft Artillery Officer’s Candidate School. On February 11, 1943, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and then completed a highly classified Radar Officer’s School two months later. In July,1943, he was sent overseas and served in AAA Gun Battalions in North Africa, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, France and Germany, receiving four battle stars. At the end of the war in Europe, and after two months of occupation duty, he was assigned to a 2nd Infantry Division field artillery battalion. The Division was scheduled for the planned invasion of Japan in Spring of 1946. He returned to the United States in August,1945 and was released from active duty Sept.26,1946. He had been promoted to Captain in July 1946. He immediately joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in Allentown as 51st AAA Brigade Radar Officer and was promoted to Major in August,1950. He then entered active duty again in August 1950 for the Korean War with the 51st AAA Brigade as a Staff Officer under Brigadier General Charles C. Curtis, serving first in Georgia and then on site in Chicago until Aug. 23, 1952. The Brigade coordinated AAA defenses of Chicago, Detroit, and Sault Sainte Marie. After World War II he took his pre-law schooling at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and in 1949 entered Temple Law School, graduating in 1954. He served as Editor-In-Chief of the Law Review in his senior year. He then served one year as the first law clerk to Federal Judge John W. Lord, Jr. (later Chief Judge) in Philadelphia. He then practiced law for twenty years as a partner in the law firm headed by the late Morris Perkin in Allentown. During that period, he served fourteen years as part-time U.S. Commissioner and then part time as the first U.S. Magistrate for the Allentown area. He was admitted to practice before Lehigh County Courts, the Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In January 1975, he became the first law clerk to Federal Judge Edward N. Cahn (later Chief Judge) until December 1983. He returned to a very limited practice of law and retired as associate to Attorney Henry Perkin. After his Korean War service, he was a continuing active member of the National Guard serving in various positions as a staff officer of the 51st Brigade and the 213th Group. He also commanded the 213th AAA Gun Battalion, with headquarters in Bethlehem, for 2 1/2 years, and later completed his 31 years of Army service in August 1973 as commanding officer of the 213th Military Police Group for 5 1/2 years. He was state president of the Pennsylvania National Guard Association 1972—1973, and had received the “Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal” on his retirement. He was promoted to Brigadier General on the Pennsylvania National Guard retired list. He was a member of the 213th Regiment Association (The First Honorary Colonel). He was a life member of the National Guard Association of the United States, National Guard Association of Pennsylvania, Reserve Officers Association of the United States, National Association of Uniformed Services and the American Legion Post # 215, Catasauqua. Pennsylvania and the Honorary First Defenders. He was also a Mason of Porter Lodge # 284, Catasauqua, Royal Arch Chapter 278, Catasauqua, and Lehigh Consistory. He was a member of the Bar Association of Pennsylvania and Lehigh County for over 50 years and President of the Bar Association of Lehigh County in 1976. Attorney Christie was a member of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Allentown, where he served on council for fifteen.  He was currently a member of Nativity Lutheran Church. He also served as a co-trustee of the Sylvia Perkin Charitable Trust for over twenty years. In the summer of 1948 he served as playground instructor at the Harrison Morton School in Allentown. In February 1955 he was an observer for the Pennsylvania National Guard of two classified atomic bomb blasts at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. In the late ‘70’s and early 80’s he taught evening paralegal and writing classes at Cedar Crest College. He enjoyed a long association with the Lehigh County Historical Society, serving on the Board of Directors for many years, and as a vice president and secretary at different times.

Survivors: wife, daughters Dr. Carol Pulham, wife of Jeffrey Pulham; Jane Gibson, wife of David W. Gibson; son John Christie, husband of Susan (Bratt) Christie; sister, Betty (King) Ehrets, Wife of Thomas Ehrets; and ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Services: 10:45 A.M. Monday in the Stephens Funeral Home, Inc. 274 North Krocks Road, Allentown. Call 9:30 – 10:30 A.M. in the funeral home.  A masonic service by Porter Lodge # 284 will begin at 10:30 A.M. Interment with military honors will be in the St. John’s Union Cemetery, Whitehall. www.stephensfuneral.com.

Contributions: Lehigh County Historical Society 432 W. Walnut St. Allentown, PA 18102.


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