Carl M. Sapers
July 16, 1932 – July 18, 2018
Carl Sapers died on Wednesday after a brief illness.
A Boston lawyer with a wide-ranging corporate career who specialized in working with architects. He was a partner and then managing partner at Hill and Barlow for 45 years, retiring in 2002.
He was one of the country's pre-eminent lawyers in architecture and construction law. He was awarded the American Institute of Architects' Allied Professions Medal in 1975 for outstanding achievement in a non-design profession and taught and published widely on the subject.
Born in Boston in 1932 and educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he joined the law firm of Hill and Barlow and after a leave to serve on the Massachusetts Crime Commission returned to become a partner in 1966. He traveled to the Middle East on behalf of The Architects Collaborative in connection with a project for the University of Baghdad in 1959. By the time of his AlA award, he had represented more than 50 architectural firms as general or special counsel. Among those were Hugh Stubbins and Associates, Shepley Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott, Sert Jackson and Associates, Jung/Brannen and PietroBelluschi. In 1968, he became general counsel to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, a role he continued in until the early 2000s. He also served as interim counsel to the AlA, which made him an honorary member in 1988. His practice became international in scope.
In 1972, he began teaching a course called "Legal Problems in the Construction Process" to students in civil engineering and architecture at MIT. Thereafter he became an Adjunct Professor of Legal Practice in Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 1984 to 1993 and an Adjunct Professor of Studies in Professional Practice in Architecture from 1993 to 2009.
He retired from Hill and Barlow in 2002 after 45 years during which he mentored young lawyers and rose to become managing partner. He retired from the Graduate School of . Design in 2010. During his career he participated in a wide range of public-spirited activities. He founded the Foundation for Brookline housing which sought to promote housing for black families in the suburb in which he lived. He later served for nine years as the town's moderator. Toward the end of his life, he was a prominent member of a mostly Canadian group that successfully opposed the development of Liquid Natural Gas near Passamaquoddy Bay in Maine.
A proud liberal Democrat, he was an avid sailor, reader, lover of classical music, and cooking, whose favorite activity at his summer house in St. Andrews, NB, Canada was digging for clams and foraging for chanterelles and cooking the results into wonderful concoctions. He leaves his wife of more than 50 years, Judith Thompson Sapers, his children, Jonathan, Rachel and Benjamin, and five grandchildren. Also survived by his brother, William R. Sapers, as well as nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. For online condolences, please visit: www.bostonharborsidehome.com Boston Harborside Home of J.S. Waterman & Sons Waring-Langeone 617-536-4110
Carl M. Sapers
August 22, 2018
I just heard moments ago about Carl leaving us. I am heartbroken. He was such a force in my life, shaping and supporting my confidence in myself and my beliefs, from the late 90's through my current career. While I was working at the Liberty we would visit over dinner--i'll never forget his stories, his smile, his wisdom. The world is less, now.
Sending my love and thoughts for all of you-- my most sincerest of condolences--
August 15, 2018
Carl has been a wonderful friend for 67 years - welcoming me as an exchange student from WestBerlin at Harvard Collegein 1951. We visdited each other ever since and I was grateful for his and Judith's wonderful friendship and international hospitality to me and my family.
August 9, 2018
Carl was one of my mentors at Hill & Barlow, and I am grateful for his guidance and encouragement. When I was a very junior lawyer, I told him that I was interested in alternative dispute resolution. He not only encouraged me but offered to co-author an article with me (on the use of summary judgment in arbitration -- then considered a novel idea). Carl, along with other senior lawyers at Hill & Barlow, insisted that law should be more than just a way to make a living but rather a true profession, and that set the firm apart in terms of its commitment to teaching, public service, and pro bono work. Carl had a big heart and a great mind. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.
August 8, 2018
My heart is broken. I am so sad. I loved visiting with Carl. They are some of my most treasured memories. I still remember fondly going out on the sailboat at St. Andrews and having him show us some of his favorite places. The twinkle in Carl's eyes will be with me always.
July 29, 2018
Bob and I were most saddened to hear that Carl is no longer with us. We knew him from St Andrews. For me it all began when he and Judy came to our wedding in August 2011. Bob had been their summertime neighbour for decades.
We shared lovely suppers and sunny visits together. He and Judy hosted wonderful parties on the 4th of July replete with fireworks over the water. And they both took me under their wing to share some of their love of St Andrews.
Bob and I will miss the twinkle in his eyes, his sharp wit and sharing engaging and wide-ranging discussions.
Our deepest condolences to Judy and all his family.
Trish Huston and Bob Clark
July 25, 2018
Our condolences to Judith and the family. Carl and his family were an inspiration for us and I imagine for many. His values transpired and enriched us and our children, we will always be thankful for having known him and learned from him. A bit of him is within us forever.
The Duch Clerici family
Trevor J Hall
July 24, 2018
A true gentleman shewing compassion, tolerance and wisdom he welcomed an unlettered graduate from the other Cambridge to his home many times wherein I was able to glimpse his wonderful family and friends and his powerful intellect.
I will miss him.
My best wishes to Judith and his family.
July 24, 2018
Rennie joins me in sending our sympathy to Carl's family.
What a wonderful man, liberal and smart, generous and engaging. I am forever grateful for the 10 years or so I spent in the NCARB family. Carl was the reason so many of us stayed involved in this organization. It was a pleasure to be in that same room when his mind was in full swing.
July 23, 2018
Carl was a giant among friends. As a member of the NCARB Board of Directors and president, I was very appreciative of Carl's participation in all aspects of the organization. Not only did he provide essential legal advice but he was a mentor, advisor, and dear friend. Carl's input and advice on all matters be they legal, educational, procedural or related to professional conduct, was unparalleled. I have many great memories of business as well as pleasure with Carl. He will be missed by so many that he touched as attorney and friend.
July 23, 2018
Carl was one of the great ones. I had the good fortune of getting to know Carl and Judy through the Foundation for Brookline Housing. We had many memorable meetings in their home in Brookline. Carl not only recognized a problem, but he did something about it. Our town of Brookline is a better place for the person he was and the action he took.
July 23, 2018
Carl and Judy were very special people who took Bonita and I in with open arms during our time with NCARB. His love of the architectural profession was not simply the result of his career, he loved architects and did his best to protect our profession. We will never know the impact Carl M. Sapers has had on the practice of architecture world wide. His wit was contagious, his strength of character without question, his love for Judy, family, and friends evident by the sparkle in his eyes.
Bonita and I were able to spend time with Carl and Judy at their beloved home in St. Andrews, enjoying great food, sailing on his beautiful Dark Harbor sailboat, watching as he masterfully repaired a door lockset that simply needed the lock button pushed in - Carl was something to behold. whether in his seersucker suits with bow tie, or his old T-shirts and raggedy corduroy shorts. Bonita and I were able to experience Carl in both, and loved every minute of it.
Even though our paths rarely crossed since my departure from NCARB in 2002, we remained connected with Carl and Judy with phone calls, Christmas cards, and fond memories. He will be greatly missed by Bonita and I.
To Judy and the family, you were blessed beyond measure, and so were we for your sharing Carl with us.
July 23, 2018
I am sad and sorry to hear of Carl's passing. He was among the most loved and respected persons I have ever known. He will be missed by all including the entire profession of architecture and many others.