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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

UT law professor had keen interest in lives of students

Clarence Frederick Hyrne, Jr., a Toledo lawyer and former professor at the University of Toledo college of law, died Sunday at the Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek, Springfield Township. He was 89.

He died from pneumonia, his son, Michael Hyrne, said.

A native of Columbus, Ga., Mr. Hyrne grew up in Key West and Miami and graduated from the University of Florida in 1939.

He also received a graduate degree from the University of Illinois.

He moved to Ohio to work at Wright Aeronautical in Cincinnati, where he met his wife, Ruth Steding.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati college of law, and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1948.

A year later, he turned to a job where he would work for 39 years as a professor at the UT law school.

He had a love of language, which is important to legal writing, Michael Hyrne said. He had the knack of translating these very, very technical areas of law into understandable language.

He taught law full-time until 1961, when he went to work for Toledo Trust Co. and later Ohio Citizens Bank, while still teaching law part-time.

He returned to a full-time position at UT in 1975, and remained at the university until he retired in 1988.

Not content to simply teach from the textbook, Mr. Hyrne created for his classes a fictional character Casey, of Casey s Tool Works Inc., who found himself in legal predicaments that students were assigned to solve.

Mr. Hyrne also represented indigent criminal defendants, often appearing before judges who were former students.

Michael Hyrne, a lawyer who works as a mediator, said his father earned students trust and affection by taking an interest in their lives outside the classroom.

His personal style of teaching goes back to his first few years as a professor, when he was only a few years older than the students.

He would know them as people, he would know what kind of jobs they had, Michael Hyrne said. I think a lot of students would be surprised to know how much he knew about their other lives, and how interested he was in them.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth; son, Michael; daughter, Ellen Wells, and four grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at the SouthBriar Restaurant, 5147 Main St., Sylvania, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania, is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Bittersweet Farms.



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