Wyoming reporter Al Renneisen passes away

Al Renneisen, who worked for18 years as a court reporter, died Jan. 7 in South Park, Wyo. Renneisen worked with Judge Terrence O’Brien, who is now a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit. He was also a former member of the Jackson Hole News & Guide partnership group, the news source that posted the notice on Jan. 10.

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IN MEMORIAM: Cathleen M. (Annis) Burnham

Cathleen M. “Cathi” (Annis) Burnham passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59 at her home in Warwick, R.I., on Dec. 24, 2017. Cathi was instrumental in organizing the Rhode Island Shorthand Reporters Association, keeping its members apprised of upcoming seminars and events. Following in the footsteps of her aunt, Beulah Dixon, Cathi became the owner and operator of Allied School of Court Reporting, where she taught many students from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. More importantly, though, Cathi was known for her big heart. Members became part of her family, and she ensured that each and every one knew that her door was open for advice, guidance, and support. Cathi was truly an integral part of the court reporting profession.

Maynard Peterson passes away

An obituary notice posted on the John Ireland Funeral Home website noted the passing of Maynard E. Peterson of Oklahoma City, Okla.

Peterson reported for 52 years, working in Kansas City, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Oklahoma City. He worked as both an official and a freelance reporter. He held, at one time, the RPR, RMR, and CRR. He was one of the earliest realtime reporters.

Peterson was the Associated Stenotypists of America (ASA) speed champion in 1963 and 1964, and he served as president of the Associated Stenotypists of America in 1967. (The ASA eventually merged with the National Shorthand Reporters Association (NSRA), the precursor to NCRA.) He also competed in many NSRA Speed Contests and placed second in the Speed Contest in 1975. He was named a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters in 1976.

More than just a champion reporter, Peterson was considered by many to be the court reporter’s court reporter.

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NCRA member Eleanor Ross passes away

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyPast NCRA member Eleanor Ruth Hennessy Pinard Ross, of Westfield, Pa., passed away Sept. 4. Throughout her career, she worked for the Portland, Maine, bankruptcy courts, the federal court based in Baltimore, Md., and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. She is survived by her three daughters and their families.

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IN MEMORIAM: John T. “Jack” Loynd, Sr.

John T. “Jack” Loynd, Sr., who was an associate member of the National Shorthand Reporters Association (which became the National Court Reporters Association) for many years, passed away at the home of his daughter on March 25, 2017, in North Waterboro, Maine, aged 94. He was previously a nearly lifelong resident of Waltham, Mass.

Jack served in the Army Air Corps in World War II and then in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. He was for a time a hearings stenographer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and then Chief of Elevator Inspectional Services for the state.

He is best known to our members for his evening and Saturday speed classes, at which he would preside from his rec-room desk, which for the occasion would be covered with a dozen tape recorders belonging to his students. (Starting and stopping all these machines would be a full-time job in itself.) Those students will never forget finger-spelling “Harriet Z. Quackenbos.”

It is likely that nearly every Merit reporter in Massachusetts, as well as numerous RPR candidates, passed through Jack’s home at one time or another, with some hopefuls attending for years before finally attaining their certifications. Doughnuts and coffee were always included in the minimal price of admission.

Jack was an old-time Bostonian, with a huge fund of stories of State House politics and anecdotes, now gone out of fashion, about the Irish versus the Italians.

Jack had a true generosity of spirit. When one of our members was hospitalized for a week  and given a six-hour furlough to take the Merit exam, Jack went to the hospital and dictated to her every day of that week. She passed all parts! Jack refused any payment for this signal service, but did accept a certain amount of Irish whiskey, which was amortized over the ensuing years.

In 2009, the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association held a celebratory dinner – or, as we call it here, a “time” – for Jack at his favorite Waltham restaurant. Jack had for some years been using a printout of one member’s Case Catalyst dictionary as a source of short forms in his classes. On this occasion, he was honored by Stenograph Corporation with a free Catalyst license (probably the only one ever granted) which, together with a donated laptop, enabled his students to look up words on their own.

Jack was predeceased by his wife, the former Margaret McGlone, who ran a dance studio through which passed (in parallel to Jack’s classes) probably every little girl in Waltham and surrounding towns. Her studio’s production of “Annie” is legendary. Jack is survived, as well, by six children and their spouses, and about 36 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis, Tenn.

He will be missed.

Jonathan Young, FAPR, is a CART captioner based in Waltham, Mass. He can be reached at cartbyjonathan@aol.com.

Barbara Lynn Schneiter Jackson passes away

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyBarbara Lynn Schneiter Jackson, RPR, CRR (Ret.), Flagstaff, Ariz., passed away on June 18.

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Former NCRA member Alan Roberts passes away

JCR logoThe Sun-Sentinel reported on June 17 that retired NCRA member Alan Roberts, FAPR, RPR, passed away in Boca Raton, Fla. Roberts was a past president of the New Jersey Court Reporters Association and a former school owner.

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IN MEMORIAM: Robert Francis (Bert) Mawhinney

Robert Francis (Bert) Mawhinney

Robert Francis (Bert) Mawhinneyv

Some of the greatest contributions to the profession of court reporting have been those made by persons who never were court reporters. So it was with my very dear friend of many years, Bert Mawhinney.

I met Bert and his wife, Anne, in 1982. I was the captioner on the team at the National Captioning Institute (NCI) in Falls Church, Va., that was assembled to develop and implement realtime closed captioning. Bert was the president of Xscribe, a computer-aided transcription hardware and software manufacturer. When visitors came through NCI, everyone wanted a demonstration of the unique work we were doing, which we had used by that time to caption the 1982 Academy Award Presentations and some special events on ABC Television.

Upon seeing the system, Bert said that Xscribe would be very interested in someday developing a realtime captioning system. I did not give that much thought at the time, but I did think what nice people Bert and Anne, who lived in San Diego at the time, were.

Bert was born in Washington, D.C., on April 26, 1928. From an early age, he loved aviation. He got his pilot’s license for his 16th birthday. Bert went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with special recognition in scientific and mathematical studies. He and Anne were married in 1955 and moved to San Diego, where he was employed by Convair, later to become part of General Dynamics, for 23 years. Bert’s last assignment for Convair was as the project manager for the guidance system for the Tomahawk cruise missile.

Anne was a court reporter when in 1978, watching Anne dictate her notes, Bert decided he would develop an optical reader and computer transcription system for court reporters. That decision was what led to the formation of Xscribe Corporation and the subsequent development of the StenoRam computerized stenomachine.

In 1984, I had left my employment at NCI and was working as a freelance reporter using Xscribe’s CAT system. Sometime thereafter, my friends and fellow freelancers Joe Karlovits, Ed Fulesday, and I founded the first for-profit closed captioning service, what eventually would become VITAC Corporation. Needing a realtime captioning system, I remembered what Bert said some years before, so I contacted him, and we arranged to meet in Boston to tour the Caption Center, and from there to travel on to Toronto,to the Canadian Captioning Development Agency, where I introduced Bert to my friend and realtime captioner, Peter Jepsen. Peter arranged a late evening demonstration, along with Xscribe technician Rod McPherson, of what they were clandestinely working on, a primitive capability for the Xscribe computer to generate and display closed captions.

From Toronto, Bert and I flew to Washington, D.C., where with Joe Karlovits we generated the designs for what would become the Xscribe Captioning System. Bert flew Rod McPherson to San Diego and then Pittsburgh, where further development was done. With Bert and Anne in attendance, the system was used on the air for the first time to caption the local KDKA Pittsburgh Evening News. Eventually it developed into the first realtime captioning system to achieve widespread distribution, greatly enhancing the lives of untold numbers of deaf and hard-of-hearing caption viewers.

In 1985, the NCRA Board of Directors voted to implement the first realtime “Courtroom of the Future,” in Wayne County, Mich. Bert volunteered Xscribe to partner with NCRA, as the CAT hardware and software provider. The Courtroom of the Future turned out to be a great public relations success for NCRA and the reporting profession, and Bert subsequently volunteered Xscribe to again partner with NCRA on the second “Courtroom of the Future,” in the United States District Court in Phoenix, Ariz., again with remarkable benefits for the reporting profession and NCRA.

Bert and Anne were always a visible presence at every NCRA and many state association conventions, and Bert made himself to be always available to assist reporting associations. He and Anne traveled to Intersteno on several occasions, including one time for a meeting behind the Iron Curtain, in Dresden, East Germany, with my wife and me. I still have memories of Bert grinning from ear-to-ear while conducting an oompah band wearing a traditional Bavarian hat in a tent at a festival in Bavaria.

Upon retirement Bert returned to his love of aviation, spending ten years constructing and modifying an experimental amphibian aircraft called the Glass Goose, which he flew. Bert also loved to play tennis, duplicate bridge, traveling the world, and especially spending time with Anne, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was a volunteer with the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, an avid reader, a life-long learner.

Bert passed away on May 19, 2017. A Mass to celebrate the life of Bert Mawhinney was held on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Mary Star of the Sea R.C. Church, in La Jolla, Calif. With Bert’s passing, the reporting profession lost one of its greatest and most generous friends.

He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again. – William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene 2, line 186.

Martin H. Block, RPR (Ret.), Ph.D.
Past President, National Court Reporters Association
Punta Gorda, Fla.


Former NCRA member Michael David Clepper passes away

JCR logoThe Houston Chronicle reported on June 14 that former NCRA member Mike Clepper of Houston, Texas, passed away on June 2, after a brief battle with cancer. He was a founding member and director of the Texas Deposition Reporters Association and served as president of the Houston Court Reporters Association.

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IN MEMORIAM: Alan Roberts, FAPR, RPR (Ret.)

When I entered our profession in 1960 and was living in New York City, I knew of Mr. Roberts by reputation, even “across the river” (The Hudson), because he was known as the consummate educator of reporters and an owner in one of the more prestigious court reporting firms on the East Coast: Roberts Walsh Reporting.

In 1962, when I began reporting in New Jersey, I attended all of the New Jersey Certified Shorthand Reporters Association meetings in Brothers Restaurant in Newark. At age 20, I was intimidated by attending meetings of any nature, especially those held in a sophisticated business restaurant in New Jersey’s largest city. I paid close attention to subjects anathema to me: electronic recording (ER), reporter education, court administration, etc. When Mr. Roberts spoke, the room stood still for two unique reasons. Alan didn’t waste words. He spoke outside the box and always approached a professional dilemma with common sense. Secondly, the tone and slant in his voice and pronunciation of verbiage left one with the feeling that Alan Roberts was a professor of our famed Princeton University.

As we said in Brooklyn, Alan Roberts was a “mensch.” He was an act of class, never portraying that he was better or smarter than any other. He paid as much attention to the neophyte reporter as one would to an agency owner. I recall one meeting in particular when I raised my hand and asked an obviously naive question. While some members snickered, after the meeting ended, Alan took me aside and explained what it was all about. Now I’m the older member, and I never forgot what it means to be humble, the lesson taught so well by Alan Roberts. Of sound mind and conscience, Alan passed on at age 98.

Alan and his partner, John Walsh, built and operated a large reporting school that turned out some of the finest reporters in our state. As the field turned toward computerization (CAT), Alan’s school was quick to transition its theory into as close as possible to what was called “conflict free.”

Anyone who touched the persona or soul of Alan Roberts knew that he or she was closer to intelligence than ever before. I refer particularly to his son, Jim Roberts, CLVS, known by all who know him personally and professionally as the finest legal videographer in our industry.

My dear friend, Alan Roberts, may you rest in peace. “Yisgadal v’yiskadash.”

Heywood (Woody) Waga, FAPR, RMR, CRR (Ret.)
Past President, National Court Reporters Association
Montclair, N.J.