WILLIAM TOMAR was born in Camden, New Jersey around 1917 to Katie and Morris Tomar. When the Census was taken in 1920 he was living with his parents, brother Joseph, and sister Bessie at 2413 Federal Street in East Camden, where his parents had a dry goods store. Another brother, Julius, was born shortly thereafter. The 1930 Census shows that the family had moved to 2409 Federal Street and that his father was still in the dry goods business. Morris Tomar and family later moved to 2411 Federal Street, according to the 1940 and 1943 Camden City Directories. Those year's editions also list William Tomar at 2413 Federal Street. After serving in the United States Army during World War II William Tomar returned to Camden. The 1947 City Directory shows him living at 1635 Park Boulevard in Parkside.
William Tomar graduated from the South Jersey Law School (present-day Rutgers University School of Law) in 1939. Admitted to the bar the following year, he founded a law firm with Albert Plone in 1948. The firm grew to 60 lawyers, and handled a number of notable cases over the years. William Tomar was an active member of Congregation Beth El in Camden.
William Tomar moved from Camden in 1958 to the then-new Barclay Farms neighborhood of Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill), New Jersey. He resided there until June of 2003 when his wife, the former Bette Brown, passed away.
William Tomar passed away on September 10, 2003 at an assisted living facility in Potomac, Maryland, survived by his sons Richard and Jonathan, 11 grandchildren and a sister..
Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1939
Jury Dismissedin Arsenic Case
Of Dead Mouse in Prune Juice
Restaurant Customer III After Alleged Discovery of Reputed Rodent;
Sues for Damages to Health and Good Nature
Hopelessly divided, six to six, the jury in Camden's celebrated "arsenic case" was discharged last night in Court No. 4 by former Judge Leroy W. Loder, of the Cumberland County Common Pleas Court, sitting as special justice to hear the case.
After Foreman Richard C. Hutchinson, of Collingswood, stated he did not believe the jurors could agree if sent back for an all night session Judge Loder discharged them.
Allegations she had drunk prune juice, freighted with an arsenic-stuffed mouse, were the basis on. which-the plaintiff, Miss Celeine Seigle of Camden asked damages from the Home Restaurant Company Camden, of which Frank Testa is manager.
The plaintiff was represented by Charles A. Rizzi, William Tomar and Saul Teitelman while the defendant's counsel included Charles E. Gant, David E. Van Name and Henry D. Lodge.
Beside Hutcheson the jury comprised Peter Albano, Audubon; Alandria Kozak, Florence; R. Beverly Loring, Wilmington, Del.; Davis F. MacGhee, Moorestown; Gabriel Rudolph, Gloucester; Harold A. Uhl, Glassboro; Veronica Weidman, and Evelvn C. Berg, Martha Essig, Zaven A. Hovsepian and Marjorie S. Smith, all of Camden.
Discovered Dead Mouse
Miss Siegle went to the restaurant about 5.30 p. m. on March 6, last. She ordered prune juice, drank the beverage, and discovered the dead rodent at the bottom.
"I was taken deathly sick," she testified, "and was compelled to return home in a taxicab where I was attended by my family physician. I have been intermittently ill ever since, having lost considerable weight."
Thomas F. Connery followed her on the witness stand. He said he sat at the table directly across from Miss Seigle and saw the entire episode. Connery, on cross examination, said he had not .seen the plaintiff drop anything into the glass. Melvin E. Karns, who said he attended Miss Seigle, described her illness and also the symptoms.
Karns said he discovered by chemical analysis arsenic in the mouth of the mouse and also in the prune juice. He described the amount as one part in 40,000, which he asserted would have been sufficient to cause Miss Seigle's illness.
Knew His Arsenic
On cross examination Karns detected the presence of arsenic by chemical analysis, and also that he was qualified to describe arsenic poisoning because of the number of such cases he had known.
Testa described the cleanliness with which he said he safeguarded customers, and denied the restaurant was crowded at the time of Miss Seigle's alleged sickness.
Samuel L. Shapiro, a law student, stated he was "the sandwich at the restaurant and poured out all the fruit juices ordered. He recited and illustrated how he had poured Miss Seigle's drink, denying anything was in the glass save prune juice.
Miss Myrtle A. Haffer, a waitress, disputed every statement made by the plaintiff's witnesses. She described how she had fastened her eyes on Shapiro when he Poured the juice. On cross-examination by Tomar, she denied "she was very friendly with the sandwich man."
She also stated she took Miss Seigle to a room after her illness and the girl told her to "go away and leave me alone.'
"She wouldn't take a dose of aromatics", testified the waitress, "and she wouldn't let me get her a glass of water. Why she wasn't sick after she almost drank the mouse."
William E. Peel and Dominic Gattuso, court officers, guarded the Jury while they were deliberating and Charles M. Ackley, court clerk, was given the verdict of disagreement.
P. S. All this happened at the practice trial by members of the graduating class of the South Jersey Law School as part of the commencement program.
Philadelphia Inquirer - September 12, 2003
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