On August 12th, 2015, Mel Rubin passed away. All who knew him are deeply saddened by his loss. Also see www.mediate.com/Memorials.
When Melvin Rubin was just a child, he was told that he would not live to be an adult, as he was afflicted by a complicated childhood illness. With the support of his exceptionally dedicated parents, Jack and Bessie Rubin, he defied those dire predictions and went on to attend undergraduate at the University of Miami and then to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall Law School in 1968.
Those early conjectures of his imminent mortality shaped him–he became a fighter, a man of stalwart perseverance, determined not only to succeed, but to glean every possible joy from each moment of this life. He was greatly admired by friends, family and colleagues alike for his obvious joie de vivre, for his big heart and for his effort to always live life as fully as possible.
After graduating from law school, Mel returned to South Florida and opened a successful practice as a litigation attorney. Fourteen years into this career, he met his wife of the past 31 years, Susan Scholz-Rubin, a local psychologist whose involvement in the burgeoning South Florida mediation movement would change Mel’s career path forever. By 1985, mediation had become his primary professional passion. He was captivated by the alternate possibility of conflict-resolution as opposed to the adversarial methods inherent to litigation; he would be a peace-maker instead of a litigator.
Mel became a leader of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including mediation, in Florida, serving on committees to develop rules, standards and regulations to shape this previously non-existent profession. He has mediated thousands of cases in all areas of conflict, including civil, appellate, and family. Mel’s deepest professional satisfaction was found in teaching and training others, creating a cadre of professionals committed to the constructive resolution of disputes. He has trained over 6000 professionals in ADR over the past 30 years, nationally and internationally.
Mel is known for his work in ethics, professional malpractice, the mortgage foreclosure crisis and designing ADR systems after mass disasters. A most gratifying experience was his participation in the formation and creation of the ADR response to Hurricane Andrew’s devastation in 1992. He also thoroughly enjoyed his role as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, where he taught mediation courses for 13 years. He received accolades and admiration from his many students.
Whenever Mel could, he would hit the road and travel to exotic and faraway places. He was a collector of art and books, cufflinks and suspenders, and memorabilia from the Wizard of Oz which he saw as a great parable for all time: the need for courage, heart, intelligence and the importance of always returning home.
For all the many things that he loved in life, his family was closest to his heart. Upon his marriage to Susan in 1984, he inherited a new extended family as well as three feisty children, Kevin, Michael and Laura, who he parented with the unconditional love and care of a true father, later also gaining a daughter-in-law, Christin, who he increasingly treasured as the years passed. His grandchildren, Mirabai, Kacie, Cayla and CJ were the greatest joy of his later years. His relationship with his only sibling, Lillian (Lili) Poms, deepened throughout their shared lives together, their dedication to each other never faltering. He was a loving brother-in-law to Allan Poms and doting uncle to his nephews, Douglas and Eric Poms, and his niece-in-law, Krista, and their families. He also had an enduring and close relationship with his sister-in-law, Phyllis Sandrow and her husband, Richard.
Mel’s most profound sentiments were reserved for his wife, Susan. She was his staunchest support, his steadfast care-giver, his partner in life through tragedy and triumph, his soulmate and greatest love. His deepest sadness occurred in 2003, with the loss of his son, Michael.
Memorial donations may be made in Melvin’s name to the Michael Scholz Memorial Charitable Fund, www.michaelscholzfund.org.
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