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Meminger found dead in his home

March 31, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Magisterial District Judge Larry L. Meminger, who served on the minor judiciary bench since 1984, was found dead in his home Wednesday morning, according to Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner.

"At this time it appears to be natural causes," Conner said.

An autopsy has been scheduled for today at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa., he said.

Meminger, 46, of 10130 Golf Course Road, Fayetteville, Pa., was found downstairs in his home and pronounced dead at the scene at 8:30 a.m. Conner said.

Meminger was appointed to the District 39-3-04 position in 1984 when his predecessor retired. The following year, he was elected to the first of four six-year terms in office, according to county records

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He was last elected to the office, which covers Greene Township, in 2003.

"You don't realize what an impact someone has on you until something like this," said Kim Woodal, who served on Meminger's staff for 15 year.

"He was always professional, he always took into consideration everyone's feelings," said Woodal, who now works for Magisterial District Judge Kelly Rock.

Meminger and his wife, Kindra, have a son, 13-year-old Creedon, Woodal said.

"I think we're all in shock and deeply saddened," said Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom. "He was fair and he was great to work with" and took an active role in improving the judicial system, she said.

"He'll definitely be difficult to replace, not only as a district justice," said Public Defender Michael Toms.

Meminger was among those who moved the county to create central court, where preliminary hearings for defendants are held Tuesdays in the courthouse, rather than at the magisterial district judges' offices.

Toms said he and Meminger also worked on the Central Booking Committee of the county's Criminal Justice Advisory Board.

If plans are implemented, Toms said those arrested will be arraigned at another central location, the new county prison due to open in early 2007.

Meminger was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in December 1997 after graduating that year from the Harrisburg, Pa., campus of the Widener University School of Law, according to Carolyn Seibert-Drager, the executive director of the Franklin County Bar Association. Wednesday was the seventh anniversary of his being admitted to the county bar association, she said.

Within the past year or so, Meminger and Richard Alloway, another district judge, had opened a law practice and Gold Star Settlements Service, Seibert-Drager said.

He also taught courses at Shippensburg University, Penn State Mont Alto and Wilson College, she said.

Mont Alto spokeswoman Holly Cieri said Meminger taught paralegal classes at the school for several years and participated in the Kids in College summer program, teaching a popular crime scene investigation class for elementary school children.

Meminger was an adjunct assistant professor at Wilson, teaching legal studies and business law classes since 1999, said college spokeswoman Cathy Mentzer.

"I'm still somewhat in disbelief," Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz said Wednesday afternoon. He and Meminger were both active in the Special Court Judges Association of Pennsylvania and Meminger was chairman of its education committee.

Pentz said Meminger's sister, Kelly Fore, is a member of his staff.

"He was a guy who was respected not only in the communities of the court and law enforcement, but in the community as a whole," Pentz said.

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