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Yale 62

Judge Marvin S. Romanoff

Born: March 21, 1940
Died: June 28, 2020

Marvin Romanoff was born in Schenectady, New York on March 21, 1940. He was the son of Anna Blumstein and Herman Romanoff. He prepared at Linton High School in Schenectady.

At Yale, Marvin was nicknamed Marv. He majored in history and was a ranking scholar and on Dean’s List. He was a member of Timothy Dwight where he led the Town Crier board, 1959-62; he was TD’s touch football captain and on the college volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball teams. He was also active with the Sales Agency in 1960 and as a member of Hillel. Despite all his athletic pursuits, his bursary jobs with scholarships and the extracurricular activities, Marvin maintained a sterling academic record and followed his graduation in 1962 with attendance at Yale Law School. He married his first wife, Gayle Caplan, in August 1964 and they had two children Hilary and Andrew. That marriage terminated in divorce.

In 1965, his first law position was with the Federal Power Commission in Washington, D.C. He was admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1966 and to the Ohio Bar in 1967. In that year he settled in the Columbus, Ohio area and began his life’s career in the justice system, first as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Franklin County (Columbus) and then as a judge.

Marvin served for more than 24 years as a Franklin County Municipal Judge. His fairness and even-handed dispensation of justice won him the respect of both political parties and he was unopposed for his final 6-year term. He served as President of the Municipal and County Judges’ Association and was awarded the National Commission against Drunk Driving’s Law Enforcement Initiative and Implementation Award. His no-nonsense reputation against drunk driving won him accolades in Ohio but as he observed with a smile, “my lack of patience with drunk drivers made me no friend in the defense bar.”

However, he was not all hard of heart. He said he loved the opportunity to spoil his grandchildren, which he tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to resist. Marvin was a 50-year member of Aladdin Shrine. He loved crossword puzzles, science fiction, Chinese food and chocolate, and “most of all, my family.” He was a lifelong Republican and a member of various political groups associated with the party. However, as is often in life, his dedication to the GOP was not without a certain irony. His son Andrew is a liberal Democrat active in Colorado politics, who has run (unsuccessfully) for the US House as well as for the US Senate.

Marvin is survived by his wife Sharon Drake, his children Hilary and Andrew, stepchildren Jackie (Ed) Losoncy and Danny (Kelly) Drake; niece Beth Levi; grandchildren Greg (Jessica), Joey (Sabrina), Kevin, Madeline (Mason), Margret (Jake), and Megan; great grandchildren Kaylynn and Frankie; and many adoring nieces, nephews, and in-laws. He was preceded in death by his parents Herman and Annie Romanoff, his sister Aida Levi, stepdaughter Shelley Drake and grandson Brian Drake.

A graveside service was held at St. Joseph Cemetery in Lockbourne, south of Columbus.


– Robert G. Oliver