Herbert “Tripp” Burgunder III, a real estate attorney who believed that legal documents should be written in clear language, died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack April 19 at his Owings Mills home. He was 53.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Herbert Burgunder Jr., a workers’ compensation attorney, and Sydnee Schweitzer, a teacher. He grew up in Cheswolde and was a 1987 Gilman School graduate. He was the captain of the school’s water polo and swim teams.
After earning a degree at Cornell University, he attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1994.
He met his future wife, Tamara “Tammy” Lipman, after being introduced by his older sister and a friend of a friend. Their first date was at Akbar Restaurant.
Interested in politics, he joined the campaign staff of Parris N. Glendening as a volunteer. In the 1994 election, he was present at the city’s Board of Election Supervisors for the vote tallies of Mr. Glendening and his Republican opponent, Ellen R. Sauerbrey. After Mr. Glendening was elected, Mr. Burgunder served on his transition team. He initially worked with John T. Willis, the secretary of state.
Mr. Burgunder later worked at the Department of Labor and was appointed the ombudsman for the Department of Business and Economic Development. He was a regulator of charitable organizations for the state, among other duties.
Mr. Burgunder taught at the University of Maryland Law School as an adjunct faculty member in the legal analysis, writing and research program.
“Tripp was all about clear, specific language and clear communication in writing,” his wife said. “The gold standard for him was a document that everyone could understand. He was practical and honest to a fault. As an attorney, he often used humor to solve a situation — a way to help people cope and bring them together. He was good at getting people to be less adversarial.”
He then joined the Kramon & Graham law firm and was a land use and transactional attorney. He was subsequently in solo practice and later worked at Rimon Law. He had an office in Mount Washington.
“Tripp had a hearty laugh and had a great sense of humor,” said Kirby Fowler, a friend who is president of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. “He gave great advice and was a resource in matters of real estate and land use. He was trustworthy and was a person of integrity.”
During his legal career, he represented merchants at Mount Washington Village and the owner of the Copycat Building in Station North, among other clients.
In a 2008 Baltimore Sun story, Mr. Burgunder spoke about city properties about to be sold for nonpayment of taxes. He suggested that instead, the city should conduct a public education campaign to advise delinquent taxpayers of the tax sale and the process to redeem before costs are incurred and thereby reach people who escape notification.
“The state should also set up a fund to help pay the tax bills for those who truly can’t pay their bills,” Mr. Burgunder said.
He was recalled for his work ethic.
“He was wicked smart. He had his own way of doing things. He had an intense love of his family and his career. He had a universe of friends,” said his father-in-law, Ron Lipman. “He was a hard worker. He read a good bit, he did some of his cooking because he was a vegan. He didn’t like [retail] stores, so he was in and out of them fairly quickly.”
Friends said Mr. Burgunder was disciplined and efficient with his time.
Mr. Lipman also said: “The day he died he got up very early, participated in a Masters swim practice at Meadowbrook in the morning, then worked at his active law practice and went to his daughter’s lacrosse game at City College.”
The Morning Sun
Mr. Burgunder spent his childhood summers at Camp Wonposet in Connecticut. He learned to swim at the Suburban Club and continued the sport throughout his life. He later took up biking and running. He completed half marathons, sprint triathlons and swam across the Chesapeake Bay. While in college, he swam competitively at Cornell.
After his children became students at the Friends School of Baltimore, he became an involved parent and joined its board of trustees.
“He had an affinity toward Friends School. He really embraced the Quaker aspect of it. It called to him. At his family Seder, he would also have a moment of silence. As a trustee at Friends, he brought a sense of ease and comfort to his fellow trustees,” said Norman Forbush, the clerk of the Friends board of trustees.
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“Tripp was easy to be around and was always happy,” said a childhood friend, David Stouse. “He always used his charm and humor to work through any issue. He had the ability to take complicated issues and keep them simple.”
Mr. Burgunder was his family’s historian and kept the family tree.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Dr. Tamara Lipman Burgunder, a pediatrician at the Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital; two sons, Ben Burgunder and Sam Burgunder, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Maisie Burgunder of Baltimore; a sister, Rachel Burgunder Hoch of Stevenson; and a brother, Brad Burgunder of Baltimore.
Services were held April 21 at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where he was a member.