Begam, Robert "Bob"
Robert (Bob) Begam, 87, died on July 26, 2015 in Phoenix AZ. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he was a member of one of the first graduating classes of Bronx High School, of Science, attended Yale College, and was one of the youngest men to graduate from Yale Law School. Bob met his wife of 58 years, Helen (Clark), who pre-deceased him in 2007, at Yale where they were both involved in the Drama School. After graduating from college, Bob married Helen in 1949 and moved to Phoenix in 1954, where they raised their family and where Bob served in the United States Air Force and later co-founded the law firm of Langerman, Begam, & Lewis (now Begam, Marks, & Traulsen). Bob's 50-year, distinguished law-career in Phoenix included arguing Arizona's Colorado River water rights before the United States Supreme Court, representing the United Farm Workers and the Navajo Nation, and serving as President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Bob was active in local and national politics, including working on Robert F. Kennedy's and John Lindsay's presidential campaigns and serving as a delegate at the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Democratic Conventions. Bob was also active in various community and cultural organizations, serving on the Boards of the Phoenix Boys & Girls Club, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Arizona Repertory Theater, Phoenix Little Theater, and Arizona Theater Company. He acted in or directed numerous critically-acclaimed plays in Phoenix, including "Waiting for Godot," "The Glass Menagerie," "Under Milkwood," "Antony and Cleopatra," and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" In his spare time, Bob wrote two novels, traveled the world, and played an excellent game of golf. Bob had a tremendous influence on those who knew him; when he cleared his throat to tell a story, people listened. And Bob was a fearless man - whether confronting a band of armed men deep in the Congo or speaking before the U.S. Supreme Court, Bob fully embraced life. He died peacefully surrounded by his two sons, Richard and Michael Begam, his daughter-in-law, Christiaan Hendrickson, and his companion, Kate Cummings. He is survived by his two sons, his daughter, Lorinda Camparo, his two granddaughters, Robyn Purchia and Stayce Camparo, and his great grandson, Elliott Clark Purchia. There will be a private service for the family to celebrate Bob's extraordinary life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Arizona Theater Company, 400 E. Van Buren Street, Suite 720, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 16, 2015.