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His form of worship went through some changes in his life, but in latter years he had become a member of the Episcopal Church.
Over and above Mr. Bowdle's attainments in several fields of activity-political, legal and literary-were the personality and character of the man himself. There was a never failing boyishness—the incarnate spirit of youth, notwithstanding the fundamental seriousness of his nature. He was always eager and fresh for an intellectual combat. When he had time he prepared carefully his arguments, but he was ever ready to engage unexpectedly in debate and drew unfailingly upon the ample store of knowledge always at his command. He seemed somehow never to arouse rancor in his opponents. They knew that he was genuine and that his quarrel was always with ideas, not with the individual.
Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of his mental equipment, shown in both his familiar and public utterances, was his unfailing sense of humor. It was not humor for humor's sake, but used to make clearer the sharp point of an argument. Joined with the humor there was also the wit that lighted up his thought by juxtaposition with an unexpected contrast. It may be said of him that he was self-educated in the best
He was always willing to learn, and in consequence his views on serious subjects were constantly being broadened and ripened. His reading was extensive and embraced religious, philosophical, historical and literary masterpieces.
He had the gift of making close and loyal friends. His conversation was stimulating, his understanding of views other than his own quick and sympathetic.
His influence on others was widespread and invariably elevating. No one could converse with him without being better for the contact. His domestic life was of the happiest.
To say of him that the example of his life was inspiring; that the love and admiration of his friends will live on;
memory in the community will be ever cherished, is to utter a commonplace, but it is the simple truth, and we of his profession are honoring ourselves as well as him by this sincere and heartfelt tribute.
EDWARD KIBLER, SR.
By DAVID F. PUGH, of Columbus
Neither the quantity nor the quality of a human life can be ascertained by statistics. By glibly repeating the dates of the birth, marriage and death of a man, we can not measure his life. We learn nothing of the invisible, spiritual element of his life, which is abiding and potent, by that process. There is more in one's life than the cradle, the marriage altar and the grave. The finest and divinest part of one's life is unseen, unheard by and unknown to others. No one can fitly speak of that part of another's life.
It is easy to relate when and where Edward Kibler, Senior, was born, who his parents were, what schools and colleges he attended, when he began to practice law, etc. But that does not informus about the visions, hopes, and plans of his youth, his internal wrestlings with doubts and fears, his lonely sorrows, the temptations which he met and to which he yielded or which he mastered, the solemn questionings in his tribulation hours, the silent battles he fought, the whole sweep and complexion of his inner life. Of these things we have no absolute knowledge. We can only reason from the open, the visible part of his life, what they were.
Mr. Kibler was devoted to his profession, and in the line of that devotion he was president of the Ohio State Bar Association, and vice-president for Ohio of the American Bar Association. He never held any public office except as city councilman, city solicitor and municipal code commissioner. He had no relish for politics. He had no hunger and thirst for publicity or notoriety which is sweeter than honey to many men. His life was chiefly a quiet one. Although he had a lucrative practice, he was never engaged in any celebrated cause, unless one, City of Newark vs. The Newark Natural Gas and Fuel Company, may be so classed. He never was identified with public history, which so often imparts value to biography. His kind of a career may not be calculated to charm the reader of his biography by the significance of its events. But we should not forget that the names of all the great and good and useful are not inscribed on the pages of public history or of well read biographies. The most ordinary, the most humble men and women, have been heroes and heroines. There are heroes and heroines in every neighborhood. Their heroism is not published in books or in newspapers. They live for the things that are not visible. There is no place like common life for the disclosure of heroism. Mr. Kibler belonged to that class.
He had more than average talents. He had a discerning intellect and a sound judgment. His mind was stored with learning appropriate to his profession. He knew how to practice law, as it should be practiced. He was a model practitioner. He could see right through a mass of immaterial facts to the very heart of a case. He was sufficiently pugnacious and combative. He observed the principles of honor in his practice. He was guiltless of trickery or pettifoggery. He was tactful. He skilfully dealt with delicate situations. He was equally courteous to associates and to opponents. His disposition was so kind, nothing could spoil it. In part I base these predicates on my own knowledge of him and in part on the testimony of his neighboring lawyers. Said one of them, Mr. Montgomery: "He was an exceedingly capable lawyer, painstaking in his preparation of cases, keen and alert in the trial of them, quick to grasp a legal proposition or a point of fact. He was upon the whole a very forceful and capable trial lawyer.” I have no doubt this would be corroborated by other neighboring lawyers if I had the opportunity to examine them.
Mr. Kibler lived in the city of Newark all his life, and chiefly practiced the law there, the city being much smaller when he began his practice than it is now. He would be called by some a country lawyer. He is a refutation of the claim that all of the great lawyers are of the large cities. Some of the very best lawyers this country ever had have been country lawyers. The leaders of the men who started the fires of patriotism in revolutionary days were country lawyers of Virginia and Massachusetts. Some of the great generals of that war were country lawyers. It was lawyers like Sherman of Connecticut, whose vote in Congress Jefferson said often determined his own vote, and Madison of
Virginia and Hamilton of New York, who drafted our constitution, which will safeguard the nation against monarchy and autocracy, as well as mob rule, as long as it shall be obeyed. Mr. Kibler was a nobleman. I do not mean that he belonged to the so-called aristocracy of blood, or the aristocracy of wealth. He was neither. He belonged to the aristocracy of achievements. He was thoroughly democratic.
a nobleman in character; he was a nobleman in honor; he was a nobleman in the love of his fellow citizens. People expressed an emotion of joy in simply knowing him. They who knew him well felt a high hope in him. He had a singularly charming personality and a remarkable natural dignity; he was without affectation, and he had a constitutional shyness and reserve which subtracted nothing from his personality and dignity.
In the sphere of politics, government and political economy, Mr. Kibler was a conservative. He did not believe in many, if any, of the new opinions, convictions and beliefs which, during the last fifteen years, have been stereotyped into the constitutions and statutes. He would never have endorsed a recall of Jesus Christ or a referendum for the Day of Judgment. The large majority of lawyers, however, are conservative. Some people would call them reactionaries.
Mr. Kibler was the head of a large family. He was married twice; both of his wives were noble and lustrous women. There were three children born of the first marriage, and four children of the second one, and the children are all fine specimens of manhood and womanhood. It requires more brains and heart to raise a family than it does to run a large law practice or manage a huge corporation. Great minds, and especially students, are sometimes deficient in social characteristics, which give the chief charm to domestic relations. They marry, as it were, their books, and retire to the seclusion of their libraries. Absorbed in their studies, or engrossed with their professional pursuits, they have no relish for the amenities, the fellowship and companionship of the family circle; and the affections of husband and parent lie dormant and undeveloped. It was not so with Mr. Kibler.
He practiced the law for twenty-seven years. Twenty-seven years of honest work! Twenty-seven years without a stain of dishonor! Such a life is a useful lesson for young lawyers.
Mr. Kibler had social qualities which endeared him to those who knew him well. He was companionable.
He was companionable. It was not hard to make a friend of him, and he never was guilty of treason to his friends. He had a warm sympathy for the woebegone. He was a kind neighbor. He had none of that form of selfishness which thinks that one's genius, scholarship and knowledge are his own. He believed that wise men must help the ignorant; that the men who have knowledge, insight, culture and eloquence should share them with the less gifted. These are, after all, the elements of character which most exalt a man.
The Ohio bar may be justly proud of Edward Kibler, Senior.
Under an appointment made by Governor Bushnell, Mr. Kibler and I were engaged as code commissioners for two years, in collaborating a municipal code for the State of Ohio. Most of it was the product of his thought and phrasing. That associa
. tion brought me in close relationship to him. My friendship for him was so intense that his death was a personal loss and grief to me.
Where now are Mr. Kibler's extensive knowledge, his exalted sentiments, his conscience and his wealth of glorious faculty? I do not believe that nature, in a fit of impatience or anger, stamped them out forever. That is a theory of life which my reason and judgment condemn. That would be an imputation of supreme folly against the Maker of the universe. But I am comforted by the philosophy of James Whitcomb Riley, who said:
“I can not say, I will not say
And you, oh you! who the wildest yearn