Oscar Fendler - Blytheville

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Oscar Fendler, 93, died Monday, Dec. 23, 2002, at his Blytheville home.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Patricia Shane Fendler of Blytheville; his daughter, Frances Shane Fendler, of Little Rock; and his son, T.P. "Chip" Wright III of Fayetteville; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; his secretary of 37 years, Brenda Haynes.

Fendler was born March 22, 1909, in Blytheville. His parents, Ray Fendler and Alfred Fendler, his brothers, R.E. Fendler and Benny Fendler, and his sister, Frances Fendler Schneider, preceded him in death.

He resided in Manila with his parents from 1910 until 1933. He attended public school in Manila and graduated from Blytheville High School in 1926. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1930 from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and a juris doctorate degree in 1933 from Harvard Law School.

He was admitted to the Bar of Arkansas and began the practice of law in 1933 in Blytheville and continued as a lawyer until his death. He was also admitted to the Bar of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

He was active in bar association work. He had been a member of the Arkansas Bar Association since 1933 and served as its president from 19162-63. Mr. Fendler received the Arkansas Bar Association Lawyer-Citizen Award for 1973-74.

He had been a member of the American Bar Association since 1933; chairman of the Section of General Practice, 1966-67; member of the Committee on Education About Communism, 1967-70; member of Committee on Legal Aid and Indigents, 1970-73; section delegate to the House of Delegates, 1968-70; assembly delegate, House of Delegates, 1970-79; member and chairman, Committee on Law Lists, 1973-74; and member of the Executive Council, National Conference of Bar Presidents, 1963-65.

He was a member of the American Judicature society and served on its board of directors from 1964-67. He was a Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; a Fellow, American Bar Foundation; and a fellow, Arkansas Bar Foundation.

He was one of the Founders of the Arkansas Law Review, University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville and served as a member and chairman of the board for a number of years.

He was a member of the United States Navy and Naval Reserve program for many years. He received a commission as a Lieutenant junior grade, U.S. Naval Reserve (Legal specialist) in 1939. He was called to active duty in January 1942 after the attack on Pearl Harbor and reported to the U.S. Naval Air Base in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was assigned to the Legal Office. In addition, he was given the assignment of responsibility for visitors to the base such as Lyndon Johnson, who was later president, and USO entertainers including Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Carole Landis and Elise Knox. He received a Bronze Star for his services. He continued on Naval Reserve duty until his age required him to be dismissed.

He has been listed in Who's Who in America" and related "Who's Who" publications for more than 40 years.

He was a member of the Blytheville Rotary Club for over 60 years and served as its president; Dud Cason American Legion Post No. 24 in Blytheville; and received his 32nd degree, Masons, Scottish Rites in the Philippine Lodge in 1945 in Manila.

He was a member of Temple Israel in Blytheville. He was appointed by Gov. Faubus as a temporary associate justice, Arkansas Supreme Court, in 1964.

On Aug. 1996 the U.S. Corp of Engineers presented him with the Commander's Award for Public Service for his assistance to the Corps for 61 years as attorney for Drainage District No. 16 of Mississippi County.

He received numerous other honors and awards throughout his career.

The funeral was held at 11 a.m. Friday at Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville.

Honorary pallbearers were members of the Blytheville Rotary Club and the Mississippi County Bar Association. Pallbearers were Jeff Wright, Jeff Rosenzweig, Dr. Ronald Smith, Alvin "Bo" Huffman III, Ron Dawson, Mike Bearden, Marvin Childers and Roger Oldham.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Oscar Fendler Fund of the Mississippi County Community Foundation, the Arkansas Bar Foundation, the Blytheville Public Library or a charity of the giver's choice.