Robert A. Spar, a tax attorney and partner in his law firm who assisted new and emerging technology businesses, often in the medical field, died in his sleep of a gastrointestinal tumor Tuesday at his Elkridge home. He was 44.
Born in Queens, N.Y., he received a Bachelor of Science degree at the University at Buffalo and earned a degree from the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law.
He moved to Baltimore in 1988 when he joined Weinberg & Green and remained with the law firm when it merged 10 years later and became Saul Ewing.
Mr. Spar was a member of his firm's life sciences practice group, which handles legal issues for hospitals and medical technology firms.
He also represented startup biological technological firms and large pharmaceutical businesses and promoted new ventures.
"You met him and right away you felt he was part of your team," said Jeffrey Meshulam, the vice president of Profectus BioSciences in Arbutus. "He seemed to know everyone, and even in the most intense negotiations, he managed to get consensus without getting aggressive."
A 2007 Sun article detailed Mr. Spar's efforts to recruit patent attorneys for his firm. He placed ads in Philadelphia and Washington publications and sent a team to scout an international trade convention.
"It's really hard to find patent lawyers in the Baltimore area," he was quoted as saying in that article. "Whenever we can find a good, qualified person, we're going to bring them in."
In 2000, Mr. Spar helped found the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards.
"He was a great networker, belonged to numerous legal and tech organizations in and around Maryland and was pivotal in growing Baltimore's technology community," said Eric Orlinsky, his law partner and close friend.
His colleagues said that his legal practice focused on tax issues and business transactions, venture capital, mergers, acquisitions and partnerships, among other fields.
"People relied upon his advice and enjoyed his friendship," said David H. Hollander, a former legal colleague who lives in Washington. "He was famous for not working on weekends. He balanced his professional life with his family life."
"Rob possessed a unique, disarming quality that made him approachable by everyone -- from mailroom clerks and practice assistants to seasoned attorneys and chief executive officer clients," said Barry Levin, a legal colleague.
He was a board member of UMBC Research Park and the Greater Baltimore Technology Council and was a past chair of the Lawyers' Campaign Against Hunger.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home, 7250 Washington Blvd. in Elkridge.
Survivors include his wife of eight years, the former Anne Maestri, a physical therapist; three daughters, Jennifer, Nicole and Lindsey, ages 6, 4 and 2; a brother, Stephen Spar of Castle Rock, Colo.; and his parents, Phyllis and Vincent Spar of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.