Colleagues and friends mourn loss of attorney
MOUNT CARMEL - The Northumberland County legal community is mourning the loss of a "great colleague and trusted friend," as attorney Michael J. Romance passed away Monday at his Mount Carmel home.
"I will personally miss him," Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones, of Mount Carmel, said Wednesday. “He was just a great individual.
A staunch supporter of the common man, Romance began his legal career after graduating from Ohio Northern Law School in Ada, Ohio. After a two-year stint on Mount Carmel Borough Council from 1990 to 1992, he served council for 15 years as its solicitor from 1994 to 2009.
Before that, Romance took a job in the Northumberland County Public Defender’s office, starting in 1992 and served for 21 years until his retirement in 2013.
“Michael was an excellent attorney, handling many felony cases and several murder defendants,” said county chief public defender Edward Greco. “He was a great representative of the county and to his clients.”
“He was a very good defense attorney, always keeping himself very professional and doing a great job,” District Attorney Tony Rosini said. “I’m very sorry to hear he has passed at such a young age.”
For eight years, Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III, of Shamokin, Jones and Romance were on opposite sides of the courtroom, Romance as a public defender, and Jones as an assistant district attorney.
“Mike had a very direct way of practicing law. He didn’t mince his words and would always be a tough advocate for his clients,” Jones said.
However, the bulldog in the courtroom never let practicing law get in the way of friendships, which he cherished.
“He had this great sense of humor that I’ve seen from him most of my life. He’s going to be sadly missed,” Greco said.
“He did run against me in the primary, but I couldn’t have any bad feelings against him,” Rosini said. “He wasn’t a nasty or devious person, and was pleasant to be around.”
“Between cases, Mike and I would talk about fly fishing and really struck up a great friendship. We would argue cases, but there were never any hard feelings afterwards,” Jones said.
Romance was the son of WMIM Radio founder and owner Ed Romance, and was an advocate for the Mount Carmel chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame named after his father. He was also a past president of the Mount Carmel Lions Club.
“He and I were partners when the club would deliver Meals on Wheels during the holidays, always driving together,” Jones said. “I will miss that very much.”
Romance is survived by a sister, Robin, of New Jersey. A funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Mount Carmel, with burial services being held in St. Bertha Cemetery, Tuscarora. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Mount Carmel Lions Club or to the donor’s favorite charity.