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John Spiegel, J.D. Mediator and Cherished Colleague – March 29, 1950 – December 14, 2023

We mourn the unexpected passing of our colleague John Spiegel, but are grateful that he left this world gently while doing the work he loved. It was John’s passion and his joy to support his clients and collaborate with esteemed colleagues to bring peace into the world, one mediation at a time. We’re deeply touched by the outpouring of thanks and remembrances from so many clients and colleagues, and share just of few of these below.

John grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, in the same Woodmoor house where he passed. He attended Pinecrest Elementary School, Eastern Junior High School, and Northwood High School, where was captain of the varsity tennis team. John played trombone in the high school band as well as with the Washington Football Team’s marching band.

He attended Swarthmore College, Stanford University, the Pardes Institute, and Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, John served as a judicial law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for Judge William Bryant. Then, after a brief stint at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he worked for 10 years as an attorney representing children and parents in child welfare cases in the District of Columbia. During part of that time, he served as the Staff Attorney for the Office of Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect of the District of Columbia Superior Court.

The main work of his life was a law practice devoted exclusively to divorce mediation. John deeply believed in the power of mediation to preserve relationships in divorce, particularly where children were involved. He successfully mediated hundreds of cases over the course of his career. He founded the divorce mediation program of Jewish Family Services in Baltimore, Maryland, and served five terms as President of the Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable and two terms as President of the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution. He presented extensively at conferences around the U.S.

John was an active member of his synagogue, Fabrangen, where he read the torah for many years. He closely followed politics and sports, and was an avid runner and walker for much of his life. He enjoyed artisan crafts, and in his later years became particularly interested in quilts. He loved the ballet, especially American Ballet Theater, and attended many cultural events. He was a lifelong proponent of many social justice causes, in particular LGBT equality. He participated in numerous protests and marches throughout his life, including an extended stint raising a Black Lives Matter banner on 16th street from his wheelchair until his disability made it too difficult to continue. He did not want a Republican to win the White House in 2024, or ever.

John was amazing father and father-in-law to his four children, two step-children, and their spouses: Flora Spiegel and husband Tony Miller of London, U.K.; Frances Spiegel and husband Ema Perez of Silver Spring, MD; Micah Spiegel and wife Amber Spiegel of Savannah, GA; Tamara Spiegel and husband Mike Jacobacci of Lafayette, CO; Dan Glasser and wife Laura Glasser; and Becca Glasser. John fiercely loved his seven grandchildren (Curtis, Ruth, Isidor, Elise, Saylor, Burke, and Bella), and was especially proud of Curtis who he prepared for his December 16th bar mitzvah. He maintained a lifelong friendship with his first spouse. John leaves behind his two loving brothers, Ladd Spiegel (Curt Cole) of New York, NY and Charles Spiegel of San Francisco, CA, and his devoted wife, Judith Glasser. Judi was his high school sweetheart who he reconnected with later in life and married 2004. John and Judi shared many wonderful experiences together, and she will miss him terribly.

John lived for eleven years with a slow-progressing type of ALS. Despite his physical challenges, he projected hope and strength to all around him. John loved his life and beautifully adapted to his progressing disability. Whenever asked, “How are you?” he would respond, “I’m happy.”

Quotes from others:

“It was clear from our first meeting how much John cared for people.”

“John had such a kind and helpful soul. He helped so many people in his long career as a mediator. His laugh was a joy — so infectious it made everyone smile, even in tense situations.”

“John’s relentless positivity and seemingly boundless empathy had a profound effect on me. He helped us navigate a stressful time in our lives, and I’m just sad I won’t get to thank him for that.”

“He truly made a difference in people’s lives.”

“It was our great luck to find John. He made a difficult process feel like something we could approach with creativity and grace, and that it was fully possible to meet the needs of everyone in our family. I will always remember his good humor and his faith in us. May John’s memory be a blessing.”

“John’s never-ending compassion and understanding was truly an immeasurable comfort that will never be forgotten. I’m incredibly glad that I was able to share my gratitude with him on our last call.”

“He was a rare bird. I was so lucky to be his colleague.”

“He healed not only my legal situation but my personal pain . . . I never felt more heard, seen, or cared for than when I spoke to him. He saw the best in me and gave us the tools to move forward together. I hope he knows that we are OK now because of him. He did good work in this world and no doubt touched thousands of lives like he touched mine . . . I am wishing all who knew him comfort and peace.”

“For the last several years, John has been a strong and steady force in my life. His optimism, insight, and cheerfulness will always be treasured and missed.”

“. . .  a good, kind, and gentle man.”

                        author

John Spiegel

Our practice focuses primarily on mediation for separation and divorce. We mediate parenting issues, financial issues, and all other issues needed to provide clients with a comprehensive divorce settlement. Co-mediation is available for all our clients. Our office is located in downtown Rockville, Maryland. We also mediate pre-nuptial agreements, post-divorce… MORE >

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