Robert Neuberger and the hard farewell

Yesterday, Portland started cold and rainy. The rain lifted by mid morning, and we were graced with sun breaks and a crisp December day. And on that day, we said farewell to our friend, my office mate and colleague,  Robert Neuberger.

Robert and I started sharing office space a couple of years ago. I’ve known him and looked up to him since I was a young lawyer. He cut a large swath through the Oregon legal community. We’ve handled a number of cases together over the years. We’ve laughed and fought, but always we had each other’s back. And that is a rare, precious thing.

Robert lost his fight with cancer on Saturday. We all knew it was coming–he’s been sick for four years. Even as his time drew near, Robert maintained a positive, loving attitude and enjoyed finding humor in the tough circumstances.

When Robert first received the cancer diagnosis, he shrugged his shoulders and chose to dwell on the upside. “You know,” he said, “It could have been a piano falling out of a fourth floor window. Or a TriMet bus. In a crosswalk.”

It’s been a sad time for the family and many friends Robert left behind. We smiled and laughed through the tears yesterday and resolved to keep his memory alive. But I would be lying if I did not admit to a case of the blues. It’s a big rip out of the fabric of many lives.

Robert’s family plans a public memorial service. If you knew Robert and want details on the public memorial, feel free to contact me privately.

I don’t much believe in the idea of an afterlife, but I’m always quick to hedge my bets. So, Robert, if you’re somehow seeing this, you can chide me later or bust my chops for failing to find more laughs. I know how you hate my excuses, but see, a dear friend just died, and I’m damned short on humor. I suppose I should apologize. Or not.


Stuart Neuberger says

David, thank you. This is beautiful. I thank you for being a true friend to my father. You and my father are both great men.

David Sugerman says

An honor, pal. Always an honor.

Neil Jackson says

Robert was a brilliant, classy and self effacing gentleman. Gentleman is the key here. He fought hard to preserve consumer rights when the legislature was full of anti-consumer representatives who tried everything they could think of to deny consumers their rights. He fought all of his legal and legislative battles with grace and good humor. When the legislature changed and pro-consumer laws began to pass, he commented to me in his self effacing and humble manner that he was so happy that finally good laws were being passed. He said he had never been able to accomplish that during his years in Salem. What he did not talk about was how many really bad Bills he was able to stop from becoming law. What an incredible man he was. A true Gentleman.

Chuck Sheketoff says

Thanks. Well done. The death of loved ones is always so hard...

Hala Gores says

Thank you David. Robert was all of the things you, Neil and others have said he was. For me, he was kind beyond words.

Bonita Shumway says

I just learned today that Robert lost his fight with cancer and I am so sorry. I've known Robert for almost 30 years, ever since I was a baby court reporter. I have many fond memories of the depos we worked together on, everything from maritime cases, fishing boat sinkings to dump truck accidents. Robert was always such a consummate professional and a pleasure to work with -- but also a lot of fun. I think one of the reasons I got hired for the officialship in federal court was because of the glowing letter of recommendation Robert wrote for me (highly exaggerated, I might add). The downside was that I never got to work with him again, but I always looked forward to running into him here and there in downtown Portland.

Thanks for your wonderful words, David. Robert is truly missed.

Gordy Welborn says


Really nice job today at Robert's remembrance. Thanks for being his friend. I really thought a lot of him.


David Sugerman says

Gordy-I saw you up there in back. Sorry I didn't get a chance to say hello. Thanks for being there and for your kind words.


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