Irving Serota was the kind of lawyer who was so thoughtful, fair and keen that a divorcing couple once wanted him to represent them both in the legal proceedings to dissolve their marriage.
“And after making sure it was all right, he did it,” his wife, Enid Serota, said. “We later went to both of their remarriages.”
Serota, of East Meadow, died March 2 of prostate cancer surrounded by family at St. Francis Hospital — a few weeks short of turning 85.
“I really thought he would make it,” his widow said of his March 30 birthday. “I really did.”
His wife hosted a seder for almost 40 people on the first night of Passover, which would have been his birthday, in celebration of his life and the holiday.
“We wanted to let him know how much he was, and is, loved and how missed he is,” she said.
The couple’s love story was featured in a December 2014 Newsday article on their 60th wedding anniversary.
“We made it to number 63 and were hoping for more, but it was not meant to be,” she said.
Irving Serota was raised in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, graduated from Brooklyn College in 1955 and soon after began classes at New York University School of Law. In 1957, he took a break from law school when he was drafted into the Army and was assigned to Fort Dix in New Jersey.
In November 1957 the couple moved to Bad Nauheim, Germany. There he served as battalion mail clerk and chief clerk for the Special Courts and Boards, where he advised on courts-martial and processed marriage applications, the family said.
The couple returned to the states in 1959 after Serota was honorably discharged. He resumed his studies at NYU Law School, from where he graduated.
After working at various Manhattan law firms, he opened his namesake general practice law office in 1982 in East Meadow. At the time of his death he was semiretired, working from home.
Enid Serota said her husband was generous, often spending hours on the phone with clients and never billing them. She said he also had strong interests in politics, government and history, and took pleasure in sharing what he knew.
“He was a fountain of knowledge for everybody,” she said. “He wanted to make sure everyone was OK, didn’t want to hurt anybody and helped to look out for people.”
Serota is survived by sons Jack Serota of Great Neck and Howard Serota of Lynwood, Pennsylvania; brother Harvey Serota of Westbury; sister Janet Malamutt of Massapequa; and two grandchildren.
A service for Serota was held March 4 at Gutterman’s Funeral Home in Woodbury. He’s buried in Wellwood Cemetery in Pinelawn.