Friday, January 05, 2007

Sad news

Bernie Meltzer has died.

I never had a class with him, but from my limited encounters with him, I can say with authority that he was one of the nicest people at the Law School. No matter how gloomy a day you might be having, if you walked by him you couldn't help but smile. His incredible cheery attitude was infectious. Not content to merely project an aura of sunshine onto the Law School, he also kept himself in good shape at an age when most have long given up on their bodies. While we lazy law students opted for the library elevator to take us up three floors, Professor Meltzer always took the stairs. And sometimes he still managed to beat us. And, needless to say, he was an incredibly smart guy. Yet he was astonishingly humble, a quality even rarer in the law than in everyday life. I didn't know him very well, but the news of his passing makes me very sad.

Rest in peace, Professor Meltzer.

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At January 5, 2007 at 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was Professor Meltzer's research assistant for two summers and two full school years. I picked him up many days for work and we rode together in my car. Even at his age, he refused to take the elevator - he'd walk up all six flights of stares every time. He and his wife would give my wife and I tomatoes from their garden. He treated me and my family with such great care and concern. We exchanged emails even after I graduated from law school. I helped him work on his memoirs and the experience changed me, and his life is a shining fusion of compassion and ambition - a remarkable lawyer and teacher of the highest order. Even losing his sight and other health concerns, he was so dynamic and brilliant - offering counsel to former students who were now on the bench and in government positions. I will miss lunches with him at the Quandrangle Club and in the Green Lounge, him having a hot chocolate ready for me when I picked him up in the morning, his concentration and energy never failing when mine was waining. I love that great and good man. He was a true friend and mentor, and I am so sad to lose him. I am heartsick for his family - may God bless them and comfort them.

I'm sorry to take up so much space, I have no idea who you are, but I appreciate your token of rememberence. He was a prominent man, but even still, most of the world does not know what a great champion, intellectual, teacher and friend we all lost today.

At January 5, 2007 at 9:01 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

anon, thank you for your message. As for who I am, if you were a law student any time in the past four and a half years, chances are we've at least bumped into each other at one point.

I wish I'd had a chance to know him better... he sounds even more incredible from your description. I, too, will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for the visit! And feel free to come again, take up as much space as you like :)

At January 6, 2007 at 11:19 AM, Blogger Roonie said...

That is incredibly sad news :( I heard that one of my professors was on sabbatical because of incredibly poor health, and, although I hated Civ Pro, I thought he was one of the most stellar dudes at the law school. He had balls, albeit old ones. I dug his spunk. And it made me a little teary-eyed to hear that he's not invincible. I always thought he was.

At January 7, 2007 at 9:14 AM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

Are you referring to Professor Meltzer of the University of Chicago Law School? My late ex-husband was a labor lawyer, so I've heard of him. I think he was a prosecutor at the Nuremburg Trials, among other things.

He was one of the really great men, and his intelligence and kindness will be missed by many.

At January 9, 2007 at 2:48 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

roonie, it's crazy how much we can realize we cared about law school professors -- not matter how much they terrorized us.

heart, it is indeed. He was a Nuremburg prosecutor and in addition to being a legal genius, he was a genuinely kind soul.


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