Over a period of 46 years, my family used the services of two lawyers: Theodore Lea and George Bruckert.

Mr. Lea was a soft-spoken Southern gentleman whose fields of expertise were taxation and estate planning. He was not only a lawyer but also a CPA with offices on La Salle Street, but he would come to our home on a Saturday in February to collect the necessary tax documents. He would also come again in early March to discuss what he had done, and what papers had to be signed and sent to the IRS.

My mother had known Mrs. Lea before either of the women had married. Mrs. Lea had married in 1938 (my parents married in 1939), and the Leas lived in a huge apartment on North Sheridan Road in Chicago.

Whenever Mr. Lea came to our home, I always made a point of watching for the moment when my dad and Mr. Lea stood next to each other. Mr. Lea was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, and my dad was 5-feet-11. Height-wise, they reminded me of the cartoon characters, Mutt and Jeff.

Mr. Lea was an avid pipe smoker, and whenever we visited the Leas, he always made a point of showing his pipe collection to us and explaining where he bought the pipes and the merits of each one. The apartment smelled like a tobacco shop, and at that time in my life, I was repelled by the ”aroma.”

After Mr. Lea retired from practice, he and his family moved to Arizona, and I never saw him again.

Then George Bruckert became our family’s lawyer. His office was at 115 N. Marion in Oak Park, and his fields of practice — like Mr. Lea’s — were estate planning and taxation.

 My mother had known his secretary, Lucy Krogman, for many years, so it seemed natural that we utilize the services of the man Lucy called the best tax and estate lawyer in Oak Park. My family believed this to be true after George re-wrote their wills and did their estate planning.

George Bruckert was a tall, razor-thin man who looked like the actor Christopher Walken. He always dressed like he had stepped out of Vanity Fair and carried himself like a soldier. George was a graduate of OPRF High School, the University of Wisconsin and that university’s law school.

Mr. Bruckert was a scholarly man who spent time each week in the library of the Chicago Bar Association studying current law reports. He was also a bachelor in his late 30s and, according to his secretary, quite a lady’s man.

After my grandfather died, Mr. Bruckert planned my grandmother’s estate in such a way that she would have a monthly income for the rest of her life.

By the time he retired, all of my family members were deceased, and Carol and I had a different lawyer.

I liked both of these men, and I was always amazed by their profound knowledge. They were good friends who ably took care of my family’s legal needs for almost 50 years.

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