U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Speer dies at 71

Judge Richard L. Speer
Judge Richard L. Speer

Judge Richard L. Speer of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo died Wednesday at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where he was taken after he suffered an apparent cardiac arrest as he got into his van.

A federal marshal who had been walking with him summoned help, including paramedics and an automated defibrillator, said Steve Kahle, a Lucas County coroner's investigator.

Judge Speer, 71, of Port Clinton, was pronounced dead at 5:52 p.m., Mr. Kahle said. The death is not a coroner's case.

Judge Speer was an Oak Harbor lawyer when he was named to the bankruptcy bench in 1975. In 1997, when he closed the bankruptcy of Bell & Beckwith, a brokerage firm that failed in 1983, he'd spent two-thirds of his judicial career on a case that began when investigators discovered a $47 million fraud.

He was a graduate of Fremont Ross High School and had bachelor's and law degrees from Ohio Northern University.