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Memorial service for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer was honored during a public memorial service at Duquesne University Tuesday morning.

Baer died unexpectedly over the weekend at his home near Pittsburgh. He was 74 years old.

Family, friends, elected officials and community members attended his memorial service earlier today inside the Power Center along Forbes Avenue.

“I’m in a state of shock — we just had lunch a couple months ago and he seemed fine,” said Frederick Frank, Baer’s former campaign treasurer.

Frank said Baer will be very missed.

“He was a remarkable person. I never had a better friend,” Frank said.

Gov. Tom Wolf was in attendance and said in a statement: “I’m extremely saddened to learn that Chief Justice Baer passed away. He was a respected and esteemed jurist with decades of service to our courts and our commonwealth. I am grateful for his contributions and leadership in the Supreme Court.”

Baer was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2003 and was sworn in as its chief justice in 2021. He was set to retire at the end of this year, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.

A Pittsburgh native, the chief justice graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971 and from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1975.

Duquesne University President Ken Gormley said in a statement: “Chief Justice Baer was a true giant in the legal profession, distinguishing himself first as a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas who revolutionized and modernized Family Division.”

Frank shared what Baer means to Western Pennsylvania

“He means a great deal to Western Pennsylvania because of the work he did as the president judge of the Family Division when he was an Allegheny County judge. But his roots are deeply here and he always thought of this as his home,” Frank said.

Baer leaves behind his wife, two children and five grandchildren.