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Martin Loughlin, 83, retired federal judge

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Former federal judge Martin Loughlin died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with heart disease. He was 83.

The Manchester native was a state Superior Court judge for 16 years, including a stint as chief justice. President Carter appointed him to the US District Court in 1978, and Judge Loughlin later became the court's chief judge.

"Marty Loughlin was one of the finest gentlemen, finest judges that I and many other lawyers have ever known," said his friend, lawyer David Nixon. "He was a compassionate, caring person with great respect and love for the law."

Judge Loughlin went to Saint Anselm College as a premed student, Nixon said, but later changed to prelaw.

During World War II, He fought in the Battle of the Bulge as an infantryman and was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery.

Judge Loughlin came home with a German pistol, a wartime souvenir. Four decades later, he used the gun early one morning when a burglar broke into his Manchester home. Loughlin fired one shot. "Fortunately, the gun jammed," he said later.

His career also included a stint with the Judge Advocate General, the military's legal arm, during the Korean War.

"When you see what people have done to people, it makes you more tolerant of people's feelings," he said in 1994 of his military experiences. "I hope it made me more compassionate. And I am more appreciative of being an American."

Judge Loughlin retired from the bench in 1995 and then served as counsel to the law firm of Nixon, Raiche, Manning, Casinghino & Leach, Pa.

A funeral will be held tomorrow. He leaves his wife of 56 years, Margaret, and seven children.