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  In Memoriam



W. Arthur Garrity Jr.

Sept. 16, 1999

W. Arthur Garrity Jr. '41U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. died of cancer at his Wellesley (Mass.) home on Sept. 16, at 79.

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 campaign ribbons. 

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 President's Council.

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.


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