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Many members of the legal community, including three Supreme Court justices and a U.S. District Court judge, joined a gathering of friends and relatives to wish the inimitable Ed Garvey a happy retirement from the practice of law Wedneday evening.

Garvey dissolved his long-standing law firm earlier this year and made his retirement from practice official this month.

Those who spoke at the event in the Concourse Hotel noted how he based his entire career on helping the powerless fight legal battles against the powerful. Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson described the courage he exhibited throughout his career and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley called Garvey a hero for practicing the law the way it was meant to be.

The man who was the first leader of the National Football League Players Association and frequently butted heads with many of the wealthy plutocrats who owned football teams, was blown away by the crowd, which included people he represented in significant legal victories over the years. His first thanks, though, went to his wife Betty, who he said made his nearly half century in practice possible.

As one who has been close to Ed for the past couple of decades, I can second that praise of Betty. Garvey is one to host gatherings at his home in Shorewood Hills, many of them fundraisers for the likes of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, at which Betty has prepared and served sumptuous snacks and meals for guests who typically overrun the house. She's also been at Ed's side through all his legal and political battles and is herself an active progressive.

Fortunately, Ed is retiring just from the legal practice. He'll continue to be involved with FightingBob.com — his daily blog will go on — and Fighting Bob Fest, which we at The Capital Times co-sponsor to bring together progressives from throughout Wisconsin and nationally. This year's fest has already been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Dane County Coliseum.

Peter McKeever, who has been associated with Garvey in legal practice for the past many years, served as the master of ceremonies at Wednesday evening's affair and remarked that there's only one Ed Garvey.

And, indeed, that's true. We've all been lucky to have him in our midst all these years.

 

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