Sol Gothard passed away, at home, on July 5, 2020. He was 89 years old. The Judge, as he was known to all, was born and grew up in the Bronx, New York. He was the son of immigrant parents, Samuel and Lillian, and the youngest of four brothers, Jack, Jerry and Abe. After graduating from the City College of New York, Sol served in the United States Army, from which he was Honorably Discharged. He earned a Masters degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he met the love of his life, fellow graduate student Jacqueline Pressner Gothard. Sol and Jackie married and settled down in her home town, New Orleans.
While employed as a social worker, Sol earned his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. He was elected Juvenile Court Judge in Jefferson Parish in 1972, and was elected to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in 1986 where he served until his retirement in 2005. Judge Sol, under-privileged as a child, became a fierce advocate for the powerless in our society, particularly abused children and animals. He dedicated his professional life to the pursuit of justice for children, as a social worker, attorney, Juvenile Court Judge, and Court of Appeal Judge.
His intellectual interests included the influence of Old Testament law on American law and values. A prolific writer and speaker, the Judge lectured at conferences around the world on a variety of topics, most notably child welfare and the ethical treatment of animals. His articles were published
in the Journal of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The Practicing Law Institute, The American Medical Association, the Louisiana Bar Journal, and many other books and publications. As an adjunct professor, he taught graduate and undergraduate students at Tulane and
Loyola Universities. Following retirement after 33 years on the bench, the Judge, a proud Army veteran, served as Commander of the greater New Orleans Chapter of the Jewish War Veterans, the oldest active national veterans service organization in America.
His numerous honors include “Citizen of the Year” by the Louisiana State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, “Alumnus of the Year” by the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, and the Alfred E. Clay award for significant contributions to children by the Children’s Bureau of Greater New Orleans. He delivered commencement addresses at the Tulane University Graduate School of Social Work and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. The National Organization of Forensic Social Work established the “Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2011, which is the “highest award bestowed upon an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the
forensic social work profession, public welfare, and humankind.”
In 2013, he was selected as a “People’s Health Champion” for revitalizing the local Jewish War Veterans post. Judge Sol was a board member of numerous organizations, including The American Humane Association Children’s Division, the Louisiana SPCA, the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission, and the Jewish Welfare Federation of Greater New Orleans.
The Judge loved telling jokes. He had an encyclopedic recall for the appropriate, or inappropriate, joke for every situation and occasion. He delivered thousands of punch lines in his impeccable Yiddish accent: “There once came walking down the road these two . . .” More than work or humor, Judge Sol was devoted to Jackie, his beloved bride of 62 years.
Their legacy of love are five children – Yaacov and partner LouAnn, Eddie and wife Blayne, Andy and wife Julie, Shayna and husband Eric, Sander and wife Julie. Judge Sol was “Honey” to his eleven grandchildren – Aimee, Taylor, Ben, Daniel, Tara, Sidnie, Gabriel, Mikayla, Maya, Lindsay, and Jeremy; and great grandchildren August and Magnolia. Sol and Jackie were soul mates, and they loved life – travel, laughing, their many dogs, hiking, Israel, gardening, family celebrations, music, holding hands, mountains, whitewater rafting, neighbors, seders, reading, nature, television miniseries, giving charity, live theater, dancing, dessert, wildlife, the Saints and the Pelicans. They abhorred racism, violence, intolerance, cruelty and injustice.
Dad/Honey, We love you eternally. We miss you terribly. We will be forever enriched by your life, your love, your inspiration, your light.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Jackie & Sol Gothard Memorial Fund at Congregation Beth Israel (www.bethisraelnola.com) or the charity of your choice.
Preceding was provided by the Gothard Family. Free obituaries in memory of members of the San Diego County Jewish community are sponsored on San Diego Jewish World by Inland Industries Group LP in memory of long-time San Diego Jewish community leader Marie (Mrs. Gabriel) Berg.
Republished from San Diego Jewish World