David Zeehandelaar, 55, Expert in Aviation Law


David Zeehandelaar, 55, a partner in the law firm of Blank Rome LLP, died March 19.

Zeehandelaar was a well-known expert in aviation law, leading the firm's aviation practice and handling litigation involving both major airline and commuter airline disasters, and accidents involving military aircraft and components.

He successfully defended the federal court case against the component manufacturer involved in a multi-fatality disaster involving the military Osprey aircraft.

A key member of Blank Rome's leadership team, Zeehandelaar served as chairman of the firm's billing and collection committee, member of the compensation committee, and as practice group leader for the Product Liability and Mass Torts practice group.

Most recently, he also served as the administrative partner for Blank Rome's newly formed Los Angeles office, which he helped grow from a start up to 15 lawyers.

Zeehandelaar, who also held a commercial pilot's certificate and instrument rating, served on the executive committee of the Philadelphia Mayor's Airport Advisory Board. He was also a judge pro tempore at the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County.

He was involved with several philanthropic causes, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

He served in several leadership positions, including co-chairman of the Negev Forum and, at the time of his passing, as Philadelphia chapter chair with his wife, Mona.

Together, they were members of the International Society of Founders, recognizing their generous contributions to support many projects at the university, including the Center for Women's Health, Scholarship Funds and the Fund for Ethiopian Students.

Zeehandelaar was a longtime member of Main Line Reform Temple, where he chaired the most successful capital campaign in the temple's history, raising more than $9 million for needed renovations. He served as president of the temple and continued as an active member of the board of trustees.

He loved to travel, mostly by air. He achieved his goal of visiting all 50 states by the time he celebrated his 50th birthday

He also enjoyed cycling in Tuscany, various national parks, and, most recently, on a 35-mile autumn bike ride through Bucks County the week before he fell ill.

He earned his law degree from Villanova University and his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to his wife of 32 years, Zeehandelaar is survived by his mother, Gertrude Zeehandelaar; daughter Rachel Zeehandelaar; and son Daniel Zeehandelaar.

He was predeceased by his father, Frederik Zeehandelaar.

Contributions in his memory can made to: Main Line Reform Temple Capital Campaign, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 261 Old York Road, #417A, Jenkintown, PA 19046; or to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 555 North Lane, Suite 5010, Conshohocken, PA 19428.


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