Melvin G. Nusbaum, who was regarded as one of Toledo’s top divorce lawyers and who was a leader in professional and civic groups, died Thursday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania, of complications from diabetes.
He was 79.
He retired from law practice about seven years ago.
He’d been a partner in the firm Lackey, Nusbaum, Harris, Reny & Torzewski, which he helped found.
Later, Mr. Nusbaum shared office space in the Spitzer Building downtown with three lawyers: his son James, Jerry Phillips, and Sheldon Wittenberg.
“He was well-respected. No detail was too small for him,” Mr. Phillips said. “It’s a distinguished profession if you do it right, and he did it right.”
Mr. Nusbaum was named 1996 “distinguished Toledo lawyer” by the University of Toledo’s Law Alumni Association.
“This isn’t an easy job. Nobody ever wins a divorce case,” he told The Blade then.
“You do the best you can to make it fair for your clients ... and the children who are innocent victims of their parents’ relationship.”
Mr. Nusbaum was able to do that by asking good questions and listening, and by putting others at ease through his good humor, son James said.
“He was a wonderful storyteller. He had sort of a Columbo-esque way about him. He was an endearing sort of character, and people would gravitate to that,” his son said.
“My dad could show that you could be a strong advocate and still be a gentleman.
“My dad saw his role as trying to extricate people from the legal process,” he said, “to get them through the process in as fair and fast a manner as possible. He found it satisfying that he helped people through a very difficult part of their lives. My dad was the kind of guy who years after a case was over, got cards and letters from clients who were so grateful.”
Mr. Nusbaum, a resident of Sylvania Township, was a former president of the Toledo Bar Association and belonged to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Mr. Nusbaum coached youth basketball at the Jewish Community Center and was a leader there when its Sylvania Township facility opened.
He also had been a director of the YMCA of Greater Toledo and the former Riverside Hospital.
“That was a big thing with him: you should work to make your community better,” his son said.
Mr. Nusbaum was born Oct. 3, 1933, to Sarah and Louis Nusbaum.
He was a graduate of DeVilbiss High School and received a bachelor of business administration degree and his law degree from Ohio State University.
Along the way, he worked in his family’s White Hut restaurants.
Surviving are his wife, Jackie, whom he married Sept. 16, 1956; daughter, Lynn Nusbaum; sons, Michael and James Nusbaum, and five grandchildren.
Services are 9 a.m. Sunday in The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim, Sylvania Township.
Arrangements were by Walker Funeral Home.
The family suggests tributes to the temple.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.