Remarks by Tom Boer
Tom Boer is Louise Klemperer's son, Helen Stern's grandson
I'm Tom Boer and I'm Helen Stern's grandson. I only had the opportunity to know Bob over the last ten years. I didn't have the opportunity to know him for a longer period in my life, which I think is really unfortunate. I was going to say that as Bob was retiring from his career in law, I made the decision to go to law school, but I don't really think that that's entirely accurate. I don't think Bob EVER retired from law. He was always in a corner, reaching for a law book, reaching for the chronicles of the Supreme Court, and was always inspired by the law and cared about the direction that the law was going.
Despite Bob's age, I, too, suffered from his cross-examination when I was going into law school and would come visit my grandmother and Bob in Tucson. I'm not sure that anyone in law school could escape the cross-examination of Bob Stern (laughter).
Bob also found in me when I was in law school someone who was happy to lend an ear to all the stories that he told and it was unbelievably exciting to be in law school and to read cases, then to go visit my grandmother in the winter and to have Bob tell me about the history and the background of the cases that he argued in the New Deal. It was a perspective that you really couldn't get in law school and it really brought home the law and what it really meant to have been at the foundation of many of the great legal decisions of this country.
He also had many unbelievable stories that you couldn't help chuckle at. I won't recount them all but I remember one. I remember in one particular case, he told me that when he was Acting Solicitor General he had to go down to meet with [former FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover told him, "You know, technically, you are my superior."
Bob thought, "That's interesting that he said 'technically.'" (laughter).
But I think ultimately what was really the most important thing to me was the relationship I saw blossom between my grandmother and Bob. And I was also continually impressed by the energy that Bob displayed as he agedů. and his unbelievable smile. He was always smiling in all circumstances and always had such a positive outlook.
It was wonderful to see the happiness that my grandmother and Bob shared together, whether it was out on the golf course, or swimming or sitting by the pool, or eating chocolate ice cream, which always made Bob smile. Even something as simple as seeing Helen and Bob sitting together to watch the Jim Lehrer News Hour and the two of them would sit next to each other and hold each other's hands. You could really see the love between the two of them. It meant a lot to me.
In conclusion, I think the relationship that Bob and Helen managed to have as they grew old together was an inspiration to me - and should really be an inspiration to all of us.
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