Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 135, page(s) 729-731

OBITUARY SKETCH OF THOMAS J. WALL

Judge Thomas J. Wall was born in Torrington, Connecticut, on February 19, 1879, and died in his home city on September 5, 1948.

He attended the local public schools, studied law in the office of Walter Holcomb, took his last year of law at the Yale Law School, from which he was graduated in 1906, and immediately started the practice of law in Torrington. While engaged in the study of law, and for some time after his admittance to the bar, he was active in the real estate market and was instrumental in the improvement and development of business and residential sections in the city of Torrington.

Being intensely interested in civic, fraternal and political activities, Judge Wall represented his native city in the legislature for two terms, 1921 and 1923. He was a past president of the Litchfield County Bar Association, a member of the American Bar Association, chairman of the committee which drafted the present charter of Torrington, an incorporator of the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Torrington Lodge B.P.O. Elks, Mohawk Tribe I.O.R.M., Court Washington F of A, and the Robert Emmett Club. He was a sergeant in Company M, Second Regiment Connecticut Infantry, the forerunner of the present Connecticut National Guard. Having been in his youth a football and baseball player, he always retained his interest in athletic activities.

Judge Wall was prosecuting attorney of the local Police Court from 1917 to 1928 and was actively engaged in the practice of law until he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas by former Governor, now Senator, Raymond E. Baldwin, on August 31, 1940, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Origen S. Seymour. Thereafter, he was appointed to full terms in 1941 and 1945.

As a trial attorney, Judge Wall was of untiring industry, a profound student of the law with an exceptionally good memory and a quick and active mind. He was deeply loyal to his clients, an advocate who placed himself in his client's position and was more interested in the outcome of the action, at times, than his client. He was fearless toward his adversary and an able advocate.

Judge Wall brought to the Court of Common Pleas a strong and vigorous intellect, good common sense and many years of experience as a practicing attorney and trial lawyer. He was patient, tactful and resourceful, had an analytical mind and could grasp the essentials of any given situation quickly and without effort. He was a tireless worker, a student of the law who kept abreast at all times with the higher court decisions and studied them with great care and research. He was conscientious to the highest degree, possessed with judicial temperament and had not only physical but moral courage. He thoroughly enjoyed his work and derived great pleasure and satisfaction in it. This was reflected in his decisions as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

Judge Wall was endowed with great wit and the ability to describe almost any event, which was apparent in his oft-repeated task as a toastmaster at public affairs.

He was intensely interested in travel, particularly sea voyages. Whenever possible he arranged his affairs so that he and Mrs. Wall could take trips to foreign shores. Of his many trips, one to the Holy Land furnished and impressed him with never-to-be-forgotten stories which he enjoyed recounting. During the war years he was unable to indulge in boat trips, but as soon as travel was resumed he engaged passage for Ireland, remaining there briefly.

Judge Wall was a student of Shakespeare and spent a great deal of time studying and memorizing his works and was wont to quote him both from the bench and in his memorandums of decision.

Surviving Judge Wall are his wife, the former Helen C. Hoffman of Winsted, to whom he was married on September 26, 1906; two sons, Thomas F. Wall, former municipal court judge and now public defender, and Robert A. Wall, now a judge of the Municipal Court of Torrington, both of whom practiced law with their father prior to his elevation to the bench; four daughters, Mrs. John J. Gatesy of Torrington, Mrs. Joseph B. Kenny of Hartford, Mrs. John J. Fay of Windsor and Miss Helene Wall of New York City; two brothers, Edmond J. Wall and William J. Wall; a sister, Miss Agnes C. Wall; nine grandchildren; and several nephews and nieces.