My name is Sylvain Segal. I died on October 16, 2016, sooner than I expected because I still had a lot to do. I was born in Flushing, New York, the year Lindberg made his solo flight from New York to Paris. I turned 18 the day after VJ Day ending World War II, but I was still drafted into the Army to serve in the occupation of Korea. Despite spending a year and a half in service, I was able to graduate from college thereafter at the age of 20. Sometimes I wondered why I started to move so fast towards completion of law school from which I graduated at the age of 23. It took me 60 years until I figured it out. Those early starts allowed me to practice law for as long as I did. Since I liked what I was doing, I was able to do it for longer than I had any reason to expect.|
Along the way, I met two of the most wonderful women I ever knew. I married Ann, who survived long enough to be with me for 32 years and gave me three great children, Richard, Steven and Jacqueline and ultimately five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Entering into the second stage of my life I married Marlo, to whom I owe my life, who provided me with 28 years of untold pleasures and love along the way and who has had to assume the burden of also acting as my lifegiver.
After practicing law for twenty years in New York, the family moved to Albuquerque where I became the last lawyer for more than forty years to be admitted to unlimited practice in New Mexico without taking the bar exam. My luck continued to run for years and years. As of the date of my death, I was the oldest lawyer to be known as a Board Certified Specialist in New Mexico. Many hurdles were thrown in my path along the way seemingly to prevent me from reaching that point. Nevertheless I was able to get by them without serious injury. Another goal for which I was reaching before retirement or death was to be the longest practicing lawyer in the State. Unfortunately I only made it to 3rd longest thanks to the Catron brothers in Santa Fe.
To all those who I came to know during my life including Ron Taylor, who helped me find my way when I first moved to Albuquerque, my old friend, Larry Soifer, who graduated from law school with me more than 60 years ago, my former paralegals, Lori Rogers and Sherry Alba, both of inestimable assistance to me, Mike Hoeferkamp with whom I have continued to enjoy practicing law as of counsel to his office and the many other friends I made, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for helping me to enjoy life to its fullest. May every one of you have the same luck as I have had.
The family is especially grateful for the superior caring and skilled dedication of the medical community of Presbyterian Health Services, Palliative and Hospice units, Presbyterian Hospital and Rust Medical Center and their ER and IR units, Kaseman Hospital, HealthSouth Rehab Hospital; of Dr. Russell Schultz, Dr. Johnathan Lackner, Dr. Nicholas Volpocelli, Dr. Greg Franklin, Dr. Daniel Friedman, Dr. Matthew Montoya, Dr. Victor Vigil, Dr. Abdo Saad, Dr. Daniel Shibuya, Dr. Faith Shapiro, Dr. Timothy Hermann, Dr. Gary Peterson, as well as the countless nurses, therapists, techs and EMT's; plus the home care folks of Home Instead and Interim Healthcare, HME Specialists, Walgreens Drug & Tricore Labs. Each and every one of you gave tirelessly and skillfully of your time and training to make Sylvain's journey as easy as possible. You were successful. Thank you all.
Sylvain graduated from Lehigh University, Columbia Law and was licensed to practice at the Supreme Court of the State of NY. His love of the law had him in many interesting situations. He was fired by his first boss in NY because he 'unprofessionally' rode a bike to work – didn't matter that his office was in a bedroom. His second job was running out for cigars for the partners, and by the third try his office was over a Chinese restaurant with a mouse peeking down on him from the ceiling, but he persevered.
He never turned anyone away regardless of their ability to pay. After moving to Albuquerque, he continuously offered 24/7 help advice to the entire real estate brokerage community if they were stuck with clients and needed immediate legal help. He served on numerous volunteer boards and was legal counsel to several HOA's working tirelessly to untangle their problems. He was a master of 'creative original solutions' to 'sticky real estate problems.'
Over his career he was privileged to make permanent law for several cases that still stands today. Sylvain turned 89 on Aug. 16th and hoped to become the longest practicing attorney in the State. Sadly he only made it to 3rd longest behind the Catron brothers in Santa Fe. During his last few days he was still trying to help his clients as best he could.
He was notorious for his fashion style – the infamous short-sleeved suit, his colorful Jerry Garcia ties and jackets; for his adoption of a wild burro whose praying in the Four Hills community which had many folks thinking was some type of burglar alarm, to being one of the original hot air balloon owners/pilots when the balloons launched from the Fairgrounds (unfortunately his balloon adventure ended over a set of power lines), and not lastly his infamous phone number 888-8888.
He traveled the world with his first wife, Ann Lee and then later with his wife Marlo. He climbed mountains, skied, hiked, swam, played tennis, biked hundreds of miles around New Mexico and the world, he was an avid bridge player, a Big Brother and a volunteer tutor for the inmate reading program. Despite having been born in Flushing, NY he loved the Southwest, the art, the culture, the people (especially the native pueblos) and the food – his favorite being Monroe's Restaurant. His famous cure for high cholesterol was a bowl of pinto beans three times per week – and it really worked. He was an avid reader of western novels and biographies of all the world's great leaders. He loved musical theater, symphony and museums of all ilk, and hosting dinner parties at his home. He worked hard and earned the privilege of being able to do and go whatever and wherever the desire took him. He was always up for a challenge.
Sylvain was the proud father of Richard Segal (wife Wendy) of NY, Steven Segal (wife Annie) of Oregon and Jacqueline Barsis (husband James) of Alaska; grandfather of Aaron Segal, Jacob Segal, Joshua Barsis, Sarah Barsis and Levi Barsis; great-grandfather of Norah Barsis, Isabella Stamper,Waring Barsis, and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as step-father of Jeff Oren and Erik Oren, stepdaughter-in-law Laurelle Powers (husband Dennis Mysiak). Sylvain was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Jack and sister Marie.
Sylvain died Sunday morning October 16, 2016 peacefully in his sleep after a long and tedious health battle. This brilliant legal mind is at last at peace. We love you and miss you. We're sure you're holding court somewhere else.
Cremation has taken place. memorial messages may be sent to online guest book for Sylvain at www.FrenchFunerals.com
FRENCH - Westside, 9300 Golf Course Rd. NW.
505-897-0300. Donations may be made to Legal
Aid, any disaster relief, or
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Nov. 16, 2016