M. Lashner, Bankruptcy Lawyer

Posted: May 02, 1995

Melvin Lashner, a bankruptcy lawyer in Center City for four decades, died Sunday after becoming ill at his Meadowbrook home during a party he and his wife were throwing to celebrate publication of a son's book.

Mr. Lashner, who died at Abington Hospital, would have been 67 this Saturday.

"He was always on the side of the guy who was in trouble," said William Lashner, who practiced law with his father until he became a fiction writer full time.

Among Mr. Lashner's clients were union workers in the After Six Inc. bankruptcy. "He was really struggling very hard to save jobs at After Six," his son said. "He didn't succeed, but it was close."

There was a happier outcome in 1990, when Mr. Lashner helped keep the Philadelphia Opera Company from going under, according to his neighbor, Rohm & Haas executive John P. Mulroney, who was president of the opera at that time.

"He was, in our opinion, one of the best in the field," said labor lawyer Bernard Katz, whose firm called on Mr. Lashner often in matters involving employers in bankruptcy. "He was sincere, diligent, conscientious . . . a person of firm beliefs."

In 1983, those beliefs made headlines when Melvin Lashner, commuter, initiated a class-action suit against SEPTA after it took over the commuter rail lines from Conrail and reduced service.

Mr. Lashner was devoted to his family, his son said, and had a "storybook romance" with his wife, Marilyn Auerbach Lashner. After their children were in school, he encouraged his wife as she earned a Ph.D. at Temple University - his law school alma mater - and then established an expert-witness service.

Although Mr. Lashner had heart trouble and severe asthma, he worked full time, exercised daily, and scolded anyone who didn't have a healthy lifestyle.

"He would chastise you if you smoked, if you were overweight, or if you ate high-fat food," said Gary Schildhorn, who added that Mr. Lashner was his

mentor at Adelman & Lavine before the older lawyer left to form his own firm.

Besides his wife and son, Mr. Lashner is survived by another son, Bret; two daughters, Jane Lashner and Suzanne Dayanim; a sister, Hinda May Bregman; and five grandchildren.

Services for Mr. Lashner will be at 1:45 p.m. today at Goldsteins'

Rosenberg's Raphael Sacks Funeral Home, 6410 N. Broad St.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Federation Allied Jewish Appeal.

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