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Former state Supreme Court justice Zappala Sr. remembered for distinguished service

Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen A. Zappala Sr. is being remembered for his distinguished career in public service after his death.

Zappala, 88, of Collier, passed away Friday. According to his online obituary, he was born in 1932 and served not only in a private practice legal career in Allegheny County, but was a veteran of the United States Army, Director of Planning and Development of Allegheny County, county solicitor, county judge and Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In 2001, he was elevated to the position of Supreme Court chief justice. He retired as a Supreme Court justice in December 2002.

While serving on the state’s highest court, he initiated, developed and fully integrated the largest court automation system of its type in the country. His efforts combined and automated systems of the three appellate courts in Pennsylvania making it much easier and efficient for litigants, counsel and the courts to operate, according to our partners at The Trib.

“His distinguished legal career, and interest in public service, benefitted our community,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “His dedication to the legal profession coupled with community service can be seen in his son, our District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. Our deepest sympathies to the District Attorney and the entire Zappala family on their loss.”

He was married to his wife, Phyllis, for 65 years. In addition to his son, Stephen Jr., he is also survived by a son, Gregory, and two daughters, J. Michele Peck and Dana Felix.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Kimberly.

Family and friends will be received from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the William Slater II Funeral Service, 1650 Greentree Road, Scott Township. A funeral service will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Calvary Cemetery Lower Mausoleum.