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In Memoriam

Raymond Joseph Coatoam '16

Raymond Joseph Coatoam

Raymond Joseph (“Ray” or “Griz”) Coatoam departed this world in the early morning hours of April 23rd, 2024. Ray unapologetically lived his life on his own terms. He was a man of creative wit, prodigious intellect, and voracious appetite who also possessed an ardent disregard for societal norms and the expectations of others.

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The honorable Jeff Payton '75

Jeff Payton

The Honorable Jeff Payton '75 passed away on October 13, 2023, surround by family and friends, following a brave fight against cancer. He leaves behind a legacy of love and service, having an evident heart for reform and committment to both justice and rehabilitation during his time as a municipal court judge.

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Emily Sweeney '81

Emily Sweeney

EMILY MARGARET MIRSKY SWEENEY, 75, passed away in the home she loved on Monday, July 31, 2023. 

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Emily was the only child of Neydra and Mark Elliott Mirsky. She was a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, Case Western University, and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. 

After a brief career teaching in Cleveland’s public school system, Emily went on to work in publishing at Cleveland State University.  While working full-time, she pursued her law degree as a night student. It was during this time that she met her future husband, Patrick A. Sweeney, to whom she was married for 36 years, sharing countless dinners, travels, arguments and amusements. 

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Elizabeth Anderson '11

Elizabeth Anderson passed away  Friday, May 19, 2023.

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Michele Hyndman '05

Michele Hyndman

Michele Hyndman ‘05 passed away May 22, 2023. After graduating from CSU|LAW, Michele worked as a tax lawyer at an accounting firm in Washington D.C. and at a law firm in the Virgin Islands before founding her own law firm that offered a unique holistic service approach for business owners. Michele was the sister-in-law of former CSU|LAW Professor and University of Colorado School of Law Dean Lolita Buckner Innis.


David J. Lombardo '56

David J. Lombardo passed away May 21, 2023. He served in the U.S. Airforce as a radio operator during the Korean War before attending CSU|LAW. He served as the City of Euclid's Prosecutor for 27 years. 

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Patricia Hemann '80

Patricia Alice Hemann passed away on May 12, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona.  She was a partner at Hahn, Loeser and Parks in Cleveland, Ohio, before being the first female Federal Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, where she served until her retirement in 2008.  

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Dale Powers '60

Well-respected attorney, world traveler, biker, music lover and avid reader, Dale Powers has passed away. He was known for interests and involvement in numerous causes and organizations.

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Mamie Mitchell '95

'A dedicated public servant': Former Cleveland City Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell dies. Mitchell represented Ward 6 for nine years before retiring in 2017. 

WKYC story

David Kahan '64

David Kahan passed away in January 2023. He served in the United States Army and practiced law for over 40 years. 

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Julian Kahan '59

Julian Kahan passed away in January 2023. He sold life insurance before going to law school, after which he established a thriving law practice.

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Rev. Bob Begin '78

Reverand Bob Begin passed away in July 2022. The longtime pastor of St. Colman Church on Cleveland’s West Side, Begin devoted his life to not only churchgoers, but immigrants and homeless people in the city. He earned the title “Rebel Priest” early in his career and was never afraid to stand up to authority to help the marginalized.

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Charles T. Cassaro '69

Charles T. Cassaro passed away in August 2022. He ran a private law practice with his wife for 40 years and was a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. 

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William Goldstein '69

William "Bill" Goldstein passed away in July 2022. He practiced law for nearly 50 years, demonstrating his success through the many lasting relationships he made along the way with clients, fellow attorneys, judges and courtroom staff.

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Kevin O. Lowery Jr '13

Kevin Lowery passed away in July 2022. He earned an undergraduate degree in urban studies from Cleveland State University before attending CSU|LAW, where he served as president of the Black Law Students Association from 2010-2011. After graduating from law school, he earned a Certificate in Neighborhood Leadership Development from the Mandel Foundation. Deeply committed to community and justice, Kevin founded and served as executive director of a nonprofit, The Urban Exposure Co., that provides positive education and seeks to raise the aspiration levels of at-risk youth and ex-offenders. Most recently, he served as director of compliance for Harvest of Ohio.

Michael Patrick Butler ‘83

Michael Patrick Butler ’83 passed away January 27, 202. He practiced law for 38 years, which included 15 years as an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor. Mike also served in the National Guard for six years.

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Robert Wantz '61

Robert R. Wantz passed away December 15, 2021. He served in the Air Force before attending Hiram College where he was also a standout football player. He began his law practice in 1963 and was a member of the Geauga County Bar Association.

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Jeanette "Jay" Stokes

Jeanette ‘Jay’ Stokes passed away peacefully in Cleveland on Oct. 30, 2021. Jay was the wife of former Congressman and CSU|LAW Hall of Fame member Louis Stokes ’53. She was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses organization which worked to enhance the conditions of minorities throughout the nation and was a member of the Congressional Club, which sponsored the First Ladies Luncheon in honor of the wife of the sitting President of the United States. She actively campaigned with her husband for each of his 15 terms in Congress and, while attending state dinners and political engagements, formed powerful relationships of her own with world leaders. Jay graduated from John Hay High School in Cleveland and attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. After her children were grown, she became a multimillion-dollar realtor with Long & Foster in Maryland. Jay was the recipient of numerous awards. In 1979, she was selected by Hurray for Black Women as the Wife and Mother of the Year. In 1986 she was recognized for her role as a member of the Board of Directors for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. In 1994 she was recognized by The Phillis Wheatley Association for her Years of Outstanding Community Service. In 1998 she was honored by General Mills Inc. for outstanding leadership in health education, and in 2015, she was honored by Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood Village as an Amazing Woman of Courage. 

CSU|LAW Dean Lee Fisher was honored to serve as an Honorary Pallbearer at her funeral service on November 5, 2021.

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Judge Richard Markus, Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals (Retired) 

Judge Richard Markus passed away suddenly on November 24, 2021. He was a former adjunct professor at CSU College of Law and was inducted into the Law School’s Hall of Fame in 2021. Judge Markus served as an appellate attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a litigation partner at three Cleveland law firms prior to his distinguished career as a judge. He served as a Judge in both the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas and Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals and a visiting judge for the Ohio Supreme Court, six Ohio appellate courts, and forty common pleas courts in Ohio. He authored over 1,000 appellate court opinions. Judge Markus also worked in academia; in addition to his twenty-plus years of service to CSU|LAW, he was a visiting or adjunct professor at Harvard, Case Western Reserve, and Akron law schools, an instructor and Director of Forensics at M.I.T., and faculty for the National Judicial College and Institute for Judicial Administration at New York University. He is the Co-Founder and Trustee of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Judge Markus was a leader in professional associations including National President of the American Trial Lawyer Association, President of the Ohio State Bar Association and Trustee of the Cleveland Bar Association and Cuyahoga County Bar Associations. He is the author of Ohio Trial Practice (including updates for 45 years) and more than fifty published articles in law reviews and professional journals. He created the Judge Richard M. Markus Adjunct Faculty Award to award outstanding CSU College of Law adjunct professors’ work.

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Stanley Stein '62

Stanley Stein peacefully passed away on November 20, 2021. He was an avid supporter of CSU|LAW students and alumni. In 2018, he received the first-ever Dean's Award for Excellence from the CSU|LAW Alumni Association (CSULAA) in recognition for his outstanding service and longtime dedication to the CSULAA, his exemplary leadership as a Founding Member and Lifetime Trustee of the West Shore Bar Association, as a Trustee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and for his public service as Councilman for the City of South Euclid and Magistrate at the Garfield Heights Municipal Court.

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Robert L. Gensler, Jr. '01

Robert L. Gensler, Jr., 57, of Newton Falls, Ohio passed away suddenly following a cardiac condition on Friday, October 22, 2021 at his home. 

He began working at the age of twelve delivering the Tribune Chronicle, continuing for six years. Robert had also worked for Burger Chef and at the Convenient Store for Kenny Ferrance. Graduating with the Newton Falls class of 1982, he continued his education at Youngstown State University. He would transfer to Kent State University, obtaining a degree in finance.

Robert found employment at Chicago Title in Trumbull County while continuing his education at the Cleveland State University College of Law where he obtained his J.D.

He worked with the firm of Turner, May and Shepherd in downtown Warren. Robert was also involved with the Newton Falls Commerce Association. He was a lifetime resident of Newton Falls.

Read full obituary Here.

Ronald J. Russo '96

Ronald J. Russo, 59, of Willoughby, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Select Specialty Hospital in Cleveland. He had been a resident of Lake County for 45 years, living in Wickliffe before moving to Willoughby. Ron was a self-employed attorney and renewable energy developer. He had served as a CYO Youth Coach in both football and track and field at Immaculate Conception Church in Willoughby. Ron also enjoyed watching the Cleveland Indians and the Browns, reading, making homemade Italian sausage and spaghetti, and was a lifelong scholar of the Bible.

Ron loved learning. He was a graduate of Cleveland State University and received two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and an Urban Planning Degree from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Mr. Russo also had a law degree from the Cleveland State University College of Law, a degree in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing from Tri-C, and an Electrical Engineering Degree from Bismark State.

Read full obituary here.

Perry Mastrocola '00

Perry was a proud partner of the Flannery Georgalis Law Firm.

Born in Canton, Ohio, Perry was a huge Ohio football fan supporting his beloved Massillon Tigers, Baldwin-Wallace Yellow Jackets, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the storied Cleveland Browns. In addition to sports, Perry valued education. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Baldwin-Wallace University, going on to earn his JD from CSU College of Law.

Read full obituary.

Judge Nancy McDonnell '85

Judge Nancy McDonnell passed away on September 28, but her legacy as a ‘trailblazer’ who served as the first female Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge lives on in the legal community.

The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas announced her death “with deep, deep sadness” shortly after her passing on Tuesday afternoon “with her husband, John Kosko, by her side.”

“Judge McDonnell was a trailblazer, serving as our Court’s first female Administrative and Presiding Judge from 2006-2009. Her nearly 25 years on the Bench were distinguished, and she brought compassion and caring to her role as a Judge,” the court said. The McDonnell Center Community Based Correctional Facility was dedicated in her name

Full story here

Lyle A. Pastoret '79

Lyle A. Pastoret, age 68, died suddenly Sept. 17, 2021. Lyle is the beloved son of the late Philip and Elizabeth; dear brother of Mary Catherine Pastoret and Anne Ryan (Dave). Lyle was a 1971 graduate of St. Joseph High School, a 1976 graduate of Cleveland State University, and a 1979 graduate of Cleveland State University College of Law. Contributions to the Animal Protective League, 1729 Willey Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44113.

Sheldon S. Schweikert '64

Sheldon S. Schweikert, who served as Hudson Village Manager from 1966 to 1994, died on Aug. 6 at the age of 89. Shel not only served as Village Manager, but helped lead many organizations such as Hudson Rotary, Hudson Heritage Association, and the Hudson Library and Historical Society. He was also an active member of Christ Church Episcopal. After 47 years of living in their historic home, Shel and Nancy moved to Laurel Lake Retirement Community. Shel is remembered most for his easy going personality, civility, and love of Hudson. Article in Akron-Beacon Journal.

Andrew W. Rauzan '11

Drew was a 2011 graduate of CSU College of Law part-time evening program. Drew obtained two Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Political Science from YSU and played football, including on the 1994 chaimpionship team. He then earned a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and ultimately wrapped up his academic accomplishments in 2011 with his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland State University College of Law. Drew also taught Criminal Justice classes at YSU, Kent State and Penn State, while his academic career expanded. Drew was sworn in as a full-time Campbell police officer, while attending college and coaching. During his time with the Campbell Police Department, he held the rank of patrolman, sergeant (2004), and in 2013 had the privilege to serve as the chief of police in the community he loved. In 2016, he began his successful law practice in Struthers. Full Obituary.

Joseph B. Jerome '75

Joe was a 1975 cum laude graduate of CSU College of Law. He was passionate about our law school and served on the Executive Committees of the CSU Law Alumni Association (CSULAA) and the West Shore Bar Association. Joe was a frequent presenter at the CSULAA continuing legal education courses on real estate, environmental and construction matters. He was named a Cleveland Super Lawyer for 2019 and 2020. Full Obituary.

Lester T. Tolt '63

Lester Thomas Tolt, a proud CSU College of Law graduate of the class of 1963, passed away on December 8, 2020. He obtained his JD after working for a number of years as a CPA. He was a member of Delta Theta Phi and Beta Alpha Psi fraternities, as well as the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Full Obituary