William Goldstein
William Goldstein (Baltimore Sun)

William O. Goldstein, a Korean War veteran who practiced law in Baltimore for half a century, died Aug. 21 of kidney failure at Roland Park Place. He was 87.

The son of Dr. Albert E. Goldstein, an internationally known urological surgeon, and Elsie May Goldstein, a homemaker and volunteer, William Osler Goldstein was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park and Guilford.


After graduating in 1945 from City College, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1949 from Washington College in Chestertown.

He entered the University of Maryland School of Law and after completing one year of his studies, he was drafted into the Army in 1950 during the Korean War.

He completed training in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and at the Brooke Army Medical Center. He took further training in the discipline at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

Mr. Goldstein was then assigned to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, where he was part of an experimental program to treat malaria that used inmates who had volunteered to be injected with malaria by trained physicians and scientists.

"The results of the program were successful, malaria was controlled, casualties were limited and progress toward the treatment and cure of malaria was advanced," Mr. Goldstein wrote in an unpublished autobiographical sketch.

He was discharged from the Army in 1952 and returned to law school, where he earned his degree in 1954 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar.

Mr. Goldstein began his career in 1954 with the Legal Aid Bureau of Baltimore City, where he tried tort, contracts and divorce cases for defendants who were not financially able to pay for representation.

From 1955 until 1958, when he was appointed assistant city solicitor by Mayor Thomas L.J. D'Alesandro Jr., Mr. Goldstein worked for several Baltimore lawyers including Paul Cordish and Marvin Ellin.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Goldstein established his own law firm at 218 Lexington St. and later was joined by partners Stanley Miller and Harvey Maizels.

"It was a general practice with civil and criminal cases as well as personal and family law. He did it all and was pretty darned good," said Mr. Maizels, who has been with the firm since 1980. "He loved the practice of law and did it for 50 years."

Mr. Maizels said Mr. Goldstein proved to be an able and interested mentor.

"He taught me how to try cases and handle jury trials. I loved the man. He taught me everything," he said. "He loved the law, morning, noon and night. He loved the give and take between clients, judges and opposing counsel, and was good at it. He really knew how to try a case."

Mr. Goldstein was also known for putting in long hours.

"He'd come in very, very early in the morning and would often leave at 8 p.m or later. He worked six days a week, including Saturdays," said Mr. Maizels, who said it was routine for his partner to leave the office in the evening carrying armloads of case files.


"When I joined the firm, Bill said, 'Here's the deal': He and Stanley would handle all city and Baltimore County cases. If it was a city case, all they had to do was run across the street to the courthouse," said Mr. Maizels.

"That meant I had to schlep to Prince George's, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Harford counties to handle those cases," he said with a laugh. "Bill would rather try a case for eight hours than be behind the wheel of a car for eight minutes."

Mr. Goldstein retired in 2005.

"He certainly did know the law and was good at it," said Stephen Olah, a certified public accountant who lives in Towson and was a longtime friend of Mr. Goldstein's as well as his financial adviser.

"He had a great personality and a dry sense of humor," said Mr. Olah. "He was also a great jokester and storyteller."

"He remained a jokester and would kid with everyone all the time," said Debbie Drimer, a niece who lives in Timonium.

"When we were kids, he sat at the kids' table sometimes. He was constantly teaching us and had a whole routine about knowing our teachers," said Ms. Drimer.

"When at the adult dinner table, he'd take the opposite opinion of others just to get the debate started. He'd talk like he was in the courtroom advocating his position," she said. "Whether he really believed it or was just egging us on, we never really knew."

The longtime Guilford resident, who had moved to Roland Park Place more than a decade ago, continued jogging until he was 82. He enjoyed reading and baseball trivia.

He also was an ardent Baltimore Colts and Orioles fan.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Roland Park Place, 830 W. 40th St.

In addition to Ms. Drimer, Mr. Goldstein is survived by several other nieces and nephews.