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Published: Friday, 4/1/2011

J. Stanley Needles, 1942-2011: Ex-prosecutor played bagpipes


FINDLAY -- J. Stanley Needles, a former Hancock County prosecutor whose bagpipe was a familiar sight -- and sound -- at weddings, funerals, and parades, died of cancer Wednesday in Blanchard Valley Hospital. He was 68.

He maintained his law practice until he became ill in December, his wife, Pat, said.

The courtroom experience he gained while prosecutor "paid off in a lot of civil cases he handled, everything from divorces [to] civil suits," said Dan Snyder, a lawyer in Findlay. "He was a serious, dedicated, honest, enthusiastic practicing attorney."

He was a 1969 law graduate of Ohio Northern University. Early on, he was a staff attorney for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. He joined the Findlay law practice of Paul Beach and, later, became a county assistant prosecutor. He was county prosecutor from 1977-84.

"He cared about people and cared that things were done correctly, to protect everyone," Mrs. Needles said.

His last year in office, he was president of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. His re-election bid in 1984 did not survive a three-candidate GOP primary. He was a member of the Findlay Bar Association, Findlay Elks, and Flag City BNI.

He was born Dec. 3, 1942, in Celina, Ohio. He was a graduate of Libbey High School in Toledo.

He had a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. His interest in the United Kingdom and in history and music inspired him to learn the bagpipe. He was on the board of the Ohio Scottish Arts School, held at Oberlin College, and taught bagpipe to students of all ages. He played for many local events, and his group, Lion Rampant Pipes, Drums, and Dancers, marched in many parades.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia, whom he married July 15, 1972; daughter, Nikki Needles; sons, Aaron and Reed Needles; mother, Elizabeth M. Needles, and sister, Elizabeth J. Needles.

Visitation will be from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Friday in the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, Findlay. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in First Lutheran Church, Findlay, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the church, Ohio Scottish Arts School, or Ohio Wesleyan University for a room to be named in his honor at the Bigelow-Reed House.

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