Evan Harris Pontz, 49, formerly of Bala Cynwyd, a labor and employment lawyer, died Tuesday, Dec. 31, at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore of complications from a double-lung transplant he received last May.
A native Philadelphian, Mr. Pontz had moved to Atlanta in 1996 to take a job with the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP. He died of a series of infections in his new lungs, his family said.
Mr. Pontz was raised in Bala Cynwyd and Mount Airy. He graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1988, earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in 1992, and completed a master’s degree in governmental affairs at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. He received his law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1996.
While studying at Penn, he was an aide to then-City Councilmember Happy Fernandez. Fernandez served on Council from 1992 to 1999, when she quit to run for mayor. Mr. Pontz kept in touch with Fernandez until her death in 2013, his family said.
Mr. Pontz worked in Atlanta from 1996 until mid-2018, when he stepped down for health reasons. His specialty was representing corporate clients, as well individuals and class-action clients, on employment matters, his resumé said.
He made partner in 2004. He was recognized for excellence by Atlanta Magazine, and was selected as an elite local lawyer by Georgia Trend Magazine. He wrote on legal topics for several publications.
“Evan was a terrific lawyer and an even better person,” said Steve Lewis, Troutman Sanders’ managing partner. “Our clients loved working with him because of his practical advice, his calm demeanor, and his great people skills. He was one of the kindest, most respected, and well-liked people ever to work at Troutman Sanders, and his impact on our firm will continue for years to come.”
While in Atlanta, he met and married Lanie Taylor, a lawyer.
He was a past chair of the Atlanta Pro Bono Committee and on the board of directors of the Atlanta Bar Association’s labor and employment law section.
“Evan loved his pro bono work,” his family said, because he realized that help from a caring lawyer could make a big difference in the life of a client with limited means.
Mr. Pontz believed in donating time and money to local charities. He organized and hosted annual fundraising walks for the March of Dimes. He was a board member of the LAM Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for a rare lung disease.
He was also on the board of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and was a former board chair of Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. In 2017, he was named to Leadership Atlanta, a group of prominent citizens supporting public interest initiatives.
Despite living in the South, he remained proud of his Philadelphia roots and was dedicated to the city’s sports teams. While in the intensive care unit at Hopkins, he wore a Phillies hat and was inspired by the fighting spirit of the Eagles.
“He was a fighter,” said his sister Eden. “He fought for everybody around him. He fought to the very end to stay alive for his family.”
In addition to his wife and sister, he is survived by twin children Alyssa Sarah and Fletcher Jonah; his father, Curtis; stepmother Leslie Pontz; stepfather Bennett Picker; and a large extended family. Sons Jake and Sawyer died earlier.