Douglas Royal, 86, lawyer and flutist

Douglas David Royal, 86, formerly of St. Davids, a lawyer and musician, died of Parkinson's disease Saturday, March 26, at Dunwoody Village, a retirement community in Newtown Square.

Mr. Royal learned to play the flute growing up in Harrisburg. He studied with prominent teachers and at Tanglewood and as a teenager soloed with the Harrisburg Symphony. Though he decided to pursue a more stable livelihood as a lawyer, he told The Inquirer in 1984, music was his avocation, and he played in four or five orchestras.

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DouglasD. Royal

For more than 50 years, he was principal flutist with the Main Line Symphony Orchestra. He also played with the Valley Forge Philharmonic Orchestra, the Garden State Philharmonic, and the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia. He was treasurer of the society and past president of the board of the Main Line Symphony. He played in oratorios and as a soloist at services at Wayne Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder, trustee, deacon, and former superintendent of the senior high church school.

"He taught me to play, and we often performed duets together," said his daughter Susan, a professional flutist. "He was very supportive of my career."

Mr. Royal earned a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

His education was interrupted by World War II, when he served in the Navy in the Philippines, Korea, and China.

In 1952, he became a partner with the Greenwell, Porter, Smaltz & Royal law firm. His clients included Eastern College, Wayne Presbyterian Church, Valley Forge Military Academy, the Devereux Foundation, and the National Flute Association. He was solicitor for the Radnor Township school board, and in the 1980s he was counsel for the Wayne Partnership, a coalition of civic and commercial groups working to rejuvenate downtown Wayne.

He retired from his law practice in 1995.

Mr. Royal was a past president of the Lions Club of Wayne and served on the board of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

He was a founder and past president of the Band and Orchestra Parents at Radnor Junior High School and was a member of the Main Line Sail and Power Squadron.

He and Bette Caum Royal, who died in November, were married for 60 years. They traveled to British Columbia, Alaska, Mexico, Italy, and Portugal, and cruised the Danube, Po, and Rhine Rivers.

Their main love together, their daughter said, was spending time on their cutter-rigged sloop, Syrinx. They sailed the Chesapeake Bay and to Albemarle Sound in North Carolina and Northeast Harbor in Maine. They also chartered several cruises in the Virgin Islands with their family.

Besides his daughter Susan, Mr. Royal is survived by another daughter, Jan Morris; a brother; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at Wayne Presbyterian Church, 125 E. Lancaster Ave.

Memorial donations may be made to Caring Hospice Services, 400 Commerce Dr., Suite C, Fort Washington, Pa. 19034.


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.