Herschel J Saperstein, beloved husband, father and grandfather, distinguished lawyer, cherished friend and colleague, died Thursday, June 6, 2019 at White Sands La Jolla, California. He died peacefully, surrounded by his adoring wife and children. He was 90 years old.
Herschel (Hersh) was born Jan. 15, 1929, in Ogden, Utah, to Adolph Saperstein and Molly Abramson. He was raised in Ogden, Utah, and graduated from Ogden High school in 1946.
While Herschel’s Jewish identity was important to him throughout his life, in his youth he was also a proud member of the 18th Ward Male Chorus and the Ward basketball team.
He attended Weber College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Utah in 1950. He graduated second in his class from the University of Utah Law School in 1952, and was admitted to the Utah State Bar that year.
He then served in the United States Judge Advocate General Corps at both Fort Ord, California and the U.S. Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he participated in the drafting of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice.
He married Saundra Morrison on August 28, 1960 in Ogden, Utah. They raised their three children – Michael, David and Leslie – in Salt Lake City.
Herschel had a distinguished legal career and was known as much for his ethical approach to the law as for his legal expertise.
His private legal career began with Draper, Sandack and Saperstein, where he established himself as a litigator and bankruptcy expert. He subsequently joined Pugsley, Hays, Watkiss, Campbell, Cowley, where later he became a named partner. He practiced with the firm, which would eventually become Watkiss Saperstein. He remained there for many years before joining Ray, Quinney & Nebeker, where he practiced until his retirement in 2008.
Included among his many accomplishments in private practice is membership in the Order of the Coif, Utah State Bar Distinguished Lawyer of the Year (1991), fellowship in the American College of Bankruptcy, and admission to the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.
Hersh was a ready mentor to many younger lawyers, sharing with them both his knowledge of and ethical approach to legal practice. His peers recall him taking great pleasure in following the careers of junior lawyers and they credit him with developing standards of excellence for bankruptcy law practice in Utah. He was Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Creditors Remedies, Bankruptcy and Insolvency at the University of Utah College of Law in 1970 and 1973 and was a Master of the Bench in American Inns of Court VII.
Herschel was a lifelong democrat and active in Democratic Party politics. He was appointed by Governor Calvin Rampton to the Utah Civil Rights Commission President at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. He was President of the Board of Trustees of Utah Legal Services in the 1990s.
Beyond the courtrooms and law firms, Herschel spent time fly fishing and golfing. Upon retirement Herschel and Saundra relocated to San Diego, California where they indulged their love of the sea and warm weather.
Herschel is survived by his wife, Saundra; sons Michael (Sonia Olinto) of New York City, David (Stephanie) of Salt Lake City, daughter Leslie Saperstein (David Rubin), of San Francisco, and two granddaughters, Elizabeth Stockstill (Tyler) and Samantha Saperstein.
Graveside services will be held at Leavitt’s Mortuary and Aultorest Memorial Park, 836 36th Street, Ogden Utah at on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to Alzheimer’s San Diego or to the charity of your choosing.