Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen A. Zappala Sr. was remembered for his distinguished legal career and public service.

Zappala, of Collier, died Friday, May 21, 2021. He was 88.

Zappala went from a private law practice to Allegheny County planning development director to county solicitor, an Allegheny County judge in 1979, then elected to the state Supreme Court in 1981. In 2001, he was elevated to the position of Supreme Court chief justice. He retired as a Supreme Court justice in December 2002.

His son Stephen A. Zappala Jr. has been Allegheny County’s district attorney since 1998.

The younger Zappala said in a statement that his father was “an exemplary public servant, a giant in the legal profession and a stalwart leader of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.” Many of his opinions from the bench still guide the work of lawyers and the courts, Zappala Jr. stated.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement that the judge’s “distinguished legal career, and interest in public service, benefited our community.”

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