Retired NCRA member Charlene Nicholas passes

Retired lifetime member of NCRA Charlene E. Nicholas, RPR (Ret.), passed away on July 25. She as a court reporter for the Dayton, Ohio, Municipal Courts before becoming a freelance court reporter and establishing her own company.

Read more.

In Memoriam: Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams passed away on June 3, 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Freida was an accomplished court reporter, dancer, and philanthropist. One of her many philanthropic passions was giving back to the court reporting profession, including as an Angel for the past 12 years, and as a member of NCRF’s Legacy Society.

To properly pay tribute to Freida, we asked two of her closest friends, Paula Laws and Tommy Crites, to share some thoughts about their dear friend.

Paula Laws | Freida, was a self-starter, taught at a very young age to be a progressive, independent business woman. She was raised in her mother’s court reporting business, and when she took over the business, raised it to even greater heights. She was also taught how very important it is to give back to the profession, which she did as President of FCRA and STAR. She also served on many committees. What she should be remembered for is her willingness to open her wallet (or raise her AMEX card) whenever there was a need in the profession. She always gave generously. Freida was unique, always commanding attention when she entered a room.  She will be greatly missed.

Tommy Crites | I want to start off by saying, the older we get, the more one realizes it’s not what happens, but how you deal with it. And I keep telling myself, time will ease the pain. For every life that fades, something beautiful remains.

The last two months of Freida’s life I had the pleasure serving as Frieda’s “houseboy” 24/7 overseeing Freida and all the many nurses. For all to know, the journey was sweet, thanks to Freida’s courage, and all the many prayers, cards, messages, flowers and visitors from all over the country.

I think Freida would want everyone to not be afraid to die. In those last six weeks at her beautiful home on Lake Hollingsworth, she continued each week to have her hair done, facials, her manis and pedis, her massages, all with a bottle of champagne. We had a champagne garden party that Paula Laws organized; the derby party with hats and champagne; a Royal Wedding Day which started for us at 5:30 a.m. with hats and champagne; a Mother’s Day turkey dinner with champagne, actually a week early, as we lost all track of time.  All the while, through the busy weeks, dozens of visitors coming to say goodbye, and Freida tending each day to unfinished business, such as personally arranging for her High Mass and most important to her planning the party following the service at the Huntington Hills Country Club with lots of decorations, flowers, food, champagne, and a SW champagne glass for every guest to take home.

A typical Tuesday: changing of the nurses at 7:00 a.m.; the yard boys would arrive at 8:00 a.m.; LoLee Duncan, the angel who for over 20 years took care of the upkeep of the lake house and beach house, would arrive by 9:00 a.m.; Vivian, her housekeeper would arrive before 10:00 a.m., as would the dog groomer and Cora Hutson, her bookkeeper of over ten years; and there was the army of eight lake cleaners that would come. And the flowers and food would be arriving all day, and the boy who sprayed her beautiful roses would find his way in, as did the gator control guy. Freida in control all the while on her walkie-talkie. And I was busy fixing her beautiful food trays.

With the changing of the nurses at 7:00 p.m., everyone gone, Freida and I would watch a movie, go through her cards, and look through boxes and boxes of pictures going back 70 years, and laughing all the while. She and I never shared tears together, only laughter.

For over five decades much has been written about Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Rosie and Freida, regarding their many contributions to the court reporting profession, their loyal support to FCRA, NCRA, NCRF, NNRC, and many other organizations, and we all know about their many awards and accomplishments, so let me share a bit more.

What I think most people are not aware, in the early 50s Freida began a dancing career at the Betsye Kay Dancing School, and the last program I found was the 25th Annual Dance Review in May of 1978 where Freida was still performing. She was a very accomplished flamenco dancer as well in the late 50s and early 60s. Freida also went to modeling school and had a short history as a model.

Freida also had a love for running, and made many long-distance runs across the country.  And the only complaint and concern the last two months, “I don’t understand why I can’t walk or use my legs.”  But she was blessed with no physical pain until the last 72 hours, and her mind was sharp until we had to administer the painkillers.

I hope everyone will remember Freida as The Lady in Red, with the Janis Joplin stomp, a marvel of life, a heart of gold, feisty, funny, a true angel, was almost always right and made sure everyone else knew it, and all who knew her will never forget how beautiful she was, that beautiful smile and that glint in her eyes. On behalf of Freida, I wish to thank everyone for your many prayers, cards, flowers and kind words.

Freida’s legacy should be that she stayed on course…from the beginning to the end, because she had a passion for everything that she believed in.

And Freida would like these words, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”  Cheers to you, Freida.

IN MEMORIAM: Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams died on June 3, 2018, after a long fight with cancer. Born on Aug. 10, 1944, in Deland, Fla., the only child of Rosie and John Sclafani, Freida was full of ambition. As a young girl, Freida was a talented dancer, with the skill and dedication to make this her profession. Instead, she went on to forge one of the most successful court reporting careers in Florida.

Court reporting piqued her interest at an early age. When she was 9 years old, she placed the carbon between the sheets of paper to help her mother type transcripts for the court reporting firm then-named Rosie Sclafani and Associates. After attending the University of South Florida, she became the judicial assistant to former Circuit Judge A.H. Lane. In 1962, Freida enrolled in the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville and joined her mother’s firm as a court reporter in 1971.

In 1979, Freida was appointed a state official court reporter and served in that position until 1995. During this time, she also oversaw the daily operations of the Lakeland office. In 1980, the name of the firm was changed to Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Inc. Five years later, Freida became president of the company to continue her mothers legacy once Rosie fell ill. Under Freida’s keen management, the business was the first in the area to integrate new technologies, such as video conferencing and digital reporting, and by the end of her career, she had opened 6 office locations.

Among her many recognitions and achievements, Freida served as president of the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) from 1999-2000 and was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service Award by FCRA in 2002. She was the recipient of the National Association of Women’s Business Owners “Women of Distinction Award” and Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Inc., was listed in the Tamp Bay Business Journal’s top 75 women-owned business in the state of Florida in 2003 and 2004. She also served as vice president of the Florida Official Court Reporter Association, an organization committed to court reporting education.

More often than not, Freida wore black, red, and white with a sparkling swan pin, symbolizing her love of Lakeland. She will be remembered for her commitment to service both the court reporting and Polk County communities while helping others achieve their dreams. Throughout her 36-year career, she mentored and encouraged countless court reporting interns — teaching them business strategies and best practices. In addition, she was heavily involved in the Society for Technological Advancement of Reporting, eventually becoming president in 2007, and was part of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Court Reporters Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and the National Network Reporting Company. In Polk County, she helped fundraise for the restoration of the historic Polk Theater, supported the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and provided pro bono video conferencing services to the Polk Museum of Art.

Freida believed that being involved in the community she loved was her strength: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” She will be missed.

Tom Crites
Savannah, Ga.

 

IN MEMORIAM: Joseph T. Pudlo

Joseph T. Pudlo, age 86, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2018.  He was a partner with former NCRA President Sally J. Cochran and Secretary-Treasurer Richard B. Heilig, along with Jerome B. Sewell, John Jaroski, and Ken Kozlowski in Chicago.

“Mr. Pudlo,” as he became known to the legion of reporters he trained, was an avid story teller and mentor, and he left a significant mark on everyone he came in contact with. His high standards challenged every reporter to be the best and always “reach for the stars.”

Here is a recent photo with a small fraction of reporters he took under his wing when they were very young and now showing their respect almost 30 years later.

Everyone has a “Joe Pudlo story” that they could tell and would fill the pages of this Journal; but suffice it to say, he will be remembered fondly. In his honor we will always sing:

 

 

Sto lat Sto lat!
Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Sto lat! Sto lat!
Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Jeszcze raz! Jeszcze raz! Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Niech zyje nam!

100 years! 100 years!
They live, live among us!
100 years! 100 years!
They live, live among us!
Again, again! They live, live among us!
Live among us!

 

Ken Kozlowski
Marco Island, Fla.

IN MEMORIAM: Allen Edelist, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

Allen Edelist on his ascension to the presidency of the California Court Reporters Association in 1993

Allen Edelist on his ascension to the presidency of the California Court Reporters Association in 1993.

The court reporting profession lost an icon last week: Allen Edelist, FAPR, RPR (Ret.), passed away on May 16, 2018, at the age of 67. Allen was a generous, loyal, and true colleague and friend who dedicated a great deal of his time to the advancement of the court reporting profession. He was an avid fan of the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Kings, and he had season tickets for many years and hated to miss a game! And, of course, those who knew him were well aware of his “groupie side,” following the rock band Procol Harum all over the world to see them perform! Allen was also a long-term trustee of the Los Angeles School of Law and Paralegal Studies and a member and supporter of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles.

Allen’s career in court reporting began in the early 1970s when he enrolled at Clark Court Reporting College in Santa Monica, Calif. He passed the California CSR exam in 1978 and opened his deposition agency, A. Edelist Deposition Services, soon after in 1979. His greatest accomplishment as an agency owner was his devotion to mentoring students and reporters, new and seasoned, throughout his 40 years in the field.

Allen never missed an opportunity to get involved in court reporting association work as evidenced by time served as a board member and multiple officer positions of both Los Angeles General Shorthand Reporters Association and California Court Reporters Association (CCRA), ultimately serving as president October 1993-1994. He was an active member of the National Court Reporters Association for over 40 years, attending most annual conventions as well as firm owners’ retreats. Needless to say, he was extremely generous monetarily and spent an inordinate amount of time helping to produce legislation, continuing education, and public relations programs through these organizations. Allen received many awards throughout his extensive career highlighted by CCRA’s Distinguished Service Award and becoming a Fellow of NCRA.

As a leader and visionary in the court reporting arena, Allen continually strived to advance the profession as evidenced in the following excerpt taken from his CCRA presidential speech on October 9, 1993:

By virtue of the technological presentation we make, we are a unique breed. We are on the cutting edge of information management. The presentation of the spoken word that can be transmitted immediately through a computer and projected onto a screen or printed in braille, integrating the ingredients of litigation support, telecommunications, scanning of documents into the records and CD-ROM text is the future and the future is now.

In the 1970s, we were not unlike Orville and Wilbur Wright. We started by building a base for a product we could offer. Through rapid advancements by the computer industry, as well as futuristic thinking by our CAT vendors, we have continued to grow, now as realtime reporters. We can further our advancement by committing to a program of continuing education that will enable us to converse fluently as computer-literate reporters.

RIP, Allen. You have been an inspiration to many both personally and professionally. Your close friends and colleagues will miss you and your impact on what you once coined “this incredible profession.”

Michele Oken, RPR, CMRS (Ret.)
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

IN MEMORIAM: Kahryn “Queenie” Nix Wolfe

Surrounded by loving family, Kahryn “Queenie” Nix Wolfe lost her brief but valiant fight with cholangiocarcinoma on March 1, 2018.

Kahryn Nix

Kahryn Nix

Kahryn was born to James Pentecost and Renee (Pentecost) McNett in Detroit, Mich., on February 16. If I told you the year, Kahryn would return to this world and kill me.

Kahryn moved to Phoenix in 1964, after graduating from high school and the American Institute of Court Reporting. She started her court reporting career with Bartelt King in the early 1980s. In 1985 Kahryn opened Nix & Associates, later merging with Larry Driver’s firm and launching Driver & Nix. In 2017 she rejoined Bartelt to form Bartelt | Nix.

Kahryn was an active member and past President of the Arizona Court Reporters Association. She was a longtime member and supporter of the National Court Reporters Association and the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (STAR). Kahryn networked with member agencies across the country and became known as “Queenie” to her friends. And there was, and always will be, only one Queen.

An avid traveler, Kahryn enjoyed regularly attending NCRA’s Firm Owners Executive Conference and STAR conventions. Although she may not attend all the seminars, you would always find her at the social events, including organized dinners with friends, on the dance floor, singing around the piano and pop-up live music, laughing with court reporter and firm owner friends. Kahryn loved a party, and she made each conference a party to remember.

Kahryn freely shared her knowledge of the court reporting industry, helping firm owners set up successful systems, explore new technologies, and sharing best practices. Her reputation for integrity and excellence attracted firm owners who were ready to turn over the business side of things to her. If you were a friend of Kahryn’s, she shared her strategy for merging with firms and acquiring businesses. Rule No. 1: Do what you say you will do, and then do more.

Her generosity was not limited to the court reporting community. In 1998, Kahryn became involved with and joined the board of the nonprofit group Phoenix Youth at Risk, now known as New Pathways for Youth. She was the driving force behind many of the fundraisers for this program that was vital to helping at-risk youth achieve a new set of goals that positively impacted their futures. In the late 1990s, Kahryn also began a clothing company called Kidz Blvd., which donated all profits to women in villages overseas to enable them to become more financially independent and purchase their own sewing machines and textiles. She was also a member of Arizona Legal Foundation for Services & Education, Women at the Top (WATT), the Rose Club, and Social Venture Partners.

Kahryn made sure she kept in touch with friends and made sure they knew how much they meant to her. In a moment that seems prophetic, last year she reached out to her longtime pal Larry Driver and commiserated about the friends they had lost, how much she missed them, and how they needed to stay in touch so that this didn’t happen to them too. In October, she picked up the phone and insisted they have lunch and catch up. That would be the last time these two old friends would see each other, but thank goodness they did.

Kahryn was a dear friend to many of us. We will especially miss her big heart, her wit, and her wicked sense of humor. I think she would approve of us sharing a few of her rules for life:

  1. Laughing burns calories.
  2. Update your haircut (and color choice) regularly.
  3. Earrings, bracelets, and rings – yes; necklaces — no.
  4. Black, not brown.
  5. Wine is diet food.
  6. There’s nothing wrong with looking.

The next time you are at a court reporter convention, tip a glass in her honor, get out on the dance floor, and always – always! — have fun. Cheers, Queenie.

Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR
Portland, Ore.

Former NCRA Member Betty Armstrong Dole Passes

On May 12, The Enterprise reported that former NCRA member Betty Armstrong Dole passed away in Palo Alto, Calif. Dole was an official court reporter.

Read more.

Former NCRA Member passes away

Dorothy Nell Bayless, of Plano, Texas, passed away on March 2. She was an Oklahoma state court reporter in the Osage and Tulsa County Court Systems and was chosen Oklahoma State Court Reporter of the Year while she was a reporter in Tulsa County.

Read more.

NCRA member Brenda Bertram passes

NCRA member Brenda Jean Bertram, RMR, an official court reporter from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., passed away on Feb. 23.

Read more.

Former NCRA member Maurice David West passes away

The Seguin Gazette posted an obituary Feb. 25 for Maurice David West, age 82 of Kingsbury, Texas. West was a retired official court reporter and past member of NCRA who passed away on Feb. 23.

Read more.