by Walter Fox
George S. Forde Jr., 77, a lawyer who served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, died July 7 at his home in Chestnut Hill.

Mr. Forde had been a partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm of Stradley, Ronon, Stevens and Young for 32 years when he retired in 1999. Although he had been involved in many areas of law since joining the firm in 1959, he ultimately moved into the firm’s Trusts and Estates Department, where he had been chairman for several years.

For his work in this area, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estates Counsel, an elite group of probate lawyers.

Mr. Forde’s wife, the former Joan Vizard, said her husband’s service as an attorney “was characterized by fierce loyalty and dedication to his clients, be they widows, orphans, charities or corporations.”

In addition to his professional work, Mr. Forde also served on the boards of many area charitable organizations. He had served on the executive committees of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association and the Interfaith Council on the Holocaust, and was a board member of the Catholic Charities Appeal, St. Gabriel’s Hall, St. Francis Homes, St. John’s Orphan Asylum, St. John Neumann Nursing Home and the Vincentian Congregation of the Mission.

In retirement, he was executive secretary of the Colonel John McKee Scholarship Committee, an organization founded in 1899 to award college scholarships to fatherless boys.

“He cherished the work of seeking out earnest and deserving young men and helping them afford the chance for higher education,” his wife said.

Alarmed at what he felt was the decline of spiritual values in contemporary culture, Mr. Forde wrote in an article for a Catholic publication, “Too often in our society there is an emphasis on the individual as opposed to the community. It was our grandparents’ concern for community as well as the values of the spirit that has made life so easy for us.”

Mr. Forde also was known for his humor – both his repertoire of “shaggy dog” stories and his rapier-sharp quips.

He was a graduate of LaSalle College High School, St. Joseph’s University and received his law degree from Villanova University.

In addition to his wife of 48 years, he is survived by sons George and John; daughters Anne-Marie and Siobhan, and three grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, at Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118. Relatives and friends may call at the church after 9:30 a.m. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken.

Memorial donations may be made to the above church or to St. Joseph’s University, 5600 City Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19131.