Burdman '56, longtime donor and volunteer, dies

November 6, 2009Duke Law News

B. Richard Burdman, 76, died Oct. 30, 2009, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Better known as "Dick" or "Dicky" by his friends and family, Mr. Burdman was born in Youngstown, Ohio, to Harry and Doris Burdman, and he grew up in a home steeped in international culture and civic participation. He received an undergraduate degree from Youngstown State before attending Duke Law School. At age 22, he was the youngest person to pass the Ohio bar in 1956. Despite offers from big city law firms, he chose to return to Youngstown to start his career. There, he met and married Babette Feldman in 1960.

After practicing for a few years with the Youngstown firm of Rigelhaupt and Rigelhaupt, and then with attorney Martin Goldberg, Mr. Burdman joined several attorneys in establishing a new firm, which most recently went by the name of Burdman, Kretzer, Ellington, Stein, and Marando. In 1987, the firm merged with Nadler and Nadler to form Nadler, Nadler, and Burdman, and continues to operate by the same name in downtown Youngstown today.

Mr. Burdman’s practice was primarily devoted to real estate, small business, and taxation law. He also maintained a significant pro bono practice, helping friends, family, and others in need manage legal aspects of their personal and business affairs.

Mr. Burdman also partnered with his brothers, Kenneth and Ronald, in a real estate development business. Burdman Brothers built and managed post offices, office buildings, shopping centers, and industrial properties across the Northeast. Even after retiring, Mr. Burdman remained involved part-time in both his legal practice and the family development business for a number of years.

Continuing his family tradition of civic service and expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to practice law, he served for years on Duke Law School’s Board of Visitors, and was an honorary lifetime member. Both a faculty lounge and an endowment for public service fellowships were established at Duke as a result of his generosity. He and his wife also were supporters of numerous civic organizations and Jewish community agencies in the Youngstown area. Mr. Burdman was a member of the Mahoning County, Ohio, and American Bar Associations, and an honorary member of the Ohio State Bar Foundation. He also belonged to the legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi, El Emeth Synagogue, the Simon Weisenthal Center International Leadership Council, St. Albans Lodge of the Masonic Order, and numerous other organizations.

Along with Babette, Mr. Burdman enjoyed traveling, cultural pursuits, and a wide circle of friends across the country. Six years ago, they moved to Arizona, where they had maintained a vacation home.

Family was always an important focus of his life, and the Burdmans had an ever-growing extended one. Mr. Burdman was also a father figure to younger generations outside his immediate family, especially after the death of his brothers and others close to the family.

Mr. Burdman is survived by his wife of 49 years, Babette, his children, Linda Fine, Pamela Burdman; a sister, Ina Rae Levy; and two grandchildren.
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