PARKERSBURG — An honored attorney from Parkersburg passed away.
Robert T. Goldenberg died on Thursday. He was 96.
“Bob Goldenberg is a positive spirit whose lifetime example of helping and caring for those less fortunate will live forever among those of us who were blessed to know him personally,” attorney Harry Deitzler said. “In addition to helping individuals and families as a practicing attorney in Parkersburg for an amazing 70 years, Bob also lived a life of service to our community at every level.”
Goldenberg was the last surviving founding member of the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, now the West Virginia Association for Justice, Beth A. White, executive director of the West Virginia Association for Justice, said. Goldenberg was among the 12 attorneys who established the association in 1959.
“One thing that (son) David Goldenberg shared with me this morning was that Bob renewed his license with the West Virginia Bar just two months ago,” she said.
Goldenberg received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, the Fred H. Caplan Award, from the association.
A 1941 graduate of Parkersburg High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Goldenberg served in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Prior to deployment, he completed special training at the Yorktown Mine Warfare School to serve on minesweepers. He rose to the rank of lieutenant junior grade and served through the invasion of Okinawa in 1945.
He graduated from law school in 1949 from Washington and Lee University, returning to Parkersburg where he established a law practice. Among his first cases was a medical malpractice case.
Goldenberg also was the president of the Association for Justice from 1974-1975. Son David was president 2001-2002.
Goldenberg served in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1961-62 as a Republican delegate from Wood County. He was a commissioner for the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and a past chairman of the West Virginia Board of Review for Employment Security.
He also was a charter member of the West Virginia State Bar Foundation and was named a fellow of the foundation. Goldenberg was president of the Wood County Bar Association and vice president of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges.
“Because of Bob and others with foresight, thousands in our state have received justice they would not have otherwise gotten,” Parkersburg attorney Walt Auvil said. “That is a legacy anyone could be proud of.”
Auvil has known Goldenberg since returning home to Parkersburg in 1989.
“Although we never practiced together, Bob reached out to me several times on legal and political matters. Occasionally we had lunch together, as he did with several other attorneys in town,” Auvil said. “Bob was a Republican, and he knew I was an active Democrat. However, he was unfailingly polite and professional, even when we disagreed. He was never petty, never mean. And we could all take lessons from his example.
“One aspect of Bob’s personality I appreciated was that he and I could agree or disagree, but it was never personal,” Auvil said. “He would be as charming and genuine the next time he saw you, regardless of your interaction the time before.”
Jess Mancini can be reached at [email protected]
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