Michael Wil­liam Ro­man

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

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/

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