Michael William Roman
April 14, 1942 - November 27, 2108
Michael Roman, 76, died peacefully surrounded by loving family. He was preceded in death by his wife Kathy Roman and his parents Myron Roman and Naomi Papo Roman. He is survived by his son Max, his daughter-in-law Tory, and their twins Malcom and Beatrice Roman. Michael was born in New York City in 1942. His mother Naomi was an aspiring actress and office worker, and his father Myron was a violinist and Broadway orchestra conductor. After his parents divorced in 1945 Michael moved with his mother to San Francisco and then later to Los Angeles, where he lived with his grandmother, Cecilia Papo.
After graduating from Los Angeles High School in January of 1960, Michael joined the Navy at age 17 and served as a medical corpsman, primarily at Naval Base San Diego Hospital. Following an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1962, Michael attended the University of California at Berkeley where he earned a degree in political science, completing his B.A. in three years, and then a J.D. from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1968.
While attending law school, Michael met the love of his life, Kathleen Dentis; they were married in 1968 after Kathy graduated from Berkeley and Michael from law school. Following their nuptials, Michael took the bar exam, then he and Kathy decamped for a winter in Jackson Hole Wyoming, where they both worked at the Mangy Moose Saloon and skied almost every day of the season.
Upon returning to the Bay Area, Michael joined the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office (19691973) and then opened his own practice (1973-2011), focusing primarily on criminal defense and workers rights. This work was an extension of his beliefs: that justice is a right and not a privilege, and that those who are not able to stand up for themselves need someone to stand up for them.
Michael loved getting to know people, hearing their stories, and then figuring out the best way to make them laugh. He had an encyclopedic mental compendium of jokes at the ready, and was always quick with the perfect joke to make someone laugh when they needed it.
He also loved spending time with his family, particularly in the outdoors. He spent countless hours with Kathy and Max in Lake Tahoe skiing, hiking, biking, and relaxing, as well as on many active vacations to Alaska and Europe.
In 2015 Michael’s beloved wife Kathy was diagnosed with ALS and she passed away almost two years later. In grieving Kathy’s passing, Michael found great relief in family, his son Max, his daughter-in-law Tory, and then his twin grandchildren, Malcolm and Beatrice. Michael loved being a grandfather, and delighted in every new word and accomplishment of the twins.
As he said in his final days, “I’ve had a good life, and there’s nothing more for me to do.” Truer words were never spoken, and although we will all miss Michael terribly, we take comfort in a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Michael’s memory to the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces at https:// www.fidf.org/donate or the ALS Association at http:// www.alsa.org/donate/