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Family and Friends Mourn Death of Marilyn Dershowitz

By Ben Fractenberg | July 5, 2011 3:57pm | Updated on July 6, 2011 7:14am
Marilyn Dershowitz and her husband Nathan Dershowitz in 2008.
Marilyn Dershowitz and her husband Nathan Dershowitz in 2008.
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Carol Seitz

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

Upper West Side — Hundreds of friends and relatives packed into the Riverside Memorial Chapel on West 76th Street Tuesday afternoon to pay their respects to Marilyn Dershowitz, 68, who was struck and killed by a postal truck Saturday while riding her bike through Chelsea.

Her husband, Nathan Dershowitz, brother of famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz, said he and his wife had just bought tickets for a Fourth of July boat ride and theater tickets for a visit from their grandkids before the fatal ride.

Their final discussion was getting their Tudor City apartment ready for their guests, and how they would spend time during their imminent visit, Dershowitz said.

Family and friends mourn Marilyn Dershowtiz outside the Riverside Memorial Chapel at 180 West 76th Street on July 5, 2011.
Family and friends mourn Marilyn Dershowtiz outside the Riverside Memorial Chapel at 180 West 76th Street on July 5, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

"And then suddenly I go through the light; she stops for the light. I go a little bit down, and everything changes. Everything changes," Dershowitz said during the service.

Dershowitz told DNAinfo on Saturday that the US Postal truck and another vehicle were trying to squeeze through a narrow street when his wife was hit. Police said they did not initially suspect any criminality and that the driver of the mail truck was unaware of the collision. The driver has not been charged as of Tuesday.

She was wearing a helmet at the time, and it had to be cut off of her by paramedics, her relatives said.

Marilyn Dershowitz had a lengthy career in the law, which began when she decided to go back to law school as a mother of two children, her son said.

"She went to law school with two kids in the house. I don't know how she balanced that. Somehow she did well at law school and as a mother at the same time," said her son, Adam Dershowitz. He said he was already in high school when she enrolled.

She was appointed a court referee — akin to a judge — in 1998 after clerking for Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lewis Friedman, according to reports.

Years later, she acted as the referee in the divorce case between Cordula Bartha and Dr. Nicholas Bartha, the physician who was suspected of blowing up his Upper East Side townhouse in 2006 to get revenge on his wife.

Dershowitz reportedly awarded Bartha's wife $1.2 million in the 2001 split, but let him keep the E. 62nd Street home.

She also acted as the referee in the 2003 divorce case between therapist Kathryn Faughey and her ex-husband, Adam, according to the Daily News.

Faughey was allegedly stabbed to death by a crazed David Tarloff at her office on the Upper East Side in 2008.

Most recently, Dershowitz had been doing mediation at the appellate level, her husband said.

She retired six months ago and was looking forward to taking on new adventures, according to relatives.

Adam Dershowitz added that his mother was "very tough when she had to be."

He said she once stood up to a potential mugger who demanded her money when she was out buying milk for the family.

She verbally confronted the would-be robber before walking away, her son said.

"Mom, I still can't figure out why you couldn't do that to the truck," he added.