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Attorney was larger than life, in and out of court

Mary Pickels
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Irving Louis Bloom passed away Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, surrounded by family and friends.

Irving Bloom was known among friends and family as a colorful character, a punster and jokester. The veteran attorney had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Civil War.

“I made my first visit to Gettysburg at 6 weeks of age,” said his daughter, Ellen Bloom.

Irving Louis Bloom of Greensburg died of cancer on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. He was 80.

Ellen Bloom said her father visited when she was teaching in Taiwan. He walked into her classroom singing, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”

Cara Bloom said her father enjoyed trips to Alcatraz island and Ghirardelli’s Chocolate store when she lived in San Francisco.

“A few years ago, he visited Israel. That was a dream come true for him,” said Ellen Bloom, noting he never missed his grandchildren’s birthdays.

He was employed as a worker’s compensation judge since 1994.

Mr. Bloom was a 1952 graduate of Greensburg High School and earned degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Pitt Law School. He was a member of the Westmoreland County Bar Association since 1961.

Greensburg attorneys Ken Burkley and Chuck Wade were among a group of lawyers and judges who regularly met Mr. Bloom for lunch at La Vita’s restaurant.

Mr. Bloom always asked owner Rose Veenis for fresh fruit, and once he requested she trim the crusts from his sandwich.

“She shot back, ‘Do you think you are in kindergarten?’ ” Burkley said, laughing.

For his 75th birthday, friends gave him bibs reading, “Rose, do you have any fruit today?” and “Property of La Vita’s,” Wade said.

“He had a storied legal career. He was an excellent lawyer,” Burkley said.

“He was interesting to listen to. He would tell the story of a man he represented for moonshining. He kept a bottle in his office while in private practice, and he would offer to share. That was probably his fee,” Wade said.

When Mr. Bloom left his home for a time 20 years ago, Greensburg attorney Vincent Quatrini Jr. was appointed trustee of his cases by the Disciplinary Board of the State Supreme Court because his clients were left without representation.

“He chose to start a second career as a judge,” Quatrini said. “Irving Bloom was a man of high moral character. He possessed a keen intellect, a photographic memory and a humility despite his many achievements. He was held in high esteem by his fellow members of the Westmoreland Bar Association, and all of the Common Pleas judges in Westmoreland County.”

“He was a friend and a mentor to me and a number of other attorneys,” he said, noting that attorneys would ask for Mr. Bloom’s legal interpretation of thorny legal issues.

He volunteered with the Lawyers Assistance Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 1995. As board director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of PA, he was awarded the Fred Funari Award by the Mental Health Association of Westmoreland County .

He was a member of Beth Israel in Latrobe.

Mr. Bloom is survived by his former wife, Diane Karp Rudov; four children, Cara Bloom and husband, Richard Carufel, of Wilmington, N.C., Joel Bloom and wife, Jody Shapiro, of Forest Hills, Ellen Bloom of Seattle, and Steven Bloom and wife, Robyn Neft, of Moon; his companion, Norma Chase; three granddaughters; and a step-grandson.

Friends will be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday in Coshey-Nicholson Funeral Home, 319 W. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, the time of his funeral service. Interment will follow in B’Nai Israel Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-5401 or [email protected].

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