Jack C. Benjamin, a gentleman, scholar, community leader and renowned attorney, died peacefully in his sleep on June 11, 2018 at age 90. A native New Orleanian, he attended Tulane University and Tulane University Law School on academic scholarships and remained active with his alma mater throughout his life. He served on numerous alumni and advisory boards, including the Advisory Board of the Maritime Law Center, the Dean’s Advisory Board and as a leader of the Tulane Law School Inn of Court. Throughout his life, Mr. Benjamin was mindful of his upbringing and extended his energies and efforts to better his community and those less fortunate members who are most vulnerable. He was President of the Visiting Nurses Association and served on the Board for nearly 40 years. He was instrumental in the formation of Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Orleans (CASA) and served on its Board for many years. He also was influential with the growth of Covenant House, where he was serving as a Board Member Emeritus at the time of his death. Mr. Benjamin received the Endowment Achievement Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation and was a recipient of the Weiss Award from the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice (NOCCJ). During his two terms as President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a city-wide crime forum was held and televised during ”prime time” by every major television station. He also was the first Jewish Chairperson of the Archbishop’s Community Appeal and received the Benemerenti Medal awarded by Pope John Paul II.
Mr. Benjamin practiced law loyally, with dignity and with exemplary professionalism. After serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, he joined the firm now known as Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, LLC which is the only firm with which he has been affiliated for the past sixty years. He loved the law and enjoyed the comradery of the profession, with many of his closest friends being his professional adversaries. He exuded professionalism and counseled countless current lawyers and judges during his lifetime. He was often sought for opinion based on his well respected ethics barometer. Mr. Benjamin was involved in numerous landmark decisions and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite many victorious outcomes, Mr. Benjamin refused to demonstrate signs of triumph, or advertise who was opposing counsel. For his professional achievements, the legal profession bestowed upon Mr. Benjamin some of its highest honors. He was awarded the Distinguished Attorney Award by the Louisiana Bar Foundation, and the New Orleans’ Bar Association’s Presidents’ Award, in addition to being the recipient of the Distinguished Maritime Lawyer Award by the New Orleans Bar Association.
He was President of the New Orleans Bar Association and served on many committees for the Louisiana State Bar Association. He was a former President of Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence and the Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education, which he helped establish. He was a lifetime Fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Inn of Court. He also was a distinguished member of the Maritime Law Association and the Supreme Court Historical Society.
He served his country and was a former Staff Sargent in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corp and a First Lieutenant, JAG with the U.S. Army Reserve – 37th Transportation Terminal Command. He enjoyed the Saints, playing tennis, watching sports and traveling. He also enjoyed sitting outside, in the silence, in the direct sunlight, and despite countless loud protestations from many over the years, without sunscreen.
Notwithstanding the many distinguished professional achievements and civic activities, Mr. Benjamin always had time for his first priority – his family. He was predeceased by his first wife of 44 years, Emily Stein Benjamin, who accompanied him through most of his professional accomplishments and they are survived by their two children, Jan C. Benjamin and Jack C. Benjamin, Jr. (Jennifer). He is also survived by his wife, Clare Wolfson Benjamin and by his two grandchildren, Emma Stotter Benjamin and Jack C. Benjamin, III, as well as by his stepsons, Rob Wolfson (Lisa) and Michael Wolfson and his nieces Ann Liberman (Mitch) and Kathy London. The family is especially grateful for the many years of assistance of Mary Elmore, as well as others who provided help in recent years. A memorial service will be held at Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118 on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 12:30 p.m., with visitation beginning at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be private. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Jack C Benjamin are encouraged to contribute to the Jack C. Benjamin Scholarship Fund at Tulane Law School, 6329 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70118; the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana 615 Baronne Street, Suite 150, New Orleans, LA 70113; the Metropolitan Crime Commission, 1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1060, New Orleans, LA 70112; Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp, 1600 N. Causeway Blvd. Information 504-835-2341. Condolences may be expressed online at www.tharpsontheimerfh.com.