Edward G. Warin Obit 5/26/17 05/26/17 1:48:50 AM
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Edward G. WarinA Captivating Man
Feb 16, 1947 - May 20, 2017
The man who “captivated a room” is no doubt captivating the angels now.
The well-known Omaha attorney Edward G. “Ed” Warin died Saturday after putting in a full day of work Friday, despite the fact that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) two years ago. Nevertheless, his death was unexpected.
He participated in a litigation group meeting Friday, then spent the evening with his wife, Colleen Walsh Warin, and daughter Mary Colleen, who said he just stopped breathing early Saturday morning. Colleen said he died with his boots on, as he would have wished.
Ed took an unlikely path to success.
After a five-year stint on the felony trial staff of the Douglas County Attorney’s Office under Pinky Knowles, at age 29 Ed was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska, nominated by the late Sen. Ed Zorinsky.
He served from 1997 to 1981, then returned to his original plan to pursue a career at a law firm. Most lawyers build their resume´ first, then ascend to appointed positions.
But Ed never did things by the book. Last year, Ed told us a story: After working for four years for Pinky, who addressed him as “Hey, hotshot,” he told his boss he had decided to look for a higher paying job. Pinky was incredulous. Pinky said, “You mean you don’t have a job lined up, and you’re telling me you want to leave? … After four years, you continue to amaze me.”
Ed spent 11 years at Gross & Welch P.C., L.L.O., but missed the criminal aspect of the law, he said, so he moved over to McGrath North.
“On my first day, there was an indictment on my desk and I was off to California. And it was like that for 17 years,” he told us.
Seven years ago, without burning any bridges, he moved to Kutak Rock, where his younger brother had been the managing partner at the D.C. branch.
Kutak Rock Chairman David Jacobson chuckled at the mention of Ed and his law partner, John Passarelli. “I really like these guys,” he said last year for our article on Ed.
John remembered the man he worked closely with for seven years:
“He was a dear friend. We had a lot of fun on our road trips … spent a lot of quality time together. A few cocktails … a lot of waxing eloquent!”
“He captivated a room. On big cases together we would have dozens of lawyers in the room and not one of them didn’t want to interact with Ed. He was colorful, opinionated, forceful and direct ... in a productive way.
John continued: “Pat Kennison came into my office this week to commiserate about Ed. He said that one of the more difficult (legal) discussions he ever had was with Ed. But anybody who didn’t have a strong conversation with Ed didn’t really have a conversation.
“We complimented each other. I’m linear, and well, you wouldn’t describe Ed as linear,” John laughed.
The things most important to Ed were three: “Faith, family, friends and the fourth, the law. He loved the law; he loved lawyers, he loved judges. He loved to talk and debate the law.”
“He will be missed here (at Kutak Rock). When I came in Monday morning, it seemed a quieter place, something was missing. Yes, he was missed immediately.”
John said Ed “touched so many lives. He was phenomenal at helping the younger lawyers. He was never stingy about giving help and advice to young lawyers. His passing leaves a big void, not only at Kutak Rock, but in the Omaha legal community.
He always wanted to go to the Omaha Bar Memorial [that was held last Friday], John said. “He really wanted to honor those people. He’d take me along, then of course, he’d talk to every single person there!” He wasn’t able to go this year because of his work schedule.
“Ed Warin will not ever be forgotten.”
A close friend of Ed was Tom Monaghan, who followed him some years later as U.S. Attorney. “He was always decent to deal with. He was very helpful to me when I became the U.S. Attorney. One of my first cases as U.S. Attorney was with Ed and his brother Joe. I said, ‘What? Stereo Warins?’” He noted they both were very good lawyers.
“I got to know Eddie when we were in Dick Shugrue’s “American Political Novels” class [at Creighton when they were earning their undergraduate degrees].
“When I learned he was diagnosed with ALS – the fifth of my friends to die of it – I went through with him what he should expect. I advised him to quit work and ‘do everything now. Enjoy every moment.’ He stayed at work and I later understood why – he loved it and he was really good at it.”
Ed earned his law degree at Georgetown University, then returned to his hometown. His two brothers, Joe and Roger, are also Georgetown law school graduates.
In private practice, he was primarily a defense attorney in white-collar crime, in government regulatory cases and in corporate litigation. He was named 2014 Omaha Criminal Defense: White-Collar Lawyer of the Year. Ed characterized his work as, “A lot of times my job is to put a human face on these corporations.”
Ed’s charitable endeavors include involvement in the Wounded Warrior Project where “Anthony Scioli and Passarelli at Kutak do most of the work,” he said. He also just wrapped up his service on the board of his alma mater, Creighton Prep. He was a national trustee for Boys Town. He’s done a couple of tours on Nebraska State Bar Association committees and is a former board member of the Omaha Bar Association.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Colleen, son, Ted, of Durham, N.C.; daughters, Kathleen Hall Warin, of Arlington, Va.; and Mary Colleen Warin, of St. Paul, Minn.; son-in-law, Mitchell Naumoff Jr.; and granddaughters, Molly Colleen Naumoff and Elizabeth “Ellie” Gray Naumoff, of Arlington, Va.
“It is fitting that his funeral is at St. Cecilia’s, where he grew up,” John Passarelli said.
Visitation begins tonight at 4 p.m. at John A. Gentleman Mortuary with a wake service at 6 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be held Saturday, May 27, at 10 a.m. at St. Cecilia Cathedral. Private family internment: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Creighton Prep and the ALS Association Omaha.