Steven F. Gadon, 82, of Haverford, managing partner of the Center City law firm of Spector, Gadon & Rosen, a marathon racewalker, a die-hard Eagles fan, and an opera lover, died at his summer home in Margate, N.J., on Friday, July 4.
A resident of Haverford, Mr. Gadon was devoted to his large family and enjoyed practicing law so much that he continued to go to the office four days a week until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer right after Memorial Day, said daughter Susan.
"When he got sick, and we knew it was the end, he said he wanted to be at the beach," she said. "From the bedroom, he could sit and see the ocean."
She said the family bought the house in 1981. "As the grandchildren came, the house expanded," she said. "He loved it there. We spent every summer there. All of us."
A native of Malden, Mass., Mr. Gadon came to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania and stayed. But he remained a lifelong supporter of his synagogue in his hometown.
After earning a bachelor's degree in economics from Penn, he worked as a certified public accountant.
He obtained his law degree from Temple University in 1959 after attending law school at night for five years.
Paul R. Rosen, chairman of Spector Gadon, said Mr. Gadon's career "spanned many years skillfully counseling clients in their business affairs."
He said Mr. Gadon managed the firm for nearly 40 years. That arrangement, said Rosen, was sealed with a handshake.
"There wasn't a piece of paper between us on the running of this firm," Rosen recalled.
He said that demonstrated Mr. Gadon's loyalty to the firm and the trust that others placed in him.
Mr. Gadon was respected for his knowledge of corporate and taxation law, and his authority drew clients and made them feel secure, Rosen said.
Outside of work, Mr. Gadon loved football, especially the Eagles. He and Barbara, his wife of 60 years, collected art, a range of modern paintings and other pieces that they happened to love.
He supported the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and attended performances every season for three decades. Susan said her father enjoyed a wide variety of operas, including Wagner. "He loved all of it," she said.
When he was 55, a doctor encouraged Mr. Gadon to get more exercise. He started walking and ended up training for his first race-walking marathon. He completed nearly 20, including competitions in Boston, New York, and Atlantic City.
Rosen said photos of a beaming Mr. Gadon crossing the finish lines of those races lined the stairway of the house in Margate.
"He was a great man," said Beth Gadon Stonberg, another daughter. "He had a smile that lit up the room. He had time for everyone."
In 1997, when Mr. Gadon's first granddaughter was 18-months-old, he began the regular practice of taking the grandchildren and all the family to Walt Disney World.
Susan said that when an acquaintance told her father that a granddaughter was too young and she would not be able to remember the trip, he replied: "I will remember."
For his 75th birthday, Mr. Gadon took the entire family of 14 to Israel for a week.
"He planned, organized, and did everything," she recalled. "This was his trip."
She said the event demonstrated his commitment to his family and Israel.
Mr. Gadon was a member of the Green Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill and a trustee of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley.
In addition to his wife and daughters, Mr. Gadon is survived by another daughter, Amy Gadon Fuchs, and six grandchildren. A son, Richard, died earlier.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 6, at Har Zion Temple, Hagys Ford Road, Penn Valley.