Appeal from decree of Orphans' Court of York County, Sept. T., 1964, No. 38, in case of Carl R. Fahringer v. Estate of Harry S. Strine, deceased.
H. Ober Hess, with him Benjamin R. Neilson, J. Ross McGinnis, and Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for appellant.
W. William Anderson, with him Arthur Markowitz, Robert Ungerleider, and Markowitz, Kagen & Griffith, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Chief Justice Bell concurs in the result. Mr. Justice Musmanno dissents.
This is an appeal from a final decree of the Orphans' Court of York County which denied a claim, in the
amount of $50,000, presented by Carl R. Fahringer (claimant), against the Estate of Harry S. Strine, deceased.
This claim is based upon an alleged oral contract between the decedent and the claimant under the terms of which contract the decedent, allegedly, promised to bequeath $50,000 by will to the claimant in consideration of personal services rendered and to be rendered by claimant during decedent's lifetime.*fn1 After hearing, the Orphans' Court decreed that the contract had not been established and, therefore, denied the claim based on such contract. From that decree we have this appeal.
We adopt the lower court's recital of the facts pertinent on this appeal: "The claimant, Carl R. Fahringer, also nick-named 'Park' or 'Parky', is not related by blood or marriage to the decedent, nor have he and the
decedent ever resided in the same household. During the claimant's youthful years, he resided in the same neighborhood as the decedent and began to perform various chores in and around the decedent's household for the decedent and his first wife. Such chores consisted in assisting in the care of the decedent's pigeons, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, washing automobiles, etc. Soon after the claimant was graduated from high school, he was employed by the decedent, at a salary undisclosed by the evidence, in a tobacco business conducted by the decedent trading as David Forry Tobacco Company. He remained in such employment until the business was sold by the decedent on or about February 1, 1957, or a period of about 25 years. Meanwhile, despite claimant's own marriage in 1937, he continued the performance of household chores, such as above described, for the decedent and his first wife. Further, such chores consisted of lawn work, acting as a chauffeur on occasion, assisting in the care of decedent's automobiles, and caring for the latter's dogs. The only evidence as to the exact amount of time which the claimant devoted to such personal services is that it was 'many and many a time', 'mostly Saturdays', 'every week mowing grass', and endured until the decedent sold his tobacco business in 1957. There is evidence that from 1953 to 1956 another young man was employed to cut grass and wash cars for the decedent and, during much of this interval, the claimant was at the decedent's home on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.
"The claimant, over a period of at least twenty years, very frequently accompanied the decedent to the latter's bank to make deposits and secure pay-rolls and, upon frequent occasions, came to the bank alone to conduct such banking business for the decedent. It would appear, however, that much of this banking business was for the ...