Archive for the ‘Obituary’ Category

The Catcher in the Tie — Neiman Remembered

May 4, 2006

Bar Association of San Francisco pro bono chief Tanya Neiman was remembered Wednesday at Grace Cathedral as someone who “wouldn’t waste a day.” If that’s the case, she would have enjoyed her own memorial service, which offered many entertaining and poignant reflections on a rich life. Neiman died in February at age 56 after an eight-year battle with ovarian cancer.

Longtime friend Pam David said she and Neiman shared two loves: social justice and baseball. But Neiman preferred hardball — “none of that softball like for the rest of us lesbians,” David joked. Tougher still, Neiman preferred playing catcher, so she could be engaged every minute “with her head and her heart.” On the diamond and in life, David said, Neiman made every person around her better.

There was much commentary on Neiman’s signature dress style — men's style suits and bow ties — which Neiman proudly adopted in the 1970s. “She was not well-versed in the art of being ambiguous,” quipped Milton Estes, former chairman of the ACLU of Northern California. Another speaker recalled seeing Neiman on the street one day long ago, before knowing who she was, and feeling empowered to wear pants to her paralegal job.

The biggest laugh was provided by former BASF director Drucilla Ramey, who recalled a time when heavy construction was occuring next door to BASF offices. One morning the diminutive Neiman collared a construction worker and complained about the noise level. In response, Ramey recalled, the construction foreman called on BASF later in the day and announced, “I want to talk to the little mean one.”

After pausing a beat Ramey, who likewise stands about 5 feet, added, “The receptionist didn’t know which one he meant.”

Contributions in Neiman’s memory may be made to The Tanya Neiman Social Justice and Poverty Law Fund, care of The San Francisco Foundation, 225 Bush St., Suite 500, San Francisco, 94104.

— Scott Graham

Alvin Kaufer, 73, Spent 45 Years at Nossaman

December 19, 2005

Sad news today from Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott. Partner Alvin Kaufer, a 45-year veteran of the firm, died over the weekend, according to the firm. He was 73.

“Al will truly be missed. He was a highly accomplished trial lawyer, valued mentor to us all and steadfast public servant. He not only helped shape the values of the firm, he personified them, always leading by example,β€? said Nossaman Managing Partner Scott DeVries.

Kaufer was born and raised in Kingston, Pa. He served two years in the army during the Korean War, then obtained his J.D. at the University of Michigan in 1959. He joined Nossaman the following year.

He had been a member of the American, California and Los Angeles County bar associations. He taught classes at Boalt Hall School of Law, and left his name on various published appellate opinions, including Braude v. Automobile Club of Southern California, 178 Cal.App.3d 994, Committee of Seven Thousand v. Superior Court, 45 Cal.3d 491, and Grupe Development Co. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.4th 911.

He is survived by his wife, Marca, three children, three stepchildren and grandchildren.

β€” Scott Graham

A Huge Loss in San Mateo

December 5, 2005

Hundreds of lawyers and judges are expected to pack St. Catherine of Siena church Thursday afternoon in Burlingame for the funeral of Natalie Lanam. Although she was not a lawyer, Lanam β€” the wife of former San Mateo Superior Court Judge William Lanam β€” was extremely active in the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. In fact, each year the society confers the Natalie Lanam Achievement Award on a lay leader for extraordinary volunteer efforts on behalf of children, families and seniors in San Mateo County. β€œIt’s a huge loss and hole in all our hearts,β€? said Marcie Storch, director of development for the Legal Aid Society. Natalie Lanam died Thursday at age 76, according to the San Mateo County Times. A vigil service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Colonial Mortuary of Crosby-N. Gray & Co. in Burlingame. The funeral mass will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1310 Bayswater Ave. in Burlingame. The Lanam family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the San Mateo Legal Aid Society and Mission Hospice of San Mateo.

β€” Scott Graham