By Joe Wessels
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FINNEYTOWN - What those who stood before Ronald J. Fein in his courtroom saw was the same person those close to him knew.
"I think pretty much he is famous for his integrity," said Kendal Coes, a fellow magistrate. "... It didn't matter who he offended, he was always going to do the right thing."
Mr. Fein died Tuesday after a battle with throat cancer. The Finneytown resident was 59.
A 1975 graduate of Chase Law School, Mr. Fein practiced law for 17 years with Robert L. Davis.
When the illness that eventually claimed his life began to take over in 1992, he retired from the practice.
After taking some time off, Mr. Fein recovered enough to become a magistrate with the Hamilton County Court of Domestic Relations. Judge Ronald A. Panioto appointed him in 1992.
The position allowed him to use his voice, which had been damaged by the illness, less and resume work in the legal field.
His colleagues remembered his unwavering ability to tackle issues in a court home to highly emotional cases.
"I think his set of life experiences (made him a good judge), and he was a Christian always," Coes said. "... He started each day with his Bible. I think that was his compass."
His faith guided his decisions, but his intelligence contributed to his legal acumen, friends said.
"He had a knack of making whatever was complex simple and understandable by his clients, and I think they liked that," said Jim Edmiston of Covedale, a friend and former classmate at Chase.
Outside the courtroom, Mr. Fein was known for his generosity.
"He always gave of himself. Anybody who needed something, whether it pertained to law or if they just needed to talk, he was just always there for you," said his wife, Beth Fein.
Besides his wife, survivors include his mother, Rose Fein of Finneytown; two sons, Jeff Fein of Sunman, Ind.; and Michael Fein of Batavia; and two sisters, Sandy Motz of Price Hill and Cheryl Asper of Finneytown.
Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. today at. St. Vivian Church in Finneytown. Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Montgomery.
Memorials can be sent to St. Francis Church & Friary, 1615 Vine St., Cincinnati 45210.
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