Appeal, No. 184, April T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Nov. T., 1960, No. 370, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. John Martino v. Robert Blough et al. Order reversed.
Sanford S. Finder, for appellant.
Frank A. Conte, with him Michael E. Kusturiss, for appellee.
Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 348]
This is an appeal from the refusal of the court below to give a father custody of his young daughter.
The petitioner, John Martino, and the child's mother, who is now deceased, were married September 2, 1957. Two children were born to this marriage - John the older child who is now with his father, and Temera Mae, the subject of this habeas corpus action, who was born June 8, 1959. Three months after Temera Mae was born, her parents separated. On August 10, 1960, the child's mother was killed in a motorcycle accident. In July 1959, the defendants, Robert Blough and his wife, Lillian Blough, who were distantly related to Temera through her maternal grandmother's marriage, began caring for her.
After the death of Temera's mother and after her paternal grandmother returned to Pennsylvania from California, her father attempted to secure custody of her. When custody was refused, the father filed this action on January 11, 1961. At this time Temera was only 19 months old and her mother had been dead only five months.
The court below found that the child was well cared for by the defendants; that its development from a sickly, premature child toward full health was due to the devotion, loving care and excellent attention of the defendants; that they had asked for no support for the child; and that the petitioner was unemployed at the time of the hearing. The court thereupon entered an order on March 9, 1961, awarding custody to the defendants.
The father had become unemployed as a result of the closing of his place of employment because of a
[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 349]
labor dispute only a day before the hearing, and he expected to return to work when the dispute was settled. The petitioner was paying $104 a month to the mother under a support order which included Temera. Both parties live in houses which ...