In Remembrance: H. Barry Vasios ’67, ’71JD Died on February 1 2018

Barry Vasios died of a brain tumor on February 1, 2018.

His daughter Carrie submitted the following essay about her father:

“Our father was born on May 1, 1945, in Hackensack, New Jersey.  As a young man, he was passionate and driven in everything that he did, whether it was excelling on the sports field as a three-sport athlete or becoming the first person in his family to go to college when he enrolled in the Yale Class of 1967.

“Last year marked his 50th college reunion, and for the occasion, Yale put together a book called 67 at 50, and asked alumni to contribute small passages about their lives since graduation. Our father’s contribution started: ‘Since graduating Yale, the two leading factors in my life have been, unsurprisingly, my family and my legal career.’ Unsurprising is the right word, because our father was both a leading commercial litigator and an amazing father.

“Our father’s long and impressive legal career started when he enrolled at Yale Law school. However he wasn’t studying long before the Vietnam War intervened, and he volunteered for AmeriCorps VISTA, taking an assignment at the Cleveland Legal Aid Society. Our father’s time in VISTA deeply influenced him, and the work that he did there was a concentrated example of his greatest lesson to his family and friends: help people. Most of all, help people who don’t have the resources to help themselves. As someone who almost didn’t get to Yale because of the financial cost (as he told a friend after receiving his admittance letter but insufficient aid, ‘Boolah Boolah but no moolah’), our father worked to remedy this inequality his whole life. He was always trying to assist others through pro bono work, making connections, or volunteering, which he did often through his firm, Holland and Knight. Teaching constitutional law to students from a local Brooklyn public high school was one of his real joys.

“Over the years, our father worked as a commercial litigator at Donovan Leisure, Breed Abbot, Gilbert Seagel and Young, and Holland and Knight, representing clients from the Spanish government, to the Rothschild Wine Family, to Walt Disney. He was included numerous times in the annual ‘Super Lawyers,’ a listing of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Colleagues at Holland and Knight affectionately called him ‘The Professor’ because he was always eager to help other lawyers solve a problem, and they claim that there was no legal question that they put to him which he couldn’t answer. In short, our dad was hardwired to help people, and the greatest beneficiary was certainly his family. He always supported us and encouraged us to achieve our goals, whether that meant driving his daughter Alison to so many Yale women’s basketball games that they were essentially honorary members of the teams from 1987 to 1996, or listening to hours of French news programs with his daughter Carrie (though he didn’t speak French) before sending her to study in Paris.

“Our dad was deeply interested in the world around him. He was always talking about the book he was reading or a trip he’d just taken with our mother and his wife of 44 years, Cheryl, where inevitably they’d have seen every historical landmark on the map. He also had an infectious love of Cape Cod, sweaters, poetry, and his dog Benny. Those who knew him weren’t surprised that he only retired in December of this year; for him, the joy was in the work, the joy was in the world, in discovering it and making it a better place. We will miss him dearly.”

1 remembrance

  • Patricia Coffin Fry
    Patricia Coffin Fry, 3:25pm August 05 2018 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Tim and I were saddened just recently to learn of Barry's death. We would have attended a memorial service had we known earlier, and extend our deep sympathies now to Cheryl and his daughters. We remember Barry with great fondness as fellow law students, Greenwich Village habituees, fellow parents, NYC lawyers and political fundraisers. A most thoughtful, kind, and gentlemanly man, with often a twinkle in his eye. It is heartening to read his daughter's testimonial, and to know how much he was respected and loved.

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