Get our newsletters

Charles T. McIlhinney Sr. leaves legacy of civility, respect


For decades, Charles T. “Chuck” McIlhinney Sr. served as Doylestown Borough’s solicitor, a position he held with respect for everyone he encountered, said John Davis, the borough’s manager.

McIlhinney, who was also the Bucks County Planning Commission’s attorney for more than 30 years, died May 19. He was 81.

“He was my friend and mentor,” Davis said Wednesday. “He was a classy guy and a good example of the civic culture of Doylestown. He was a very important person to the community.”

McIlhinney, said Davis, “helped shape the way Doylestown does business, with openness, transparency, a little less formal… approachability.”

While a dedicated Republican, McIlhinney was “a bipartisan type of guy,” Davis said. “He worked the polling station and had time for everybody, there was never a problem. He believed we could agree to disagree.”

“We could use more of that today,” added Davis.

In his obituary, his family noted, “He passionately believed that the scope of governmental authority versus individual rights is a delicate balance that can be maintained through honest participation in the voting and electoral processes.”

McIlhinney was very proud when his son, Chuck Jr., was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the state Senate.

Davis remembered too, that McIlhinney “loved to sing” and his family’s St. Patrick’s Day party was “legendary.”

The oldest of nine children in a Philadelphia family, McIlhinney graduated from La Salle College High School and Belmont Abbey College, in North Carolina. He attended Villanova University School of Law until being drafted into the U.S. Army, serving at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. After an honorable discharge, he completed his law degree at the University of North Dakota School of Law, where he was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in International Law for Excellence in that field.

In 1969, he was admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor of the Common Pleas and Supreme courts of Pennsylvania.

In addition to his fiancée, Jeanie Sciss, he is survived by Charles Jr., his wife Jennifer and their children, Tripp and Gabby; his daughter Kara, and her children, Paddy and Finn Cleary, as well as the extended family he found with Jeanie’s children and grandchildren.