Paul L. Cordish, a former state legislator and founder of the law firm Cordish & Cordish, died yesterday at Sinai Hospital of congestive heart failure. The Mount Washington resident was 93.
A native of Baltimore, he was a 1926 graduate of Park School and earned his undergraduate degree and was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at the Johns Hopkins University. He earned a degree with honors from Yale Law School in 1932.
In 1934, Mr. Cordish was elected to the House of Delegates from the city. He became the leader of a liberal bloc, voted against the saloon lobby, and sought to strike out a requirement that witnesses and jurors profess belief in God.
"I have consistently tried to support those measures that are both liberal and intelligent, being convinced that not all so-called liberal measures are necessarily advisable and not all so-called reactionary ideas necessarily bad," he told The Sun in 1938, before his re-election to a second four-year term.
In 1939, Mr. Cordish served as special Maryland representative on the National Emergency Defense Council, which was called to prepare for World War II and drafted uniform emergency laws enacted by all states.
Mr. Cordish practiced law in Baltimore for almost seven decades. He was also the first president of the Junior Bar Association of Baltimore.
From 1963 to 1966, he served as president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society -- a period in which it collected more than $3 million from the West German government for Nazi victims in Baltimore.
"He was a furious fighter who always fought fair and never deviated from an ethical code of conduct," said a son, David S. Cordish of Baltimore.
Services will be held at 4 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.
Mr. Cordish also is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Sylvia Cohn Bloom; two other sons, Joel A. Cordish of Jerusalem and Samuel Michael Cordish of Rehovot, Israel; a stepson, Howard Paul Bloom of Lake Hill, N.Y.; two stepdaughters, Susan F. Abramson of Finksburg and Marilyn E. Bloom of Pleasant Hill, Calif.; a brother, Morton Cordish of Baltimore; 16 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.