Marc Gertner, 1932-2013: Lawyer was expert on U.S. pension law


Marc Gertner, who in his legal practice was immersed in the complexity and nuance of pension and employee benefit law, died Saturday in Denver Hospice from complications of influenza. He was 80.

He retired to Naples, Fla., from Sylvania Township more than 20 years ago. He was in declining health and moved to Denver about 4½ years ago to be near his son, Doug.

Mr. Gertner was a former partner in the law firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and was noted for his expertise on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

“He had a brilliant mind and a wonderful work ethic. When you combine those two with the desire to excel, which he always had, success followed,” said Judge David Katz of U.S. District Court in Toledo, a law school classmate at Ohio State University.

Mr. Gertner wrote books and articles and gave talks on the law best known by its initials, ERISA. He also represented pension funds when they loaned money for building projects — such as for what is now the Park Inn downtown — in the hopes of earning a return for the retirement plans.

His expertise was widely sought, and he once commented, “Join ERISA and see the world,” his son recalled.

“He was on a lot of airplanes and flew a lot of miles because ERISA people wanted to hear what he had to say in speeches,” his son said.

Mr. Gertner also was legal counsel to the Junior League of Toledo for nearly 25 years.

He was born April 17, 1932, in Columbus to Louis and Pearl Gertner. He was a graduate of Bexley High School. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College.

He was a graduate of the Ohio State law school and was editor-in-chief of the Ohio State Law Journal.

He practiced law in Providence, R.I., for a year, but settled in Toledo, hometown of his wife, Sandra.

He had been a member of the Toledo Tennis Club and a trustee of Grey Oaks Country Club, Naples.

Mr. Gertner was married three times. He and his first wife, Sandra, married Sept. 21, 1958. She died Aug. 18, 1966. Their daughter, Toni Lynne Gertner, was 6 when she died of leukemia on May 25, 1971.

He and his second wife, Bette, married April 17, 1967. She died Jan. 22, 1994.

His third marriage, to the former Geraldine Cannon, ended in divorce.

Surviving are his son, Doug; daughters, Peggy Rice and Pamela Glatman, and three grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim, where he'd served on the board.

The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer's Association; Hospice of Northwest Ohio, or the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.