Frank Schwelb, civil-rights lawyer who became judge
He had Parkinson's disease and complications from cardiopulmonary ailments, said his wife, Taffy Schwelb.
After fleeing his native Czechoslovakia with his family on the eve of World War II, Schwelb grew up in England before coming to the United States in his teens. He served as a lawyer with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division from 1962 to 1979, when he was appointed to the district's Superior Court.
Schwelb quickly became known for his lengthy and sometimes verbally inventive writings from the bench. He turned to Shakespeare to brighten a decision on juvenile justice, John Keats in a case about trash collecting and composers Gilbert and Sullivan in a landlord-tenant dispute.
- Daily News wire services