Clyde Holt, Jr. (of Holt, West & Holt), Beaver, for appellants.
Thompson Bradshaw (of Bradshaw & Panner), Beaver, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Gunther, JJ.
[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 630]
The contest for custody of the 13-month-old child involved in this habeas corpus proceeding is between
[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 631]
his father and foster parents. The court below awarded custody to the father and the respondent foster parents have appealed to this Court.
We have here a repetition of the all-too-familiar story of the parent who, on the death of his spouse, has no suitable home to which to take his young child and no one to care for it, so entrusts it to strangers until such time as he shall be able to provide it with a home and proper care. The foster parents cherish the child as their own and when the parent has made the necessary arrangements and is ready to receive it back, they have become so attached to it by bonds of affection that they resist his efforts to take it from them, even to the extent of grasping at straws, if necessary, in defense.
Relator Robert L. Nangle and his wife, in March 1951, held a ten-month lease on a home in New Brighton, Beaver County. The owners of the home were in Florida and were about to return. Shortly before the lease expired relator's wife was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for special maternity treatment. On March 21, 1951, a few hours after delivery of the child here involved, Danny Martin Nangle, his mother died. Relator's own mother had died during his infancy and he, with his two sisters, had been reared by an aunt and uncle in Washington, Pennsylvania. He could not turn to the elderly couple for help when his wife died because the aunt was critically ill and died two months later. One of his sisters, Miss Edna Nangle, who lived with them, was occupied with the responsibility of caring for the aunt in her last illness. His other sister, Mrs. Dorothy McMann, a widow, lived and was employed as hostess in a hotel dining room in Steubenville, Ohio. Relator was employed as a watch repairman in a jewelry store in Beaver Falls. Mrs. McMann was willing to help her brother but at
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the time he had no living quarters available for her, himself and the baby to occupy in Beaver Falls, had she abandoned her employment in Steubenville and come there.
Through a co-worker in the jewelry store relator learned that respondents might be willing to take the child temporarily and he contacted Mrs. Yoho who, on March 30, 1951, came to the store to discuss the matter with him and he later went to respondents' home, the end result of which negotiations was an agreement that respondents would care for the child. On April 1, 1951, respondents and relator drove to the Pittsburgh hospital for the baby, returning via Washington in order to have relator's relatives see the baby. Relator visited the Yoho home on several occasions, as did his sisters, and left money for his son's ...