Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Obituary


John LaVelle, served church through law

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

VILLA HILLS - John C. "Jack" LaVelle, a founding partner of the Deters, Benzinger & LaVelle law firm in Crestview Hills, died Sunday of esophageal cancer at St. Elizabeth Hospice in Covington. The Villa Hills resident was 57.

"Jack wanted to be remembered as a man who loved his family and his God," said his wife of 34 years, Linda Gaskins LaVelle.

His son, Stephen LaVelle of Villa Hills, recalled that, "Dad would go to the office at 7:30 a.m., work until dinnertime, help us with our homework and return to the office when we went to bed. Dad was determined to be home for family dinners."

Mr. LaVelle represented a number of religious institutions, including the Diocese of Covington, and was a member of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association.

"Jack was dedicated to the Catholic Church, both spiritually and professionally," said Robert Hoffer of Fort Mitchell, a partner at the law firm who worked with Mr. LaVelle for 23 years. "The hallmark of his legal career was service to his church."

Known for his ethics and attention to detail, Mr. LaVelle was "always the consummate advocate for his clients, and he demanded the same of everyone who worked with him at the law firm," said another partner, James Dressman III of Edgewood, who worked with him for 25 years.

Mr. LaVelle graduated from Thomas More College with an accounting degree in 1966. He worked for the Kentucky Finance Cabinet while attending the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, where he received his law degree in 1970.

He teamed up with Charles Deters and Gerald Benzinger to establish the firm in 1972. Mr. LaVelle practiced corporate and tax law, estate planning and probate law. "Jack was the ideal partner," Gerald Benzinger of Lakeside Parksaid. "He always put the needs of the law firm and our staff before himself."

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include two daughters, Sarah LaVelle of Winton Place and Susan LaVelle Ficke of Park Hills; another son, Philip LaVelle of Villa Hills; his mother, Mary R. Blanchet LaVelle of Covington; a brother, Jerry LaVelle of Denver; and two sisters, Joan Burkhardt of Covington and Rose Tumulty of Richmond, Va.

Visitation is 3-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Mother of God Church, 119 W. Sixth St. in Covington. Mass of Christian burial is 7 p.m. Thursday at the church. A reception will follow in the church. Burial will be at Mother of God Cemetery.

Memorials: Covington Latin School, 21 E. 11th St., Covington, KY 41011; Mother of God Church, 119 W. Sixth St., Covington, KY 41011; or Thomas More College, 333 Thomas More Parkway, Crestview Hills, KY 41017.

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com




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