The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 12, 2005


Will J. Bangs Prominent Boston attorney

Will J. Bangs of Bingham Road, a prominent Boston lawyer, died suddenly on July 4. He was 81 years old. A litigator at Choate, Hall & Stewart for 35 years before retiring in 1991, Mr. Bangs loved being a lawyer. "Will was the chairman of the firm's litigation department for many years and he would always begin meetings with the banging of a gavel. It was a wonderful tradition that unfortunately doesn't exist in law firms today," remembered Larry Kenna, a longtime friend and colleague at Choate, Hall & Stewart.

Some of Mr. Bangs' well-known clients included the Ford Motor Company, the Michelin Tire Corporation, Eastman Gelatine Corporation, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Chubb Life Insurance Company of America. Mr. Bangs was known for the meticulous preparation of his cases and for his precise and concise legal writing style.

"Long after he retired, Will would invite me to join him for lunch and afterward he would grill me about the people here, what they were like, what their practice interests were, and what kind of work the litigators were involved in. He never stopped caring about the firm and the people who work here," added Kenna.

In addition to his great love of the law, Mr. Bangs was a devoted husband to his wife Judy for 47 years and a devoted father to their children and grandchildren. He was also active in Concord and Carlisle town politics during the nearly 50 years he lived in those communities.

In the 1960s, Mr. Bangs served on several Concord town committees including the Finance Committee, the School Building Committee, the Underground Wires Committee (which was responsible for putting wires underground in Concord Center), and the Bylaws Committee. In 1965, the Concord Bylaws Committee asked Mr. Bangs to organize the town's bylaws, many of which dated back to colonial times and were handwritten.

Mr. Bangs and his family moved to Carlisle in 1971, where he lived until the time of his death. He was a member of the Carlisle Conservation Commission and was involved in the formation of the Great Brook Farm State Park. "Will heard that the land was for sale and went to the Conservation Commission and suggested they buy it," said his wife. "It was too big a purchase for the town, but they then went to the state and worked with them to purchase it and turn it into a state park. He was very proud of his role in making this happen."

Mr. Bangs was also a member of the Carlisle Town Republicans throughout most of his life, until the George W. Bush administration, according to his wife. He belonged to the Somerset Club and Concord Country Club, where he loved to play golf. He excelled at long, straight drives, but was so near-sighted that he couldn't see where the ball landed. "I'm far-sighted, so he always said I had to go with him," explained Judy Bangs "In truth, neither one of us was very good, but we had a good time playing together." Mr. Bangs was also a familiar sight to many Carlisle residents who saw his daily walks up and down Bingham Road with his beloved black Labrador, Holly.

Born in 1923 in New York, New York, Mr. Bangs grew up in Scarsdale and White Plains. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1948. While at college, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was sent to meteorological school at the University of Michigan. Before finishing, the military decided they had enough meteorologists and sent him to a posting in Niagara Falls and later to Newfoundland as a weatherman.

After returning from the war and finishing his undergraduate degree at Middlebury, Mr. Bangs became a claims adjuster for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, but dreamt of becoming a lawyer. He applied to the University of Michigan Law School, because he fell in love with the school during his experience there. After winning a Moot Court competition, he knew he wanted to become a trial lawyer. Mr. Bangs rejoined the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company as a lawyer after graduation from law school in 1953 and stayed there until joining Choate, Hall & Stewart in 1956.

"He was really one of the last true gentlemen lawyers," said Mark Cahill, the current chairman of Choate, Hall & Stewart's litigation department. "I've known him for many years and he always asked me to call him Will, but I couldn't. He was always Mr. Bangs to me, and to many of us. He truly represented what is great about the legal profession and his humor and presence will be missed."

Mr. Bangs leaves his wife Judy of Carlisle; daughters Marjorie Bangs of Belmont and Martha Haddad and husband Steven of Newton; and three grandchildren. A funeral service was held on July 8 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord Center.

• Carlisle residents Heidi and Vaughn Harring of West Street joined residents of Acton and Boxborough as part of the Lick Cancer Team. Each rider committed to raising a minimum of $3,000 per person. The riders sought pledges from family, friends and co-workers as part of their fundraising efforts. Team members included three first-time riders and veterans of as many as nine prior rides.

The two-day event took place August 6 and 7 with the first-leg, a 112-mile ride starting at 6:00 a.m. in Sturbridge on a cool and foggy morning. The weather slowly warmed but to the bikers' delight, not too much, as the riders made their way to Bourne. Once in Bourne, the riders made their way to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy campus where they were fed, entertained, offered complimentary messages and slept over in the school dorms, the training ship "The Enterprise" or in tents. Sunday, August 7 saw the riders pedal over the Sagamore Bridge starting the 80-mile ride at 5:15 a.m. on their way out to Provincetown and the end of the grueling two-day trip.

All along the route the riders were cheered on by cancer patients, cancer survivors, well-wishers and other enthusiastic supporters. Since this is the 26 year of the ride, many supporters along the route were prepared with signs, costumes, food water, encouraging words and upbeat music to cheer on the more than 4,000 riders who completed the ride. In addition more than 2,000 volunteers managed the bikers' food, water, equipment and logistics requirements.

Other riders from Carlisle were Brad Eckler, Elizabeth Ahern, Andrew Barlow, Chip Bevier, Laurie Bevier, Gigi Bondick, Mark Cragan and Mark Robart.

Graduates and honors

Jonathan H. Tang of Rutland Street, and Ning Zhang of Virginia Farme Lane received bachelor's degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

• Carlisle students named to the Dean's List at Syracuse University are Nicole Babine of Oak Knoll Road and Trevor Bush of West Street.

• Brooks School junior Charles Cornish of Russell Street has received highest honors for achieving a grade average of 92 or above. Brooks School is located in North Andover.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito