Philip R. Gebhardt
Philip R. Gebhardt was born in Clinton, NJ on July 12, 1898. He was one of five children of William C. Gebhardt, a New Jersey State Senator, prominent member of the New Jersey bar for over forty years, and founder of the firm that is now known as Gebhardt & Kiefer, PC.
Philip attended Clinton public schools and graduated from high school in 1915. He then attended Lafayette College and New York Law School, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1923. In 1924, he was admitted to the New Jersey bar and joined his father and older brother, W. Reading Gebhardt, in general practice in Clinton. The firm at that time was known as William C. Gebhardt and Son. (Earlier, sister Elinor had also practiced with her father.) After the passing of William C. Gebhardt in 1929, the two sons continued the firm as Gebhardt & Gebhardt. In 1931, they formed a partnership with E. Herbert “Bud” Kiefer, creating the firm of Gebhardt & Kiefer.
On June 18, 1924, Philip married Frances Bien of Clinton. They had two sons: Philip R. Gebhardt, Jr. (born August 27, 1927), and Ronald E. Gebhardt (born March 15, 1930).
Philip served for fifteen years as county solicitor of Hunterdon County, holding that appointment without interruption from 1924 to 1939. He also served as solicitor for the town of Clinton; the boroughs of High Bridge and Lebanon; and the townships of Bethlehem, Union, and Readington. He was also president of the Clinton Town Building & Loan Association. And he served in the New Jersey Assembly from 1936 to 1937.
On May 1, 1942, Philip was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Hunterdon County by Governor Edison, and served in that role until April 1, 1947. Additionally, in April 1943, he was designated to temporarily preside over the Common Pleas Court in Warren County until that vacancy could be filled.
In 1951, Philip was elected President of the New Jersey State Bar Association. He also served as president of the Council of Churches and of the Municipal Officers’ Association in Hunterdon County. In addition, he served on the NJ Board of Education from 1952 - 1957. And from 1955 to 1968, Philip served as a Judge of the Hunterdon County Court.
Philip was a member of the American Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Hunterdon County Bar Association (charter member), and the Warren County Bar Association. He was affiliated fraternally with Steward Lodge No. 34 Free and Accepted Masons, the Knights of Pythias at High Bridge, and the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity. He also served as superintendent of the Sunday school of Clinton Presbyterian Church for over 25 years, and was a member of the church choir.
Politically, Philip was a Democrat and an influential leader in local councils of his party.
His favorite hobby was tennis.
Philip retired after 60 years as a member of the bar, and passed away on Oct. 26, 1986.