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Theodore Eisenberg

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Theodore Eisenberg Obituary
Eisenberg, Theodore

Beloved husband, father, and Hampa, Ted died unexpectedly during a ski trip February 23, 2014 surrounded by his loving family. He was doing what he loved best--enjoying an action-packed life. Ted was born in Brooklyn, NY, on October 26, 1947, to Abraham Eisenberg and Esther Waldman. He grew up with his sister, Susan, in East Williston, NY, where he graduated from The Wheatley School. He then attended Swarthmore College (class of 1969), where he met his future wife, Lisa Wright. Ted and Lisa were married in 1971 while Ted was in law school at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his J.D. in 1972. Ted's greatest joy and crowning achievement were his children and grandchildren: his son, Thomas; daughters, Ann and Katherine Eisenberg; son-in-law, Aaron Blumkin; grandchildren, Dylan and Oliver Blumkin; and grand dog, Snuffy. Ted bounded through life with enthusiasm, finding time, in addition to his prolific academic legal career, to coach his children's sports teams, travel with Lisa, take his grandchildren to plays and teach them to ski, enjoy movies, walk Snuffy, prudently use frequent flier miles, sample chocolate and wine around the world, and talk statistics with anyone who would listen. He wanted to do much more, but as his daughter Annie observes, he packed at least two lifetimes into one. His academic career was equally enthusiastic. Following his law school graduation, he clerked for the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals and for Chief Justice Earl Warren. He started teaching at UCLA in 1977 after several years in private practice, then joined the faculty of Cornell Law School, where he spent decades teaching, researching, mentoring, and collaborating with an international network of colleagues, often teaching abroad. In addition to establishing himself as an authority in the areas of bankruptcy, civil rights, and the death penalty, he took delight in applying quantitative methods to legal scholarship, founded the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and became known as the "grandfather of empirical legal studies." In 2010, he was appointed as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is already dearly missed. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Ted Eisenberg Memorial Fund at the Cornell Law School Development Office, 260 Myron Taylor Hall, 524 College Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853. A memorial service and reception will be held at Myron Taylor Hall, Cornell Law School, on Saturday March 15 at 1PM. All are welcome.

Published in Ithaca Journal on Mar. 1, 2014
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