Appeal, No. 233, Jan. T., 1962, from decree of County Court of Philadelphia County, March T., 1961, No. 6245-E, in re adoption of Kathleen Rose Hangartner, a minor. Decree reversed.
Frank W. Jenkins, for appellant.
Joseph A. C. Girone, with him Mead S. Spurio, for appellees.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES
On this appeal from a decree of adoption entered by the County Court of Philadelphia the sole issue is the sufficiency of the evidence on this record to support the finding by the court below that the natural father of the child abandoned the child.
The seven and one-half year old child sought to be adopted is Kathleen R. Hangartner. Her natural parents are Margaret C. Hangartner, now Margaret C. White,*fn* who not only consents to the adoption but is one of the petitioners for the adoption, and Jimmie G. Hangartner, who opposes the adoption. The Hangartners were married in Texas on November 22, 1953. Prior to that marriage, Mrs. Hangartner had been married to the Frank R. Germana and that marriage was dissolved
by a divorce granted on September 2, 1952 in Nueces County, Texas.
Hangartners lived together at several places: (a) in Austin, Texas, from the time of their marriage until October, 1954; (b) in Roanoke, Illinois (the home of Mr. Hangartner's parents), from October, 1954 until February, 1955; (c) in a trailer court at Urbana, Illinois (where Mr. Hangartner attended the University of Illinois), from February, 1955 until April, 1957. In April, 1957, Mrs. Hangartner, taking with her the child, left the matrimonial domicile and established a separate residence in Champaign, Illinois, a city in close proximity to Urbana. In February, 1958, Mrs. Hangartner and the child moved to Pennsylvania where for varying periods of time they lived at, at least, four different addresses in the Philadelphia area.
At the wife's instance, Hangartner's marriage was dissolved by a divorce granted by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on May 26, 1959.Three days later - May 29, 1959 - Mrs. Hangartner married R. W. White, one of the petitioners for the adoption of this child. With the exception of several months in Alabama, the Whites have lived continuously since the date of their marriage in the Philadelphia area and with them has lived the child Kathleen.*fn1
On April 12, 1961 Whites petitioned the County Court of Philadelphia County for the adoption of Kathleen R. Hangartner. After hearings at which Mr. Hangartner appeared and opposed the adoption, the court found that Mr. Hangartner had abandoned the child since April, 1957 and entered a decree permitting ...