John J. Witmeyer III
1946 - 2013
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John J. Witmeyer, III, born in New Orleans, LA on December 18, 1946, died at his home in New York City on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 66 years old. He was the son of John J. Witmeyer, Jr., a decorated World War II veteran, and Thais Witmeyer. He is survived by his father, three brothers, Michael, Kurt and Eric and two nephews, Michael, Jr. and Robert as well as a number of cousins and grand nieces and nephews. Mr. Witmeyer graduated from Tulane University in 1968 with a Bachelors of Science degree, and after graduating from Duke University Law School in 1971, he began practicing law in New York City. On June 1, 1976, Mr. Witmeyer founded the law firm of Ford Marrin Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser, LLP where he continued to practice law until the day of his death. A remarkable lawyer with incredible energy, Mr. Witmeyer was very successful representing his clients during the course of his career, but perhaps the professional accomplishment he was most proud was his mentoring of many young lawyers, who themselves are now very successful and remember him fondly and call him friend. Mr. Witmeyer also served in the U.S. Army, and at the time of his retirement, had attained the rank of Colonel. He served in leadership positions in both professional and philanthropic organizations, which include the Gregorian University Foundation, Tulane College Dean's Colloquium Endowment Fund and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher (Eastern Lieutenancy). Visitation will be held at Garden of Memories Funeral Home, 4900 Airline Drive, Metairie, LA on Friday, August 9, 2013 from 6-9pm and on Saturday morning, August 10, 2013 from 10-11am. A Funeral Mass will follow the visitation Saturday morning at the funeral home. Interment will be in Garden of Memories Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in John's memory to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or at www. Online condolences may be offered at

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Published in The Advocate from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9, 2013.
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24 entries
June 6, 2014
With his father onboard the flight to Paris, to receive the Legion of Honor for the 65th Anniversary of the landings.
Virginie Durr
June 6, 2014
I am so saddened to find this today as I recall meeting John and his dad 5 years ago in Atlanta when he was taking him to Paris to get his Legion of Honor....RIP John, I had sent you an email today letting you know I was thinking of your dad...
January 17, 2014
We miss and will miss you forever....

Marcus and Pearl Katz
September 1, 2013
It is with deep sadness that I sign this book in memory of my friend, John. I, too, met John as a first year associate at Mudge Rose. I was in the corporate department, the department that John would jokingly remind me that messed up documents so that he and his colleagues in the litigation department could correct our mistakes. We ate many evening meals together during our associate years. There was that certain evening that he sat silently by while I devoured a portion of veal cordon bleu, with John knowing that I did not eat the thinly sliced ham hidden underneath the veal. We laughed about that and many other things during our lunches and dinners together. I was so proud of John when he left Mudge Rose with his three trusted colleagues to form his own lawfirm. Thereafter, we exchanged holiday cards each year, spoke by phone when we could, and saw each other when I was in New York. John was witty, brilliant, but also gentle, thoughtful and, in the end, extremely brave. May you rest in peace, buddy.
Arnold Kaplan
August 30, 2013
J.J. I am deeply sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.
James Kerschner
August 21, 2013
I knew John Witmeyer for 43 years. First as a colleague at Mudge Rose and the last 37 years as his law partner. Like all of us John was not perfect. He was, however, the perfect lawyer. The best I have ever known, maybe the best ever. Perfection personified.This is not hyperbole when you realize the depth and breath of his brilliance, his encyclopedic knowledge of the law, his energy and drive and his unmatched ability to execute.

John mastered complex litigation first. When he was barely 27 he took a pro bono case from the Third Circuit and argued it brilliantly to the U.S. Supreme Court (you can hear his argument on the USSC website, under Warden v. Marrero, 1974).

John was a speed reader. He told me long ago when I first observed his amazing skill that while in high school he took an Evelyn Wood Speed Reading course. He could read and absorb complex documents in minutes, literally flipping through the pages with his thumb. Often after doing this he would hand me the thick document to read and after plodding through for what seemed like a very long time(while he patiently waited), we would discuss the document and after a while he would say something like, what do you think of footnote 18. Of course footnote 18 was the key issue and I had glossed over it in my haste to just finish. He was amazing.

He was a speed writer. Upon receiving an opposition document, he would usually repair to his office and within a very short time, maybe as long as an hour or two, he would emerge with a 20-30 page retort, ready to go, compelling analyzed and beautifully written.
I know this all sounds like exaggeration. However, there are scores of lawyers who have passed through our law firm and many grateful clients who can vouch for what I say because they saw what he could do.

John was also a man of science, having studied chemistry in college and rising to the rank of Colonel in the US Army, attached at one time to the chemical warfare unit. John kept up with the serious scientific periodicals and as a science person he was fastidious with the facts and steeped in cause and effect. Where most lawyers zone out when dealing with technical material, relying on what a hired expert tells them, John would master the technical details such that he would tell his expert witness precisely what the expert testimony should be. It was never the other way around. Nothing was more electric than to see John cross exam an expert witness, be it engineering, medicine, financial and watch him turn the guy inside out, exposing all the fluff, faulty assumptions and reasoning. One adversary, at the end of a drawn out complex federal court litigation, grudgingly labeled him "Maximum Leader."

After John conquered litigation, and he did it all, antitrust, securities fraud, large construction, white collar criminal, constitutional, matrimonial, you name it, he set out to do the same to virtually every other specialty.

He made himself the very best corporate and transactional lawyer. Public offerings, securitizations, mergers and acquisitions, leasing, licensing, all of it. He just taught himself. Where other transactional lawyers mostly operate by rote, copying over and modifying prior deals--cookie cutting they call it--John first immersed himself in the actual facts and details of the transaction and then crafted the documents from scratch to fit the realities of the businesses involved. It is like the difference between an alteration tailor
who makes small modifications here and there to an off the rack suit and a master tailor who hand makes the entire suit to perfectly fit the contours of the client. Everything John did perfectly fit the client.

He also became the most talented tax lawyer and strategist on the planet. He would design intricate, exotic tax strategies for corporate and wealthy individuals that were bullet proof when the IRS came knocking. He wrote complex estate plans.

Several years ago john wrote a patent application for a highly theoretical pharmaceutical invention which was a model for clarity and substantive precision. Because John was not a member of the patent bar, the client signed the application. Eventually the patent examiner, a veteran of over 30 years called the inventor--not to ask follow up questions because he had none, but to verify the guy existed because he had never read a patent on such a complex subject written so crisply and understandably.
The examiner asked if he could use it as a demonstration on how to draft a patent. The patent was granted in record time.

It was my good fortune to have met John Witmeyer and to have been his partner. I have and will be forever grateful and indebted to him. And, so should the many lawyers and clients who were taught by him or represented by him and were lucky to see him in action.

We are also grateful for his friendship and kindness. Yes, John was a tough, brilliant lawyer, and a military man who could be highly disciplined and strong-willed. Yet he could be soft and generous to a fault. If he took a liking to you,particularly if he sensed you needed and welcomed help, he would be unstinting in giving of himself. As many know, every Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Easter, John would unfailingly call a long list of people to wish them well. With his prodigious memory, he remembered everyone's birthday.

While I have never had the slightest
envy of John's immense legal skills, only the deepest admiration, I can relate to the envious Salieri, who on hearing Mozart's perfect notes, knew he was hearing a voice from God.

John had all the answers here on earth and as Maryanne Ford said to me a few days after John's passing, he will now have a chance to have all the eternal answers. Rest in peace John.
Thomas Esposito
August 21, 2013
John and I met as first-year associates at the Mudge, Rose law firm in NYC in 1971. We became fast friends, shared many experiences at the firm and spent many a lunchtime in the Wall St. area (a particular favorite was the Seaman's Institute). John visited my wife and me at our home in Tuckahoe, NY and, after she and I returned home to Boston in 1974, John visited us there. We kept in touch with John for over 4 decades. We always looked forward to John's annual Christmas card. John attended our son's wedding in Boston in 2003 where he was the life of the party and hands-down the best dancer. We had invited John to our daughter's wedding In Boston set for this coming Sept. 7th. He said he would be there if he could. We will sorely miss his company........ My wife and I visited John for a weekend in NYC last January after he told us about his illness. At his insistence, we did not dwell on his condition during our visit but rather went to a Broadway musical and a movie, ate great dinners and had the best time reminiscing about old times and our careers. As always, John was witty, gregarious and fun. Since then, we monitored his brave fight and his frequent email updates. John was never defeated by his illness........ John was a brilliant, charismatic and extraordinary lawyer and person. He couldn't make our daughter's wedding, but he will be there in spirit, and he will always be remembered and cherished.

Thomas J. Griffin Jr., Esq.
Thomas J. Griffin Jr.
August 14, 2013
I saw John along with my husband Tom in January of this year. We spent
a weekend with John in New York enjoying dinners out, a play, and a movie.
Lots of laughs and conversation on our friendship going back
42 years. John knew, of course, what his prognosis was
but he was determined to share the weekend with us and for
all of us to have a good time. Over the course of his treatment and participation in many trials he kept us
updated with his e-mails. He demonstrated to me a
remarkable courage to endure pain and discomfort for every possible chance
to extend his life. He was a man that showed us all
the true meaning of the word courage. He is not a man that
will ever be forgotten. His life made a difference to all those he touched.
Lynne Griffin
August 10, 2013
I had the pleasure and honor of getting to know John during my three years as Dean of Paul Tulane College. He was a stalwart supporter and friend of the College and a valued member of our Dean's Advisory Council. My prized memory, however, is of his taking me to see game 6 of a Yankees-Red Sox playoff game, sitting in the last row of the upper deck behind home plate at Yankee Stadium. We were just two boys having a great time at the game. John's premature passing is a sad occasion for all of us who knew and admired him. I offer my most sincere sympathies to his family. He was a wonderful man.
George Bernstein
August 10, 2013
John and I were high school classmates at Ben Franklin. I didn't see him after high school until our last high school reunion about 4 years ago. It was great to visit with him on that occasion. He came over to our house for a Saint's game with twenty or so classmates. The game was against the NY Giants, so I believe he had divided loyalties. He was very generous toward Michael, my then 9 year old cub scout son. He bought quite a lot of pop corn and donated it to our troops overseas. We will miss John.
Victor Farrugia
August 10, 2013
I went to Stuart R. Bradley School in Gentilly with John. I will always remember him as intelligent, kind and polite. He was one of the good guys, even in elementary school. I recall that he was especially proud of being a "third" John Whitmeyer. He signed my sixth grade autograph book that way. I am not surprised at the many accomplishments mentioned in his obituary. I am sorry for your loss. Betty Schmidt Bordelon,
August 8, 2013
John was a good man and a good friend. It was always a pleasure to be with him and to experience his intelligence, his good humor and his wide-ranging knowledge. He faced his illness with great courage and determination. I shall miss him very much.
Reuben Friedman
August 8, 2013
JJ I am so sorry for your Loss. My prayers are with you. Stay strong my friend .

Roy J. Ratleff
Roy Ratleff
August 7, 2013
No words can express the grief of the loss of a loved one like John. He will be truly missed by all especially his wonderful family and friends
I knew John in Junior High, then later as part of the extended family, as one of his cousins. We shared so many family gatherings and holidays that will always be a joyful part of my memories. John was so witty and such a kind spirit. I will see him again in heaven celebrating with all those fireworks again. May God Be with Parran, and the family while HE heals their grief and celebrates the life of a wonderful person, John. I will remember him always.
Cheryline Feliu Redfern
Cheryline Redfern
August 7, 2013
John and I were classmates in high school at Benjamin Franklin. We didn't get to spend much time together post BF, but I always had a great respect and affection for him. Sincere condolences to his family.
Frank E. Hart
August 7, 2013
I am sorry to learn of your Son's passing. I am sure that he is in a better place. Maureen and I send our deepest symphaties.
Bill & Maureen Detweiler
August 7, 2013
John and i were friends in junior high. I found john on fb last year and he came down last year to visit his dad and we had a very nice lunch. I am so glad I connected with him and had the time to visit him. He was such a great guy, prominent lawyer and did for people. I know his family and friends will dearly miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
gayle johnston
August 6, 2013
John Witmeyer graduated with me from Tulane University in New Orleans, though I did not know him until we were students at Duke Law School, where he was my roommate for the last two years.

He became one of my closest friends, with a group of students and spouses with whom we have remained in contact over the years.

One highlight during law school was to bring John, Ken Dornbush, and Rick Brown to New Orleans to stay at my parents' home and enjoy Mardi Gras in the Spring of our third year.

When attending Naval Justice School in Newport, I spent my first Thanksgiving after law school with John in New York, when we celebrated the day with Jerry and Sue Peppers in Harrison, New York.

Though infrequent, I enjoyed occasional telephone calls and visits in New York with John, including a weekend with my wife, Drema, not long after the September 11th attack, when we enjoyed a great time with John, Paul and Margie Turner, and Jerry and Sue, with their four daughters, at a barbeque at the Peppers' home.

We also saw John with those and other “old friends”, including Todd and June Miller, at a 2006 Duke reunion.

After John had called about his illness, I last spoke with him this past Spring while the Turners were visiting our home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, when John was in great humor, and blessed us with his warmth and laughter.

John was simply a great friend and a great man. I have never known anyone with greater integrity, inner strength, and personal loyalty. It is very hard to believe that such a “life force” has passed at such an early age. We miss him deeply, and Drema and I extend our condolences and best wishes to his family at this difficult time.

David L. Sigler
David Sigler
August 5, 2013
You will be missed. Thank you for everything.

John Stallings
August 5, 2013
To John's family, friends and colleagues:

I met John when I entered law school at Duke in the fall of 1968. Law classes at Duke then were relatively small (a hundred or so in our class) so you had a good opportunity to get to know your classmates on a personal basis. John made an immediate impression as an extremely nice and extremely gifted person. Many times I went to John seeking a sounding board for tough legal questions, to see if I was going in the right direction. John always willingly helped. The support of classmates, John being a principal one, was a major factor in me being able to graduate from Duke and practice law for 42 years. I was always amazed at John's ability to quickly grasp the nature of the most complex legal problem and have a ready answer for it. At that time a numerical grade of 80 was an "A" at Duke. 80's did not come that easy. In a trust and estates class taught by a no nonsense professor not known for giving away grades John got a 94, as I recall. While at Duke I never heard of a higher grade. After graduation John went to New York and we went to Virginia but were still able to keep in contact. John made it a point to keep up with his classmates and help them in any way he could if they had a problem, notwithstanding his own ever increasing professional responsi-bilities. In April, 1974, 27 years old and less than three years out of Duke, he argued a case in the U.S. Supreme Court for a Pennsylvania state prisoner. I listened to his 1974 oral argument on line today, pretty remarkable in my opinion. Commencing in the late 90's we had more occasions to see John because we began visiting our son, Jonathan, who had settled in Brooklyn following college. John and his firm helped Jonathan purchase a brownstone and John did many other kind acts for our son. Any time we saw John was a special treat for us. No matter how long the gap in visits it always seemed like there had not been any gap at all. This past March we drove from our current home in Las Vegas to Florida, stopping in New Orleans. John gave us many tips as to restaurants and places to visit. A special time was visiting the World War II museum with John's father, J.J., a highly decorated "D Day" veteran and Purple Heart recipient, as our host. J.J.'s hospitality for persons such as us, who were essentially strangers, was incredible but consistent, of course with the way John treated people. Margie and I are currently on the west coast with our family and regret that we will not be able to attend tomorrow's service. We offer our condolences and deepest sympathy to J.J. and all members of John's family, to his many friends and to his colleagues. John will be greatly missed by all of the Turners.

Margie and Paul Turner
Las Vegas, Nevada
Paul Turner
August 5, 2013
New Year's Eve 2013 - always at home in New Orleans! Enjoying some food & drink with brother Michael.
So difficult to find the words to say at this cousin John was such a great man. I loved him, adored him, respected him as did most people he was surrounded with in his life. This is such a significant loss to our family but our strength will pull us through this knowing that we will reunite with John again in Heaven someday...........for another round of New Year's Eve fireworks!!
Karla Feliu
August 5, 2013
John was the best Brother -in - Law in the world! I was so very lucky to have him in my life for 33 years. He was extremely smart, had a great sense of humor, and generous to a fault. Above all, he was my friend and I will always love him. Peace be with him. Thank you to all his work friends and life friends for helping him through this difficult illness. He was a fighter to the end!
August 4, 2013
Dear John's Family, Law Firm Partners and Friends,

John's passing has deeply affected my husband, Reuben, and me. We dearly loved him.

We want to express our deepest sympathy to you.

Reuben and I greatly admired John for his intelligence, his kindness, his wonderful sense of humor, his wonderful smile, and his upbeat and never complaining attitude during his illness.

Reuben and I are grateful that we had the honor of getting to know him. We will fondly remember having lunch with John last December at one of our favorite spots in New Orleans.

He will always have a special place in the hearts of Reuben and me.


Marlene Friedman
New Orleans
August 4, 2013
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