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Charles Alexander Pulaski

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Charles Alexander Pulaski Obituary
Pulaski, Charles Alexander
70, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on June 21, 2012. Charles ("Charlie") A. Pulaski, Jr., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at age 70, on June 21, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The cause of death was complications from lymphoma. Charlie was born in Flushing, New York, and raised in nearby Port Washington by his late parents, Charles A. Pulaski, Sr. and Mary Ann Spencer Pulaski. He prepared at Taft, Watertown, Connecticut and the Leys School, Cambridge, England. A 1964 graduate of Yale College, he received an LL.B. degree from Yale Law School in 1967. At Yale Law School, he was a member of the Order of the Coif and an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. While at Yale College, Charlie met and married his best friend, Linda Holden, with whom he shared his life for the next 47 years. After graduating law school, Charlie served as a law clerk for Judge Robert Zampano at the District Court of Connecticut before entering private practice as an associate with Tyler, Cooper, Grant, Bowerman & Keefe in New Haven, Connecticut. Charlie later served on the faculties of the University of Iowa College of Law (1972-1980) and Arizona State University College of Law (1980-1986), where he won numerous teaching awards. He wrote and published a case book in 1982: "Criminal Pretrial and Trial Procedure: Cases & Materials." In 1983, he co-authored "Equal Justice and the Death Penalty: A Legal & Empirical Analysis" with David Baldus and George Woodworth. The study examined the presence of racial discrimination in death penalty sentencing and has been widely cited by legal scholars and jurists. It was also the centerpiece of the United States Supreme Court's 1987 decision in McClesky v. Kemp. While teaching at Arizona State, Charlie's focus shifted from criminal procedure to tax law, of which he was an autodidact. He became a tenured professor of tax law, helping young lawyers appreciate the complexity of the tax code while cautioning on an overreliance on logic when interpreting it. In 1986, Charlie left academia to join Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was a senior tax partner at the time of his passing. A substantial part of his practice involved representing charitable organizations, for-profit businesses and individuals in controversies with the IRS or state tax authorities. Ever the educator, Charlie continued to share his passion for learning and gift of teaching at Snell & Wilmer, mentoring many young attorneys in the tax group, whom he fondly referred to as his "tax kids." Charlie was active in the American Bar Association Section of Taxation serving as Chair of Standards of Tax Practice Committee from 1994 to 1996. He also served as a Member of its Tax Council and Council Director of various committees from 2004 to 2007 and as a Member of the Appointments to Tax Court Committee from 2005 to 2010. He was a fellow at the American College of Tax Counsel. This month, in recognition of his accomplishments, the State Bar of Arizona Tax Section honored Charlie with the Henry Tom Outstanding Tax Attorney Award. Never wavering in his belief that all people deserve representation to ensure justice, Charlie served on the Board of the Arizona Capital Representation Project, a non-profit organization representing indigent persons facing the death penalty in Arizona. Outside of the law, Charlie was passionate about many things, including politics and current events, education, economics, baseball, sailing, running, tennis, squash, spending time on Cape Cod with his family, and meals filled with good food, lively conversation and boisterous laughter. A true academic at heart, he believed that "being bored is the worst sin" and posted another memorable quote on his dresser mirror: "I'm not retiring. Once you turn it off, you're dead. I exercise and I have my vodka. And I have a good time." By far his greatest love was his family and friends. He was a genuine, gentle, deeply loyal and thoughtful man who always went the extra distance to make everyone feel special. He will be deeply missed for his wonderful spirit, keen intelligence, caring nature, and razor-sharp wit. Charlie is survived by his wife, Linda, beloved daughter, Alison, and son-in-law, John Carter, his sister, Betsy Mertens, and nephews, Chris Milk and Jeff Mertens. He is also survived by his new grandson and namesake, Charles Holden Carter (b. May 3, 2012), who, since the moment of his birth, was the light of Charlie's life, bringing him great joy and much comfort. Charlie was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, teacher, advocate, counselor, mentor, author and friend. He lived a life worth celebrating. His family will continue to honor his life and his accomplishments with memorial services in Cape Cod this summer and in Phoenix this fall. To pay tribute to Charlie's commitment to law and justice, the family has created an endowment with the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The Pulaski family requests that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made in memory of Charlie Pulaski to the endowment. Donations should be sent to: The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, P.O. Box 879901, Tempe, AZ 85287. Checks should be made out to the ASU Foundation-Pulaski Memorial.

Published in The Arizona Republic on July 1, 2012
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