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Nearly 50-year Springfield attorney dies

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Tom Dwyer, a practicing lawyer in the Springfield area for nearly 50 years, died in his home Monday. He was 91.

Dwyer spent most of his career as a sole practitioner focusing on general civil cases, said Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association Executive Director Crista Hogan. The SMBA issued a notice about Dwyer’s death to its members yesterday.

His first role as a lawyer was as partner to Irving W. Schwab, and according to his obituary, he was the first full-time U.S. magistrate for the Western District of Missouri from 1971-73 and played a role in developing processes and hearings for prisoner petitions at the U.S. Medical Center.

Hogan said longtime SMBA member Dwyer was a “super smart, super old-school attorney,” who, like many lawyers, was “very tuned into government and politics.”

Dwyer passed the Missouri Bar in 1955 and remained a member of the bar for the next 63 years. Hogan said he began to wind down his practice in 2001, as she was coming into her role at the Springfield bar.

Dwyer graduated from Central High School in 1944 and five years later graduated with a bachelor’s from Drury University.

His law career was put on hold briefly during his four years of service aboard the USS Hitchiti as a member of the U.S. Navy from 1949-53, according to his obituary.

“I think about how much that must have changed their perspective and made them better lawyers,” Hogan said of men of Dwyer’s generation who volunteered for military service.

He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri in 1955. While in school, he was inducted into the academic honor society, the Order of the Coif, and served on the Law Review. He also was a member of the National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors.

“It’s powerful to sometimes reflect on the lives of what is called the greatest generation and their contributions,” Hogan said.

Funeral services will be held today at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home with a private burial service tomorrow.

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