|William Arthur O'Hearn|
| Atty. William Arthur O'Hearn, 76, retired special justice of the Northern
Berkshire District Court who served many years ago in the state legislature, first as representative and
later as senator, died this morning at the North Adams Hospital.
Death came at 7.30 a.m., to the well-known North Adams native. He had been a
patient at the hospital since May 12, when he suffered a fracture of the hip at his home at 74 Marion Ave.
Mr. O'Hearn was born March 8, 1887, a son of the late James and Catherine
(Regan) O'Hearn. He attended local schools and was graduated from Drury High School with the class
|Left With $50|
| He left North Adams in September, 1906, with $50, to work his way through
Georgetown Law School, from which he received his L.L. B. degree in 1909. While in Washington pursuing
his studies, he worked as a stenographer for E. R. Chapman & Co., members of the New York Stock
Exchange, and held the same position with the National Geographic Society. He also served as an
assistant secretary in the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science at the Smithsonian Institute.
and was secretary to the Cong. S. C. Smith of the 8th California District. He served as a special agent for the
U. S. Department of the Interior from August to December, 1909, in California.
He returned to North Adams and established his practice March 1, 1910, continuing
until his death. On Jan. 1, 1934, he formed a partnership with Earl D. Getman and the new firm of Getman
& O'Hearn, with offices at 80½ Main St., continued until Mr. Getman's death in November, 1939.
From that time on, Mr. O'Hearn practiced alone.
Mr. O'Hearn was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the District of
Columbia, Feb. 2, 1909; in the Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, July 16, 1909; in the Supreme Judicial
Court of Massachusetts, Dec, 17, 1909; and in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District.
|Honored at Dinner|
| He held membership in the American Bar, Massachusetts Bar, and
Berkshire County Bar Assns,. and at a dinner given in his honor by the latter in 1959, he was presented with
a framed scroll in recognition of his 50 years of membership.
A staunch Democrat, Mr. O'Hearn was first elected to the state legislature as a
representative in 1911 and was re-elected the following year. He served as clerk of the District Court of
Northern Berkshire for a five-year term from 1914-1919, and in 1923 he ran successfully for state senator.
He was appointed by Gov. Ely as a member of a special commission to study public expenditures, taxation
and reorganization of the courts, and later was named by Gov. Ely to membership on another special
commission to erect a monument at Wallomsac, N. Y., to commemorate the services of Massachusetts
soldiers at the Battle of Bennington. He served as a member and Democratic Leader of the Massachusetts
Senate in 1923 and 1924.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant
governor on 1924.
|Mohawk Trail Bill|
| His legislative record shows that he introduced the first Mohawk Trail
appropriation bills in the House in 1911 and 1912, and he also was the author of the O'Hearn Bill requiring
provision of seats for women and children employed in manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile
establishments. He wrote the bill under which Massachusetts citizens injured by out-of-state automobiles
could bring suit in Massachusetts courts, which was enacted despite he combined opposition of insurance
interests, and was upheld in both the state and federal Supreme Courts when attacked on constitutional
He also assisted in writing the state Workmen's Compensation Law and led the
fight in the state Senate against the Baby Volstead Act in 1923. He also led fights for the Old Age Pension
bills in 1923 and 1924, and actively supported the following measures: Shorter hours for women and children
in factories; prohibiting the imposition of fines for imperfection in weaving; prohibiting the use of suction shuttles
in factories; establishing hours of labor for street-railway employees; and numerous other bills of that type;
the Sunday baseball law; the weekly wage bill; the bill granting paid vacations to city laborers; the bill
establishing state workshops for the blind; and the bill providing for the support of families confined in
penal institutions for desertion or non-support.
Mr. O'Hearn was appointed a special justice by the late Gov. [Charles F.]
Hurley in December
1938, and presided in the Adams, Williamstown and Pittsfield District Courts as well as the local court. He
resigned in July, 1957, after 18½ years on the bench.
| He was a director and member of the executive committee of the old North
Adams National Bank and upon its merger in December, 1961, with the Agricultural National Bank of
Pittsfield, was named an advisory director; he was a trustee of the North Adams Hoosac Savings Bank
and served as legal counsel, for that bank and for the Massachusetts Electric Co., the Berkshire Gas Co.,
and Wall-Streeter Shoe Co. For 16 years he served as director of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and its
predecessor company which had textile mills here and in Adams, and retired from the board in 1959.
He headed the fund drive for the new North Adams Hospital.
He served as a member of the North Adams draft board. He was a past grand
knight of the North Adams Council of Knights of Columbus and also served as a district deputy. He was a
long-time member and past president of the North Adams Rotary Club. He was a member of St. Francis
He leaves his wife, the former Katherine Doherty, whom he married Oct. 18, 1915;
two sons, William A. O'Hearn Jr., of Los Angeles, Calif., and Robert J.
O'Hearn of Miami, Fla.; one daughter, Miss Joan L. O'Hearn
of this city; one brother, Francis A. O'Hearn of Arlington; a grandson, William A. O'Hearn III of Los Angeles;
and several nieces and nephews.
| Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, with a Solemn High Mass
of Requiem in St. Francis Church. Burial will be in the family lot in Southview Cemetery.
The body will be taken from the Flynn & Roach Funeral Home late tomorrow
afternoon to the family residence at 74 Marion Ave., where friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m., tomorrow,
and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., Friday.
[see also: Anne O'Hearn]
| North Adams Transcript 29 May 1963|