MADISON—Henry A. Field Jr., nationally recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, died in Madison on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, at the age of 90. Henry was born in Kilbourn, Wis., on July 8, 1928, to Henry A. Field and Georgia Coakley Field. He graduated from Wisconsin Dells High School, received a Bachelor of Philosophy cum laude from Marquette University, and earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he was on the Wisconsin Law Review’s Board of Editors and graduated among the top in his class, receiving the Order of the Coif.
Following service in the U.S. Army intelligence during the Korean War, Henry returned to Madison and worked as an assistant United States attorney before joining the Madison law firm that later became Boardman, Suhr, Curry & Field and bore his name for decades.
Henry joined the firm to head up its insurance defense practice. Well, actually, for a number of years Henry was the firm’s defense practice. Over the decades that followed, Henry led what became a successful trial practice group. He tried many cases, and the young lawyers mentored by his example themselves went on to become successful trial lawyers and partners. Henry won more than his share of cases but never once lost sight of the fact that trials were searches for truth, and that everyone, the court, adversaries, witnesses, everyone was entitled to be treated with respect.
During his more than 50 years of private practice, Henry received many honors. He was inducted a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, high national recognition available to a small percentage of American trial lawyers and served as the College’s Wisconsin state chairman. He was a Master in the American Inns of Court, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, a chairman of the State Bar of Wisconsin Litigation Section, and a president of the Dane County Bar Association. He was listed in Who’s Who in America, Best Lawyers in America, and Who’s Who in American Law.
Henry contributed significant time to legal and state organizations. He was a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Wisconsin Bar Foundation, a member of the board of directors of the Dane County Bar Pro Bono Trust Fund, a director and president of the Family Service Society, a Wisconsin Supreme Court-appointed referee in attorney discipline matters, and a chairman of the American Bar Association Wisconsin legislation committee.
After retirement in 2013, Henry kept abreast of the trials and tribulations of the lawyers he had mentored, while also continuing to pursue his many diverse interests. He was an intellectual but did not wear it on his sleeve. He was a voracious reader, arts, language, history, philosophy, and could speak with anyone on nearly any subject. Henry loved life and above all loved his wife, Molly, and gatherings with his family and friends. He was unfailingly warm and kind and known to all for his hearty laugh and extraordinary sense of humor.
Henry is survived by his large, extended family, who all love and treasure him and all of whom he loved dearly. His survivors include his wife, Molly Martin; his daughter, Susan Field Hempel; his stepsons, Christopher Martin and Joe Martin; his son-in-law, Tom Hempel; his daughters-in-law, Raelene Field, Phoebe Hefko and Meryl Butters; his grandchildren, Zoë Field, Casey Field, Nate Martin and Eliza Martin; his brothers-in-law, Mike Kelly and Tim Kelly; his sisters-in-law, Barbara Rainear and Patty Kelly; and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Patricia Young Field; his daughter, Mary Patricia Field; his son, Tom Field; and five sisters.
A celebration of Henry’s life will be held on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, at the MADISON CLUB from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please share your memories of Henry via email at rheyerholm@BoardmanClark.com, or c/o Rita Heyerholm, Boardman & Clark, 1 S. Pinckney St., Suite 410, P.O. Box 927, Madison, WI 53701-0927.
Donations may be made to Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area at https://www.dsconnection.org/donate-now.php.