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Eberly ends 53-year career

A local attorney is retiring after working for more than five decades.

Thomas Eberly, who worked as an attorney for 53 years, spent his last day working Thursday, and his retirement is effective Monday.

Dennis Eberly, Thomas Eberly’s son and partner in the office, said it had been a pleasure to work with his father, who had been the only attorney with whom he had practiced.

“He wants to help, genuinely wants to be helpful,” he said.

Dennis Eberly said he would miss his father. He is devoted to his clients, and no one will miss him more than them, Dennis Eberly said.

“They will even miss him more than me,” he said.

Eberly, 79, said he graduated from Hopewell-Loudon High School in 1957 and from Heidelberg University with bachelor’s degree in history in 1963.

Eberly then went to what is now Case Western Reserve University and graduated in 1965. He took the Bar exam and was admitted to the Bar in October 1965.

Eberly said he wanted to be an attorney since about his senior year in high school.

He recalled his senior government class taking a trip to Tiffin and touring various places, such as the fire station and municipal court.

He witnessed a traffic trial in progress and a not-guilty verdict. Eberly said he had no family involved in law. There were no law school courses at Heidelberg, but he took a constitutional law class in the political science department.

Eberly said law school affirmed his decision.

“Right there, right in it, right now,” he said.

Thomas Eberly tried to imitate two idols – the late Frank Dore and Richard Gordon, who were attorneys in Tiffin. They did well for their clients, he said.

He said his No. 1 goal was honesty.

Thomas Eberly tried to narrow his practice to estate planning, settlement of estates and real estate. He also previously had to take on criminal cases for people who were indigent.

He said estate planning is designed to avoid probate court. Probate court has processes that help resolve disputes and make sure a decedent’s intent is carried out. But, if one can avoid it, it saves on a lot of costs, he said.

Thomas Eberly said he has put off retiring as long as he could because he enjoyed working. He said he likes the clients and court personnel.

His wife, Deborah, has retired but maintained her license as a real estate broker.

Thomas Eberly said he was looking forward to retirement and has no plans. He said he is concentrating on his health and has a big “to do” list he has been preparing.

“(I’ll) decide what to do,” he said.

Dennis Eberly, who joined the office as an attorney in 1985, is continuing the practice in the same building at 180 S. Washington St.

“Everybody’s been notified. … Nothing changes here,” Thomas Eberly said.

Judy Huffman, a legal secretary for Eberly & Eberly, started working one on one with Thomas Eberly in 2017.

Huffman said Thomas Eberly had been kind and is one of a kind, and she loved working with him.

His retirement, she said, is bittersweet. She said she’s happy for him and is going to miss him.

She recalled clients saying, “What a pleasure it is to work with him.”

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