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Michael L. Lazer Obituary 11/7/14  11/06/14 11:30:15 PM Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly Version

Michael L. Lazer
June 27, 1938 – October 28, 2014
Lazer Leaves Legacy of a ‘Good Name’
In his final days, when he asked his Rabbi how he would be remembered, the Rabbi told him, “Just leave a good name,” Nancy Milder Lazer said of her husband.
By all accounts, Michael Lazer did just that.
“He had a giant heart,” his wife said. “He loved people, all people, no matter who they were. It just didn’t matter.”
Nancy Lazer said the one thing everyone agreed on was that their father, grandfather and colleague would be remembered for: “He was the most open person they ever knew.”
He spent 51 years putting that gift into practice in his law profession.
Clay Rogers, a partner at Smith Gardner Slusky Law, where Lazer spent the last 20 years of his legal career before retiring in 2013, echoed that sentiment. “He was a gregarious guy and had a divergent array of friends from all walks of life. He just attracted a cadre of people. He had a great wit as well. Someone like him is not easily replaced.
“He was a ‘people person,’ and as such had an innate ability to make people feel at ease, to open up and to discuss and reveal things. He had a real humanity about him.
“He reached across the aisle in so many ways, treating people with respect whether they were indigent or owned the company. His attitude toward his clients was ‘I’m helping you.’”
Rogers said his friend was an excellent lawyer and a humanitarian, which “served him well in the courtroom. He served his clients well. He had a very unique talent. … And that seemed to be a universal observation.
“Mike was the elder statesman of the firm. He was always there to give us perspective and sage advice. There’s no substitute for 50 years of experience. He was a natural mentor.”
Lazer’s former law partner Robert Dwyer agreed, saying “He was a great guy to practice with and a great friend. He was an excellent lawyer.” He added that he had fond memories of their travels to Mexico together as well.
Although Lazer suffered health issues the past few years, he overcame them to continue living the life he loved, Nancy said. “He loved his family, his grandchildren and flowers. We always had fresh flowers everywhere.”
He was also an “amazing cook,” she said. “You name it, he’d try it. I was usually the sous chef.”
People loved to come over for dinner, she said. He’d wake up the day they were to go out to dinner with friends and say, “I think I’d rather cook. So, he’d spend hours pouring over cookbooks, then more hours shopping for the ingredients.”
The couple, who were married for 13 years, lived in the same neighborhood as the late publisher of The Daily Record, Ron Henningsen, who also love to cook. “Ron was one of his best friends,” Nancy said. They shared many a dinner.
The native Omahan and Central Eagle earned both his bachelor’s degree and law degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the early 1960s. He continued his education to better serve his clients, completing mediation training in 2007. He began his career with criminal cases and divorces, a career that later evolved into commercial and real estate areas. In 1992 he received the State of Nebraska’s Governor’s Award for Philanthropic Planning.
He was a member of the Omaha, Nebraska State and American Bar Associations.
Besides his wife, his survivors include children: Andrea Grafentin (John), Jessica Lazer (Richard Waldman) and Rachel Roberts; three grandchildren: Ben and Grant Grafentin and Thomas Lazer Waldman; and sister, Judy Kaplan.
Memorials are suggested to Omaha Crime Stoppers, Nebraska Humane Society or Food Bank for the Heartland.
– By Lorraine Boyd

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