Richard Martin Weinstein, age 78 of Hoboken, New Jersey, passed away on February 2, 2022.
He was born in 1943, a crucial year during which the tide of World War II turned in the Allies’ favor. Born in NYC’s Beth Israel Hospital where his mother’s uncle, obstetrician Dr. Max Mausner, delivered him, Richard grew up in the Bronx where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School.
He majored in political science at The City College of New York. There his lifelong interests in history and civil rights took root. Throughout his life, Richard was guided by the sobering words of a favorite professor (Dr. Chill) who said, “The history of the United States is a history of the denial of civil liberties.” After graduating from New York Law School, Richard worked at the Legal Aid Society in New York. There he developed skills as a criminal defense attorney. His unfailing commitment to justice earned him the family nickname Pitbull Weinstein. He later proudly worked for 8 ½ years in the water enforcement division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, in Manhattan. During that time he met his wife, Barbara. Richard opened his own law practice in the early 1980s. He had a general practice, including some environmental work, which he also actively pursued pro bono. More recently he focused on preparing appeals for criminal defendants. His commitment to the rights of incarcerated people was fierce and unwavering.
As a baseball player in the Pony League and Little League, Richard had a wicked pitching arm and once pitched a no-hitter while his Uncle Sam proudly watched. He also patiently taught his younger brother, Bob, the difficult skill of bunting a baseball. Richard played golf and tennis, and loved bowling. He tackled The New York Times crossword puzzles regularly, and loved to fly recreational drones, particularly with his nephews and great nephews. After Barbara bought him a wok in the 1980s, he never stopped trying to perfect his favorite Chinese dish, shrimp with lobster sauce.
Richard’s intellectual curiosity was boundless. He often asked incisive questions about a lecture on or a conversation about a topic he knew little about. He read deeply and widely on an enormous variety of subjects, from Reconstruction in the U.S. to the history of Spain, the Reformation in Europe, the political and economic history of India and of the early Christian church. He spoke Spanish, some French, and taught himself Russian. He also loved classical music and jazz.
Richard was a true humanist. As tough as he was in the courtroom or with businesses polluting our water supplies — and with every other adversary– his deep respect for life led him to refuse to kill any insect that showed up in his home. Instead, he would take the time to shoo them outdoors. He liked to fish, but always returned his catch back into the water.
Some of Richard’s favorite places in New Jersey were the Meadowlands at Richard DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst and Liberty State Park. Among his favorite travels were visits to ancient Native American sites in Arizona and New Mexico, and bike riding on rail beds throughout the Northeast and Pennsylvania that have been converted to rails-to-trails.
Richard had a special affection for his pets, particularly his wirehaired fox terrier Jack, his cockatiel and parakeet Tuffy and Buddy, and his sun conure Kiwi, who loved to suck on Richard’s earlobes.
We will miss Richard’s warmth, his laughter, his love of conversation, food, and any party at all, his vigorous defense of whatever he thought was right regardless of the odds or obstacles, and his infectious joie de vivre.
Richard is survived by his wife, Barbara Gombach Weinstein, his brothers David and Robert, and numerous nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces and a large extended family.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Richard’s name may be made to WBGO Radio or WNET Thirteen.
5 thoughts on “Richard Martin Weinstein – February 2, 2022”
Richard Weinstein was a tireless crusader for human rights.He was a true champion for environmental justice. It was an honor to know him.
And he did have a wicked sense of humor and a great love of jazz.
Richard was one of the kindest people I ever knew. I never heard him say a harsh word to anyone. I was five years old when he was born and by age 2 he climbed out of his crib and join me in the single bed I slept in in the same room. The bed was a spring and mattress, not a boxspring and a cave and in the center sure he and I were bumped up against each other. Eventually our parents bought shepherd boxspring and mattress beds for us move to a larger room which we share until I left home at age 21. We had a lifelong friendship and shared numerous activities together including skiing in Vermont. One of our favorite activities was meeting in Chinatown for a meal and then walking up to Grange Village to a chess venue where we played. Our games are always highly competitive. Neither of us ever gave up. He was a truly loving brother and I will miss him very much . Most recently he cooked a Chinese meal for me my wife Lenore R. and Barbara. I was truly blessed to have him in my life . For many years we share law offices together and occasionally work on matters jointly. He was a very good lawyer. I often discussed appeals he was handling for incarcerated men and admire his devotion There cause.
So sad to hear about Richard , it was always a pleasure to talk to you whenever I ran in to you. My Dad and mom always love to sit and talk to you evertime you pass by our house on Bloomfield st. Rest in Peace Richard 🙏🙏
Richard was my uncle. I’m going to miss him so much. In these past few months prior to his passing, I had some amazing and long phone conversations with him and really learned more deeply who he is and how similar we really were. He helped me to feel connected to my family in a very special way and was never afraid to be blunt with his advice. When I was at the State University of New York at New Paltz I had a public speaking project to do on Indian Point, the power plant, and how it was negatively affecting the region. My Uncle Richard spent so much time over the phone with me helping me with my speech and having me practice with index cards because he had a wealth of information, having been an environmental Lawyer at the time.
I will always hold him close to my heart and have a great respect for his thirst for justice and civil rights. He may not be with us physically but his memory and his spirit will always be close. I can picture him now, Jack running towards him, in a beautiful pet- human reunion. For all who loved him and were close to him I am deeply sorry for your loss.
As a fellow attorney, I would meet him on the streets or at public meetings and admired him as a man of ideas and integrity that did not buy into the monied real estate culture that predominates our culture, Men like Richard who lived a life devoted to justice are few and far between. The headlines are full of bad people doing bad things but should be about good people and the good they bring to the world. Hoboken will miss him