Lawrence M. Katz, 57, Piper & Marbury tax lawyer

November 08, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Lawrence M. Katz, a respected corporate tax lawyer who retired in September from the firm of Piper & Marbury, died Saturday of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, at home in Owings Mills. He was 57.

Mr. Katz had been with the firm since 1968.

Managing partner Francis B. Burch Jr., who practiced law with Mr. Katz for 25 years, said yesterday that he was "so highly accomplished on the one hand and so human and engaging at the same time. If he had an ego, it was never evident."

At Mr. Katz's retirement dinner, Mr. Burch said, "Perhaps Larry's most enduring contribution has been the way he practiced law and carried himself each day with humility, honesty, devotion to family, faith, intellectual vigor and grace."

Unable to talk by then, Mr. Katz used a voice computer to make a speech that echoed Mr. Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.

Mr. Katz said he was thankful for the love and support of his family, the gratitude of his clients, the help of his fellow lawyers and staff.

"I may have had a tough break, but I consider myself so fortunate to have been blessed with a wonderful life and to have spent my legal career at Piper & Marbury," he told them.

The firm recently merged with a Chicago firm and is now Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Katz was a 1960 graduate of City College. He received his bachelor's degree from Duke University in 1964, his law degree from the University of Maryland in 1967 and a master's degree in tax law from New York University in 1971.

Baltimore magazine listed him three times as a top tax lawyer in Maryland, and he received hundreds of letters of thanks from clients, said a brother, Dr. Leon D. Katz of Baltimore.

Mr. Katz was active in the Maryland and the American bar associations, where he focused on tax law and worked on legislation.

A member of Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Pikesville, he was a past chairman of the Board of Jewish Education for The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, reflecting his interest in education.

Mr. Katz enjoyed nature and gardening, travel and photography.

Above all, he was a family man, his brother said.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills.

Mr. Katz also is survived by his wife of 30 years, the former Ann Yankellow; two daughters, Rebecca Katz of New York and Melissa Katz of Baltimore; his mother, Ann M. Katz of Baltimore; and a brother, Elkan M. Katz of Philadelphia.

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