THAU--Roland, legendary criminal defense attorney, died on November 10, 2020 at 86. He was the beloved husband of Mary and adored father of Barbara. Born in France, he and his courageous mother managed to elude the Germans during the occupation, despite the fact that Roland had to be repeatedly hospitalized. Ultimately, his mother arranged to have nine-year-old Roland escape to Switzerland with his aunt and cousin. He remained there until after the war, when he returned to France and to his mother. In 1948, Roland, his mother and stepfather came to Brooklyn, where his loving brother Larry was born. The family decided to return to France, but Roland, then 19, chose to remain here. He devoted his professional life to representing the indigent, working for The Legal Aid Society and then The Federal Defenders of New York. Roland became a well-known figure in the federal courthouse in Manhattan and always made time to give advice or share a story. He was honored by the New York Criminal Bar Association and the State Bar Association and received the Orison S. Marden and Norman S. Ostrow awards. Roland loved trying cases and worked until he was 82, retiring only because his physical stamina waned - he missed trial work terribly. In addition to his wife, daughter and brother, he is survived by sisters and brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews, including Xavier and Daphne. He is also survived by his former wife, Norma, stepchildren Nancy and Jerry, step-grand- children, step-great-grand- children, and cousins around the world. Roland was loving, passionate, funny and irrepressible. The loss is unimaginable and has left a huge hole in our hearts. Gratefully, he lived to see Trump defeated. A memorial is planned for the spring.
Published in New York Times on Nov. 15, 2020.