For the late Mel Nusbaum, a prominent Toledo family attorney, knowing people’s names was no trivial detail.
“He always remembered people. He would say to me ‘remembering someone’s name is very important,’” said his wife Jackie Nusbaum of Sylvania. “He left this world leaving a wonderful name.”
People will remember Mr. Nusbaum’s name for generations to come. With a $500,000 donation given by family, friends, and community members, Sylvania Schools will name the future Southview High School stadium after Mr. Nusbaum, who died last May at the age of 79.
The stadium has a fall completion date. The estimated cost of $1.45 million will be covered by private donations and proceeds of a school property sale.
Mrs. Nusbaum sat in her kitchen, dotted with photos of a smiling Mr. Nusbaum with friends and family, reading numerous handwritten notes she received after his death. More than 800 people attended his funeral at the Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim on Sylvania Avenue, said their daughter Lynn, 54, of Sylvania Township, who is executive director of the temple.
Rabbi Edward Garsek, who moved from Toledo to Chicago recently, said, “Melvin, as great an attorney as he was, was even greater as a friend. He was the epitome of what being a mensch was and it came natural.” Mensch is Yiddish for a “good human being,” Mrs. Nusbaum said.
Mr. Nusbaum, a former president of the Toledo Bar Association and member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, often advised clients to work out their issues before going through divorce proceedings.
His belief in the power of sports and affinity for athletics endured.
Childhood friend Gordon Levine, 80, remembers the days of playing together.
“We were always together playing. We enjoyed the outdoors. And as early as I can remember we would throw balls,” he said.
Mr. Nusbaum was a “force to be reckoned with” on the basketball court.
He played basketball at DeVilbiss High School and during his years in the army, Mr. Levine said.
“He was gregarious, and really enjoyed people and a competition all his life,” he added.
Fred Okun, 80, whose family owns Sam Okun Produce in Toledo, spoke of Mr. Nusbaum fondly.
“Melvin was an athlete and a leader. I wasn’t,” he said. “I was the 12th man on a five-man team. We would be playing basketball and I remember him saying ‘Give it to Ok. Give it to Ok.’ just to keep me in the game.”
Mr. Nusbaum was a sports spectator until his death, and his daughter Lynn said the family’s lives revolved around sports.
“We went to every high school football and basketball game. That was our entertainment. He believed ‘it kept kids busy and out of trouble,’ ” she said.
Mr. Nusbaum instilled values taught by sports into his children, Jim, Mike, and Lynn.
“You had to know how to lose as well as win. The discipline of showing up for practice, not always getting your way but participating,” Mrs. Nusbaum said.
Mr. Nusbaum also coached youth basketball at the Jewish Community Center.