Full Obituary: Dick Berkowitz

Earlier today, “06880” reported the death of longtime Westporter and wide-ranging volunteer Dick Berkowitz. His family has provided this obituary, honoring his full life.

Attorney, philanthropist, coach and mentor Richard (Dick) Berkowitz died on New Year’s Eve, after a hard-fought battle against a rare blood disease. He was 80 years old.

He was born on June 28, 1941, to humble beginnings in New Haven Dick’s parents, Elihu and Ruth Berkowitz, were hard working members of the community. He spent his days playing football and basketball, working as a short-order cook at Chuck’s Luncheonette on Whalley Avenue, and selling pennants and banners outside Yale Bowl.

Dick attended Hillhouse High School before heading off to his dream school, Dartmouth College After becoming the first in his family to graduate from college in 1963, he continued his education and graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School 4 years later.

Dick and Carole Chasnoff met as sophomores in high school. Two years later he mustered up the courage to ask her out. After graduating from college, Carole worked as a public health nurse to help pay for his law school.

Dick and Carole Berkowitz

Dick opened his own firm in Westport, where he practiced for 55 years. He represented high profile individuals, leading executives, and members of the media. Dick spent many years as managing partner of Berkowitz, Trager & Trager.

Over the years he was involved in many philanthropic endeavors, including: president of the Kiwanis Club of Westport, and member of the Representative Town Meeting and Planning & Zoning Commission.

He was also president of the Westport Bar Association and board member of the Westport National Bank.

Dick Berkowitz

In 1970 Dick was appointed by First Selectman John Kemish to chair a new commission on youth activities. It is still in existence as the Westport Youth Commission. He also served on the board of Staples Tuition Grants.

In addition, Dick was a mentor at Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida, and a founding and passionate supporter of New Heights Youth, a New York-based non-profit.

Dick was honored as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for over 25 years. He was a past president of Birchwood Country Club in Westport, and a class president and alumni council representative for Dartmouth College. Classrooms are named in his honor at the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth, and Westport’s Temple Israel.

Dick was a longtime assistant basketball coach at Staples High School, and a regular at football, basketball, tennis, field hockey and softball games. He spent long hours instructing various game officials on the fine points of their respective sport. For many years he coached Pop Warner football, Little League baseball and softball, and recreational basketball in Westport.

Coach Berkowitz

While he was incredibly accomplished, his ultimate legacy is that he was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, confidante, and friend to many. He had a light that shined bright, and touched so many throughout his life. He was a mentor to young people. Many clients also became his closest friends. But family was the most important thing in his life, and it is his family who will miss him most of all.

Dick is survived by his wife of 58 years Carole; sister Jane (Eddie Brandwein) of Chicago; children Jody (Joel) Beck of Westport, Emily (Ken) Sandberg of Woodbridge; Suzy (Michael Weksel) of Edgemont, New York and Adam Berkowitz of New York City; grandchildren Sam, Zack, Rachel, John, Jack, Mia, Henry, Carina and Ben; granddogs Buddy, Bella and Eric, and great-granddog Beau. He also leaves cousin/brother Judge Stanley Novack of Stamford, and countless family and friends.

Contributions can be made to 2 charities that were dear to him: New Heights Youth and the newly established Richard Berkowitz Student-Athlete Award through Staples Tuition Grants.

8 responses to “Full Obituary: Dick Berkowitz

  1. It was an honor and a pleasure to be able to call Carole and Richard my friends

  2. Jeanna, Chris, Jeff Craft

    Always in our hearts, Richard. Our love to the Berkowitz family.

  3. I am a Westport native and caught that Dick was involved with Champions of Learning which is an incredible program here in Naples, FL. I didn’t know you Dick…but I thank you!

  4. Dick was a mentor to me when I began my law career… I will forever be grateful for his generosity of spirit, knowledge and humor … he will be sorely missed…. Jim Randel

  5. Dick Berkowitz had so many wonderful personal qualities , and his combination of intelligence , enthusiasm and passion for improving our civic life will be greatly missed. But I also want to share that as our Probate Judge, I came to know that he generously devoted hundreds of hours to assisting a former judge who was in poor health and could not retire his practice without assistance . Dick did this without compensation because he believed that as a member of the bar in our community , it was the right thing to do . That’s how he lived his life . He set an example for us to follow . Rest In Peace . I miss you already . Lisa

  6. I am sad to read about the death of Dick Berkowitz. I remember well his days in Westport Kiwanis and our undefeated soft ball team!! He has been a strong presence in the community both profesionally and in his community service. He will be missed.

  7. Barbara Segaloff

    The joy and happiness Richard brought into our lives will always be with us. Barbara and Jimmy Segaloff

  8. Dick and I came to the Westport Bar as young lawyers at about the same time. It was clear he was a leader. Eventually he became the President of the Westport Bar Association. Under his leadership he started a program to assist people who needed legal representation to have access to Westport lawyers without cost. This was before Pro Bono became the norm. I will miss his friendship and caring ways. Ed Karazin

Leave a Reply