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Attorney who played key role in funeral legislation dies

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Indianapolis-area attorneys are mourning the loss of a colleague they say was instrumental in shaping Indiana laws dealing with funeral services.

Robert “Bo” Hagemier of Hagemier Allen & Smith died March 14 at the age of 72. A partner at the Indianapolis law firm, Hagemier also previously served as the vice president and secretary of the Indianapolis Bar Association, as well as president in 1992 and was a member of the Board of Managers from 1988-1995.

Julie Armstrong, IndyBar executive director, said she met Hagemier as president-elect when she came to the bar association in 1991. Hagemier served on the search committee that brought Armstrong to the executive director position that year, and she described him as a lawyer’s lawyer who never met a stranger.

Though Hagemier’s legal practice focused on business litigation, he was well-known for his work as counsel for the Indiana Funeral Directors Association.

Andy Clayton, executive director of the IFDA, said Hagemier was a friend of his family for more than 30 years and was his mentor in the funeral business. He credited Hagemier as the architect of Indiana’s current funeral law, giving him credit for legislation such as the Practice Act, the Pre-Need Act and the Funeral Planning Declaration in the Rights of Disposition.

The latter piece of legislation was particularly critical, Clayton said, because it ensured that the wishes of the deceased regarding how they want to be publicly remembered and interred would be followed.

“There was no equal to Bo,” Clayton said. “He was a lion in his field.”

Aside from his work with the IndyBar and IFDA, Hagemier also served on the Marion County Municipal Court Nominating Commission, was a member of the American Bar Association, was a fellow with the ABA and IndyBar and served on the board of directors and as secretary of The Swisher Foundation.

Hagemier earned his law degree from Indiana University in 1970 and was admitted to the Indiana bar the same year.

Funeral services will be held for Hagemier at 4 p.m. Monday at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 1402 West Main Street, Carmel, 46032. His full obituary can be read here

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