Sept. 16, 1999
U.S. District Court Judge
W. Arthur Garrity Jr. died of cancer at his Wellesley (Mass.) home on Sept. 16,
Judge Garrity gained national attention for his 1974
decision to achieve racial equality in the Boston Public Schools through court-ordered
busing. The ruling,
which resulted in rioting and
racial turmoil, continues to be a topic of debate.
After receiving his degree from Harvard Law School in
1946, Garrity served as a federal law clerk from 1946-47, and as an assistant
U.S. Attorney for the District
of Massachusetts, from 1948 to 1950. He then maintained a private practice for
11 years with the Boston law firm of Maguire Roche Garrity and Maloney. Garrity
was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts in 1961. After
serving a five-year term, he was appointed U.S. District Court Judge for the
District of Massachusetts.
His lengthy judicial service included rulings on other school issues, such as
new bilingual and special education requirements and the provision of greater
job opportunities for minority teachers. Well-known cases involved a series of
gambling raids documented in the 1962 CBS film, "Biography of a Bookie Joint" and
the $1.5 million Plymouth bank robbery which took place in 1963. Presiding over
a case in 1972 that would determine the fate of the Charles Street Jail, he spent
a night at the jail in order
to gather evidence firsthand about conditions there.
A veteran of World War II, Garrity served in the U.S.
Army Signal Corps, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. He participated in the
invasion of Normandy and received
five European Theater
During his career, he was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 1976,
Holy Cross awarded him an honorary
doctor of laws degree at the College's 130th Commencement. In 1978, the St. Thomas
More Society presented him with its Silver Medal Award at the 23rd annual Red
Mass held in Worcester at the Immaculate Conception Church.
Garrity had been a lifetime member of the
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; two sons,
including Charles A. '76; two daughters, Anne '78 and Jean M. '81; two sons-in-law,
including, David S. Kennedy '81; a brother, James L. '43; a sister; eight grandchildren;
nephews, including John T. Jr. '71, James
L. Jr. '77, John B. '80, David M. '83, and Paul W. '89; and nieces, Deirdre '79
and Sarah '82. His brother was the late John T. '45 and his father was the late
W. Arthur '05.