Oregon State Bar Bulletin — AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2006
In Memoriam

Judith Lerner, a sole practitioner in Eugene and a lifelong activist for the rights of persons with mental and developmental disabilities, died May 24, 2006, after battling ovarian cancer since September 2003. She was 58.

Lerner was born in Brooklyn, New York. She received her law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1974. As a legal services lawyer in the late 1970s, she established the first law office to represent in-patients at Norwich Hospital in Connecticut, and successfully lobbied to have similar offices set up at all Connecticut institutions for persons with mental and developmental disabilities. She later ran a clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law, training law students to do similar work. She married Robert Roth in 1978 and put her law career on hold in December 1979 to raise their two daughters. Lerner returned to practice after moving to Eugene in 1991. She specialized in Social Security disability law and other areas related to the rights and needs of persons with disabilities.

She is survived by her husband and two daughters.

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Former OSB member Elizabeth Diane ("Lisa") Geary died peacefully at home June 28, 2006 at age 51 of pancreatic cancer. She was born in Klamath Falls. In her early childhood years her family lived in Palo Alto, Calif, Klamath Falls, Albany, Springfield, Medford and Ashland, as well as Bremerton and Vancouver, Wash. In 1964 her family settled in Vancouver, and with the exception of some time away at college, she has remained a Clark County resident for the rest of her life. In 1972 she graduated from Columbia River High School. She attended Willamette University and graduated cum laude from the University of Portland in 1992. In 1996 she graduated from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. She has been a member of the ABA since 1997, practicing in both Oregon and Washington. In 1979 she married Denney Parker of Ridgefield, Wash. They later divorced. Survivors include her father, Richard Geary, and his wife, Janet of Lake Oswego; and her son, Derek Michael Parker.

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Portland lawyer Debra (Debi) L. Anderson died July 9, 2006. She was 49.

Born June 11, 1957 in Millington Tenn., she spent her early years traveling with her Navy family throughout the United States and Europe. Finishing high school in Bozeman, Mont., she went on to complete a B.A. in political science from Montana State University, followed by a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University. While working for Judge Cliff Olson, Anderson attended law school at night and earned a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1988. She then practiced law with Schulte, Anderson and was active in the Oregon New Lawyers Division where she founded several successful community service programs.

With the birth of her first child Amy in 1996, followed by twins Jo and Megan in 1999, Anderson’s life shifted focus from her profession to her family. She devoted herself to her children and community. She was involved in neighborhood, community and school activities. She was named Bridlemile Elementary Volunteer of the Year in 2005, and was honored with a Bridlemile Heart of the Community Award in 2006. She also enjoyed home repair, gardening and hosting casual backyard get-togethers with friends. She was a loved, trusted and respected mother, friend and attorney.

In addition to her daughters, Amy, Jo and Megan Poole, she is survived by her mother, Amy Anderson, and three brothers and their famlies.

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Former OSB president Thomas C. Howser died in his sleep on July 22, 2006. He was born in 1937 in Burns, attended Burns’ schools and graduated valedictorian of the Burns Senior High School class of 1955. He attended the University of Oregon, majoring in history and English. He then attended the Netherlands Foreign Trade Institute in Holland. He returned Oregon and attended the University Oregon School of Law, where he obtained an LL.B degree and J.D. He was an associate editor of the Oregon Law Review.

In 1961 Howser worked as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge William G. East. From 1962-1972, he was an associate then partner with Brophy, Wilson & Duhaime in Medford. In 1972, he became a partner in the firm of Cottle & Howser, which later became Thomas C. Howser P.C. From 1974 to 1978 he was the pro-tem municipal judge in Ashland.

From 1978 to 1981, Howser was a member of the OSB Board of Governors and served as bar president in 1981. Later he was a member of the OSB House of Delegates (1997-2000) and served as an ABA House of Delegates member (1996-2000) as well. Other bar service included: the OSB Committee on Judicial Administration (1970-73); the OSB Legal Ethics Committee (1975-77), which he chaired(1976-77). He was the president of the Jackson County Bar Association (1977-78) and a member of the OSB Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Howser was a director of the Oregon Law Foundation and served as secretary-treasurer (1982-83). From 1981 until his death he belonged to and led many other bar groups, including: the Professional Liability Fund (chair, 1985-86); the OSB Litigation and Family and Juvenile Law Sections; the Arbitration Panel of Portland Arbitration Services; Jackson County Arbitration Panel; and the OSB’s Unlawful Practice of Law Committee.

He is survived by his wife, Val; son, Mark, and daughters Laura, Kate, and Jen and their respective families.

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