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Published: Thursday, 9/13/2007

Delphos lawyer served church's Court of Equity

DELPHOS, Ohio - Paula Ann Minzing, 83, who was one of two women in her Washington law school class and returned to her hometown and practiced law there for more than 50 years, died Tuesday in Vancrest Health Care Center, Delphos, where she'd been since June.

She had cancer.

Miss Minzing had not retired. Her law office was still open.

"She was just that type of person," said Jan Klausing, her secretary. "She was very strong-willed. There was no reason for her to retire, and we still had business."

Miss Minzing mostly handled estate and probate cases. "She liked to help people out when she could," Mrs. Klausing said.

Miss Minzing was appointed to the Court of Equity of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo at its founding in 1970 by Bishop John Donovan.

The court is made up of 11 people, including two priests, two nuns, and seven lay people, many of whom are lawyers. The court considers complaints lodged against administrative decisions of parishes or diocesan departments and institutions.

She was presiding judge from 1977-81. Her duties included selecting panels of three court members to hear individual complaints and make recommendations to the full court, said Frank Link, current presiding judge.

The entire court meets twice a year and, in between meetings, Mr. Link often consulted with her by phone.

"She was one of the original members of the court and, in my opinion, just an outstanding member," Mr. Link said. "It was her knowledge of the law and her dedication to church law and to the diocese itself.

"She had a rather delightful personality, and she was the type of person who seemed to get along with everyone on the court," Mr. Link said. "And everyone to my knowledge respected her and her opinions."

From 1986-2005, she was president of the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation, a non-profit group that awards grants to projects, particularly in the Delphos area.

Miss Minzing was a 1942 graduate of St. John's High School in Delphos and was a 1946 graduate of Marygrove College in Detroit.

She went to law school at Catholic University of America in Washington, where she was one of two women in her 1949 graduating class.

She was unfazed. She likely believed, "•'If that guy can do it, I can do better,'•" Mrs. Klausing said. "That's what I liked about her."

Miss Minzing passed Ohio and Washington bar exams. But she did not begin to practice law when she returned to Delphos. Instead, she taught English and civics at St. John's High School from 1951-54.

She joined the John Marsh, Jr., law firm in 1955. Seven years later, she became a partner in the firm Marsh, Minzing & Metzner.

Miss Minzing was a member of St. John the Evangelist Church, Delphos.

There are no immediate survivors.

The body will be in the Harter and Schier Funeral Home, Delphos, after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a St. John the Evangelist Parish wake service at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the mortuary. The funeral will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. John the Evangelist Church, Delphos. Tributes are suggested to the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation Inc. or to St. Rita's Hospice in Lima, Ohio.



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