Former law school vice dean and professor passes away

Edward T. Fagan, Jr., professor emeritus and former vice dean of the St. John’s Law School, died of congestive heart failure two weeks ago. He was 87 years old.

Funeral services were held soon after including a mass offered in St. Thomas More Church.

Fagan, born and raised in New York and a U.S. navy WWII veteran, first worked for St. John’s as a lecturer for the School of Law in 1948 after earning his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College eight years earlier.

He would go on to spend more than 40 years with the University, serving as faculty advisor to Phi Alpha Delta, one of the largest law fraternities in America, editor of The Catholic Lawyer for more than 30 years, directing the St. Thomas More Research Institute, serving as Vice Dean of the School of Law during the summer of 1984 and assuming the position of acting dean of the School of Law in April 1990.

He was later given the title of Distinguished Professor of Law and received numerous other awards and decorations including the University’s President’s Medal and the University Medal of Honor, the Administrative Outstanding Achievement Medal, the Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal, the School of Law Alumni Association’s Dean John J. Murphy Award and honoris causa, the degree of Doctor of Laws given by University President Rev. Donald Harrington during the 2001 School of Law Commencement Exercises.

Fagan was also a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the National Legal Aid Society and numerous other distinguished associations.

Fagan’s daughter, Barbara Brygider, had nothing but good things to say about her father.

“He was distinguished, very wise, kind, compassionate and he wasn’t pretentious, he never referred to himself as ‘Dr. Fagan,’ unless it was in an academic setting,” she said.

Brygider said she would miss her father’s sense of humor and wisdom the most.

“One of the things he taught me was to always keep a sense of humor in any situation, no matter what,” she said. “I’ve never forgotten that and it has been very helpful for me.”

She also said that along with being her parent, Prof. Fagan was a “very good friend.”

“He had an incredible mind and he was a very interesting person to spend time with,” Brygider said.