Remembering Our Trustee Barry H. Garfinkel

The inaugural winner of the David A. Garfinkel Essay Scholarship (front, center) is pictured with Barry H. Garfinkel (back, center). Trustee and Chief Reference Attorney Frances Murray, Barry’s wife Gloria, and Executive Director Marilyn Marcus are also pictured.

It is with sadness that the Historical Society of the New York Courts has learned of the passing of one of our most treasured Trustees Barry H. Garfinkel following a bout of pneumonia.

Barry has been a Trustee of the Society almost since its founding. He has been a linchpin on the Board, and guided us to success in many ways. In 2007, he founded a project to bring enrichment to a segment of NYS students often overlooked — those in the State’s community colleges. The David A. Garfinkel Essay Scholarship sponsors an annual essay contest on topics of legal history relevant to many first generation and minority students. It is an opportunity for students to delve into the role of the courts in society and to connect with the courts in person through awards ceremony held each year with a luncheon where students can mingle with judges and lawyers. He has funded this initiative since its inception, and the ceremonies he attended were meaningful to him.

Barry was close to Hon. Judith S. Kaye and she chose to spend her post-court legal career at Skadden. After her death, he worked to have a room at the NYC Bar named for her.

Barry was a straight talker, sometimes gruff, but one of those rare ones who delivered when he spoke. He had a strong moral compass and saw the worth of our mission. He will be dearly missed.

The Historical Society has been named to receive donations in his honor, and the following people have made a contribution in Barry’s memory.

  • Virginia Aaron
  • Anonymous
  • Rand April
  • Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick
  • Jerome L. Coben
  • Jodi & Gary Cullen
  • Lorraine DiPaolo
  • Hon. Eugene Fahey
  • Warren Feldman
  • Hon. Helen Freedman
  • The Hazen Polsky Foundation
  • Alice & Douglass Kraus
  • The Linda and Henry Wasserstein Foundation
  • Michael Mitchell
  • Bettina & Kenneth Plevan
  • Daniel Stoller
  • Barbara & Milton Strom
  • Beth & Earle Yaffa

If you are interested in learning more about Barry’s legal career — from the colleagues who worked with him at his firm for 65 years — please email

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