SCRANTON, Pa. --- The long line of mourners snaked through the first floor of the federal building and U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown Scranton as people came to pay their respects to a longtime judge inside the building that bears his name.
The wake for Senior Federal Judge William Nealon was held Thursday.
The judge passed away last Thursday while at home with family.
Among those waiting in line were two former clerks of Judge Nealon's who worked together for him 40 years ago.
“Mentored to dozens of people and just wonderful in every respect. Great leader, great man in the courtroom, great inspiration to people,” said William Warren from Harrisburg.
“It was amazing to me how often, you know as a clerk you read the briefs and you do research and you make recommendations to the judge, how often he'd ask a question that we hadn't thought of,” said Berne Reuben, who came in from Berkley, California for the service.
Judge Nealon had a long and storied career as he ascended to Chief Judge at the federal courthouse in Scranton, having been appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Kennedy in 1962.
At that time, he was the youngest federal judge in the country.
Just days before his passing, Judge Nealon became the longest-serving U.S. District Court judge in the history of the country.
“Yeah, it's historic, it's amazing, he was a great man,” said T.J. Granito from Washington, D.C.
Granito and two other people in line with him grew up playing with Judge Nealon's children and had fond memories.
“With my right hand up, I can't call him Judge Nealon, he's Mr. Nealon to me, he's Mr. Nealon,” said Maureen Neu from Scranton.
“He put me on trial when I was a kid because I had a fight with his son, Bobby, who was a year younger than me and all the other kids were the jury. I was convicted,” said Art Granito from Harrisburg. “But the sentence got commuted.”
The funeral mass for Judge Nealon will be held this Friday at 10 a.m. at The Nativity of Our Lord church in Scranton.