Saturday, August 21, 2021
The Norman Transcript, Jonathan Forman (May 19, 1952 - August 16, 2021):
Jonathan Forman, 69, died Aug. 16 from complications due to a brain hemorrhage. A tax law professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law for 36 years, Forman helped educate hundreds, if not thousands, of future attorneys. At the time of his death, he was the Kenneth E. McAfee Centennial Chair in Law.
Known for his flashy ties and vintage Hawaiian shirts, Forman always looked for ways to enliven tax law and policy. For years, he and his students ran the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at the Norman Public Library.
Once a long-haired anti-war protester with a fondness for the Grateful Dead, Forman grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, before cutting his teeth on tax law in Washington, D.C. It was in the nation's capital where he met his wife of 38 years. They later made Norman, Oklahoma, their permanent and cherished home. ...
He is survived by his wife, Lani Malysa; sister, Elaine Schwartz, and her husband, Jay Schwartz; two children, Carmen and Neil; his daughter-in-law, Amy, and granddaughter, Margaret.
Due to COVID-19, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at his favorite charity, Food and Shelter of Norman.
30 Tax Profs remember Jon:
- Alice Abreu (Temple): "It pains me to speak of Jon in the past tense. I much respected his depth of knowledge and his judgement. His is the only serious motorcycle I have ever seen up close, and I can still see him standing beside it in the parking garage of the New Orleans hotel where the Law and Society Meeting was being held several years ago. I wish I had taken a picture. He will be much missed."
- Ellen Aprill (Loyola-LA): "A lovely obit. I will say Kaddish for him at virtual Shabbat services tonight."
- Jack Bogdanski (Lewis & Clark): "Forman was a smart cookie, as most tax lawyers are, and he managed in his later years to become a real expert at the in's and out's of pensions, both public and private. ... All kinds of people practice tax law, from cold-hearted economists to warm-hearted helpers. Jon was on the far end of helper. For example, for many years, he and his students volunteered locally to assist the average guys he wrote about, in filling out their tax returns. Everything he did professionally seemed to be, in one way or another, about supporting people – particularly those who get up every day and go to work, but also those who can't."
- Jerry Borison (Denver): "Very sad. Jon and I started in teaching at the same time and were frequently together at ABA events/meetings early on. He was a champion of the disadvantaged and was very much a scholar in the field of Social Security. Plus he was a super nice guy. He will be missed."
- Fred Brown (Baltimore): "Unlike others in this group, I did not know Jon that well, but on the occasions when we met, I found him to be very friendly, very kind, and very generous in sharing his enormous wisdom in taxation. It is very sad to hear of his passing, and it is way too soon."
- Karen Brown (George Washington): "Like everyone, I was shocked to learn of Jon's passing. I have known him since before we both joined the academy. I arrived to join him a couple of years after he began as a Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice, Tax Division, Civil Trial Region - Northern. He was a great friend at DOJ and in the academy, always helpful, always supportive. When I learned of the news today, I immediately emailed our bosses at DOJ, D. Patrick Mullarkey and Jerome D. Fridkin, both mensches and wonderful, delightful people, like Jon. Patrick Mullarkey said he still thought of Jon as the young attorney just starting out at Justice. They both hold him in very high regard, as I do. Jon was truly a great teacher, scholar, and colleague, but also an amazing friend, husband, father, and grandfather. He will be missed. Let his memory be a blessing to us all."
- Patricia Cain (Iowa): "This is awful news. I adored Jon. He was my 'go to' person on social security law. He will be sorely missed."
- Bryan Camp (Texas Tech): "I will miss our conversations. Jon had a wide-ranging and penetrating intellect, wrapped in a wonderfully low-key demeanor and a well-balanced sense of humor. It was always a pleasure to visit with him on any topic."
- Paul Caron (Pepperdine): "I did not know Jon well, but like others on this list I was always impressed with Jon's scholarship and his genuine compassion for others."
- Cliff Fleming (BYU): "I've known Jon and followed his work for at least 40 years. He was always thoughtful, thought-provoking and civil, never strident, even when dealing with provocative issues. I will miss his gentleness."
- Deborah Geier (Cleveland-Marshall): "This was shocking news to me. I did not know Jon when both he and I grew up in the greater Cleveland area, but I got to know him at ABA Tax Section meetings. When he would periodically return to Cleveland for a visit, we would get together for lunch and to visit the sights. He was, indeed, a gentle man and a person who went the extra mile to help junior tax colleagues. He uses my textbook, and we conversed over email just a couple of months ago about it. I am just gobsmacked and very sad today."
- Myron Grauer (Capital): "Jon and I got to know each other over thirty-five years ago and we became close professional friends. I clearly remember when I had my tenure kerfuffle at Cincinnati (which ironically led to Paul Caron getting his first job in legal education). Jon went out to dinner with me at either an AALS or ABA Meeting and could barely control his outrage at what I was going through, telling me I should file suit. I told him I really appreciated his support but I thought things would work out fine for me if I didn’t go the lawsuit route, and they did work out for me, as I had a long career in legal education after that. Nonetheless, I always appreciated Jon’s support during a very difficult time. I had not in touch with Jon much in recent years, and I now feel truly sorry that I had not been."
- Phil Hackney (Pittsburgh): "Visited with him last at an ABA Tax Section meeting event in Florida in early 2020 a bit before the shutdown. We talked about tax but also life and joy. It was fabulous to get to visit with him. I cannot believe he is gone. He will be greatly missed."
- Mary Heen (Richmond): "He was also a generous tax colleague and good company, who encouraged and welcomed newbies at tax meetings, and commented on their work."
- Kristin Hickman (Minnesota): "Tax professors have lost one of our own. I never had the opportunity to work with Jon closely, but I always enjoyed seeing and engaging with him at conferences. He was a dedicated scholar, a good colleague, and a valued member of our community. He will be missed."
- Calvin Johnson (Texas): "Alas, Alas. Death is way too final."
- Richard Kaplan (Illinois): "I knew Jon primarily through the National Academy of Social Insurance, where we were among the very few law professors who attended the annual research conferences, and the National Summit or Retirement Savings when we were both appointed delegates. He was always kind, gracious, and genuinely interested in others’ views and projects. His most distinctive characteristic in my experience was his willingness to gather like-minded folks at larger meetings to get together separately and become friends. A rare bird in the legal academy with few peers. His loss is one I will ponder for some time.
- Tracy Kaye (Seton Hall): "I hope some of you remember Jon’s generosity when he shared the rooftop of his DC apartment (while he was Professor-in-residence at the Chief Counsel’s office) for a Tax Professor dinner during an ABA Tax Section meeting. Hope that someone can locate the picture we took. One of our best dinners ever. He will be greatly missed."
- Michael Knoll (Penn): "Ten years ago, I had the pleasure of sharing an office with Jon for several weeks when we were both fellows at the University of New South Wales. Jon was lively and engaged. He was fun to pal around Sydney with before our families arrived and to discuss anything and everything. He also was a terrific scholar of public and private pensions and social security—incredibly important areas that deserve more attention. He will be missed personally and professionally."
- Marjorie Kornhauser (Tulane): "I want to add my voice to the great chorus of well-deserved praise for Jon. He was a gentleman and a scholar and an all-around great guy."
- Bert Lazerow: "Jon taught the basic income tax course for several summers at the University of San Diego. He became a jovial and helpful member of both our intellectual and fun-loving summer communities. We were glad to have had him with us."
- Roberta Mann (Oregon): "Jon was a dear friend and an esteemed co-author. He was always ready for an adventure — and I joined him on many, but not on the motorcycle trips! I am so glad to have so many happy memories with Jon. Like Walter, I had some advance notice — although Jon had a serious health emergency, it looked like he was going to pull through until that last moment. It is a devastating loss, both personally, professionally, and for our tax prof community. I will be helping write his obituary for the ABA Tax Times, so if you have stories you’d like to share, please send them to me off line."
- Jim Maule (Villanova): "Wow, just so sad, and shocking. We exchanged emails some years ago on several topics. He was most helpful."
- Joel Newman (Wake Forest): "Jon was a good man and a stellar tax professor. His was a life well-lived. I will miss him."
- Henry Ordower (St. Louis): "Jon’s importance to this academic tax community is unquestionable. It is a tribute to Jon who was there for us all and this community that we are so close. We have become even closer during the pandemic, it seems. We all know and respect one another so that the loss of a member of the community pains us all. I will miss Jon as will we all. Our loss pales of course in comparison with the loss to Jon’s children and spouse, not to speak of his students. Way too soon, Jon!"
- Theodore Seto (Loyola-LA): "I too will mourn Jon’s death. From my perspective, he was still young, with lots of living left to do. A real loss to both his family and friends and the national tax academic community."
- Walter Schwidetzky (Baltimore): " Jon’s death came way, way to soon and is a major loss to our community. He was both a fine scholar and a fine person and left large shoes to fill. I think it would be great if many of us would make a contribution to his designated charity in his name. He will very much be missed."
- Daniel Shaviro (NYU): "I'm very sad to hear of the death of Jonathan Forman, a great tax scholar and warm human being who wrote about Social Security and pensions. I always enjoyed both reading his work, and seeing him at colloquia & conferences."
- Dan Simmons (UC-Davis): "Jon would have appreciated all of the tributes. Fortunately in life Jon was accorded the respect and admiration of all of us in the tax profession. I knew Jon through the ABA Tax Section for longer than I can remember including a memorable airboat venture in a Florida swamp following a meeting when we both had an afternoon free to explore before our flights home. As many have said, Jon was a gentlemen, a scholar, and always a pleasure to be around. The news of his death is shocking. He will be missed."
- Richard Winchester (Seton Hall): "I remember Jon to be a generous and lively person with boundless energy. It took me aback to learn that he is no longer with us."