Today I learned the sad news that Conrad B. Duberstein, former Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York, died peacefully at his home on November 18, 2005 after a long illness. This legend of the bankruptcy bar and courts will be sorely missed by all those who had the great fortune of being in his presence.
We at The Bankruptcy Litigation Blog express our deep condolences to the family of Judge Duberstein, and to his friends and colleagues. May his memory be a blessing and a comfort to those who mourn him.
Below is the obituary that appears in today’s New York Times, courtesy of Judge Duberstein’s former firm, Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C. It speaks volumes of his known — and unknown — greatness.
His funeral is set for November 21, 2005 at 1 p.m., at Park Avenue Synagogue, 50 East 87th Street in New York City. Please make every effort to attend. Also, please do not hesitate to provide a comment below in honor and memory of this great man, especially during the initial 30 day mourning period.
Judge Duberstein’s obituary follows below:
Conrad B. Duberstein died peacefully at his home on November 18, 2005 at the age of 90. Beloved husband of Anne (nee Saggio), loving father of Elysa Belessakos and father-in-law of Elias; devoted grandfather of Nicole Chemtob (Mark), Josephine and Dimitri Belessakos and Angie Allison; adoring brother of Barbara Roberts and the late Kathryn Goldberg; United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York; former Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1984-2005; Courtrooms and Chambers of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern dedicated in his honor; namesake and guiding spirit of the Judge Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition established by St. John’s University School of Law and the American Bankruptcy Institute; served in the 91st Infantry Division of the 5th Army from 1943-1945, saw combat in Italy and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge; graduated from Brooklyn College and St. John’s University School of Law (class of 1942), admitted to the practice of law in 1942; former partner in Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C. and Schwartz, Rudin & Duberstein; former Judge Advocate General of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the State of New York; recognized for his outstanding academic and professional achievements including an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. John’s University School of Law; awarded Medal of Honor by St. John’s University recipient of the Brooklyn Bar of Association’s Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Science of Jurisprudence and Public Service; recipient of the Emory University School of Law Lifetime Achievement Award; Fellow American Bar Association and the American College of Bankruptcy.
Funeral services will be held at Park Avenue Synagogue, 50 East 87th Street, New York, NY 10128, on November 21st at 1 PM. Those who wish to contribute in his memory to the Park Avenue Synagogue or Congregation Mount Sinai of Brooklyn Heights, New York. Further questions please call Plaza Jewish Community Chapel at 212-769-4400.
His former firm, Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C., added the following personal commemoration as a post-script:
Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C., mourns the passing of our former partner, friend, mentor and colleague at the age of 90, following a long illness. After retiring from our firm at the age of 65 as a Senior Partner and as the unofficial Dean of the bankruptcy bar of the City of New York, Connie Duberstein was appointed United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York. In 1984, he became Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, a position he held until 2005, during which time the Courtrooms and Chambers of that court were dedicated and named in his honor.
Throughout his years on the bench, Connie continued to participate with us in the most important events of our personal lives, including celebrating with us the births and marriages of our children, and joining with us on many other occasions, both joyous and sorrowful.
We are honored and proud to have been part of Connie’s extended family. A man for all seasons, he had a zest for life and shared with us his love of travel, theater, music and good food, and especially, his love and respect for the law. Connie was a celebrated raconteur, our famous master of ceremonies, and bon vivant, and his wit, warmth, wisdom and humility will be missed by bench and bar.
A highly decorated combat veteran of World War II, he faced his final illness with dignity and the same valor he demonstrated on the battlefield in Europe. We will always remember him with great respect and love.
Our deepest sympathy and condolences are extended to his wife Anne, his sister Barbara, his daughter Elysa and her husband Elias, his granddaughter Nikki and her husband Mark, and his grandchildren Josephine, Dimitri and Angie.
© Steve Jakubowski 2005