Attorney Marvin H. Glazier was a real mensch, which is a Yiddish word for a person of integrity and honor.
Those who knew and worked with Glazier said that definition barely scratches the surface of who he was and the influence he had on the profession and the personal lives of his colleagues.
Glazier, 72, died Thursday at his home in Bangor surrounded by his family after a brief battle with cancer. He worked at Vafiades, Brountas & Kominsky since November 1969, his entire career.
“Marvin’s passing is a great loss to the local bar and Maine’s legal community,” Hunter Tzovarras, president of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said Saturday. “No other lawyer was more respected by his colleagues, the court and clients. Marvin was a long time member of MACDL and did much to improve the quality of criminal defense in the Bangor area.”
Glazier was best known for his criminal defense work, that ran the gamut from drunken driving and other misdemeanors to serious felonies and homicides cases. He also handled civil and probate work. He was a consummate litigator, according to his colleagues and the prosecutors who opposed him.
R. Christopher Almy, the district attorney for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties since 1985, said he had know Glazier for more than 40 years.
“Few lawyers, let alone people, were as gracious and respectful as he was,” Almy said Friday. “He treated all the people he worked or interacted with with sincerity. He made a point of asking about an individual’s health and well being. Marvin possessed a unique human touch and won the admiration of all.”
Lisa J. Marchese, head of the criminal division in the Maine attorney general’s office, called Glazier “the ultimate professional.”
“Marvin was one of few attorneys I have met who was respected by everyone who worked with him — prosecutors, judges, colleagues and clients,” she said. “He was a counselor in every sense of the word to those who knew him.
“Prosecutors know that if Marvin is defense counsel, we will be against a formidable opponent yet an attorney who is fair, realistic, thorough and most of all, a very fine gentleman,” Marchese said as she slipped into the present tense.
Glazier’s influence on his colleagues reached far beyond the office and the courtroom, according to attorney Terence Harrigan, who works at Vafiades, Brountas & Kominsky.
“He had this lovely, fertile mind which was amazing to see in action,” Harrigan said. “He, in a way, was like the gifted storyteller or comic who makes observations about daily life that we see every day, but don’t notice — but Marvin saw those pieces of life and was able to pick them up, observe them from every angle, and articulate what he was seeing to a judge, jury and client. It was just a joy and an education to watch. It wasn’t anything you could teach yourself, but it was certainly something to aspire to.”
Clients had great faith in Glazier, Harrigan said. So much so that they’d call him whether someone was being paid to answer the office phones or not. Occasionally in the late 1990s, Harrigan would get those calls in the late 1990s because he happened to be in the office getting ready to head to a courthouse down east or to the south.
“Each time, the phone would ring at that ungodly hour and I’d answer it with some confusion, because it’s 4 a.m. on a weekday,” he said. “I’d always say, ‘Good morning, Vafiades, Brountas and Kominsky’ — inevitably the person on the other end would respond, ‘Is Marvin there?’ His clients had such faith in him, such devotion to him, such a belief that he would make everything all right, that they felt they could get in touch with him any time of the day or night.”
Harrigan and his colleague, Lisa Lunn, said they learned as much about what’s really important in life from Glazier as they did about the law.
“He taught me that many people have difficult lives, but everyone has a story to tell and to listen to the story,” she said. “As a result, he taught me compassion. He taught me to work hard but to understand the most important thing is family.
“I have a post-it note on my desk that he wrote to me 10 days after my daughter [now in college] was born, but I was in the office anyway,” Lunn said. “It simply says, ‘Lisa – This is bonding time not work time.’ He taught me to never lose sight of what was really important. I will miss my dear and trusted friend and mentor immeasurably.”
Glazier was born in New York City but grew up in Bangor. He graduated from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, the University of Maine at Orono, and Boston University School of Law.
He is survived by his mother, Frances Glazier, his wife of nearly 50 years, Sheri Glazier, three children and five grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at noon Monday at Beth Israel Synagogue, 144, York Street in Bangor. The family has asked that people make gifts in his memory to the American Folk Festival, P.O. Box 1206, Bangor, Maine, 04402.
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