Appeal, No. 24, May T., 1953, from order of Superior Court, March T., 1953, No. 10, reversing order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, March T., 1952, No. 114, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Betty Jane Edinger v. Nance Whitney Edinger, Sr., John Albert Edinger et ux. Order of Superior Court reversed; reargument refused August 3, 1953.
Arthur Berman, with him Samuel Handler and Compton, Handler & Berman, for appellant.
I. E. Meyers, with him Solomon Hurwitz and Hurwitz, Klein, Meyers & Benjamin, for appellees.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO
This case involves a contest between two parents for the custody of their two sons, Vance Edinger, Jr., now 8 years of age, and Richard Earl Edinger, 6 years of age. At present the children are with their father, Vance Whitney Edinger, Sr., at the home of their paternal grandparents, John Albert and Edna Edinger, each 61 years of age, on Round Top, a mountain near Elizabeth-town, Pennsylvania.
The mother, Betty Jane Edinger, the relatrix here, age 31, lives with her mother, 54 years of age, at 47 Rupp Street, Middletown, Pennsylvania.
The sorrowful drama of any conflict between mother and father for the exclusive possession of their common progeny is emphasized in this case by the fact that the mother was at one time confined to a mental hospital. It is on the shadow of that awesome event that the father builds his claim that she is now incompetent to rear their offspring.
The warmth of mutual attachment which brought about the wartime marriage between the relatrix and respondent apparently cooled when the war ended, for in 1946, while Mrs. Edinger was enceinte with her second boy, relations between husband and wife were already strained. Quarrels, name-calling and budgetary difficulties rent the serenity of their home and divorce proceedings loomed.
In the latter part of 1946, Mrs. Edinger's father died of a heart attack. The shock of his sudden demise, coupled with her domestic infelicity, caused Mrs. Edinger to give premature birth to Richard, and illness followed. On June 10, 1947, she was admitted to the State Hospital in Harrisburg and remained there until February 11, 1948. After a temporary sojourn at home, she was returned to the hospital on March 9, 1948 where
she continued to receive insulin and electric shock treatments. On October 25, 1948, she was discharged from the hospital and since then has ...