August 13, 1940 – May 21, 2020
Legal Heavyweight Legend Martin “Champ” Goldman Lived Life to the Fullest and Went on Fighting Until the Very End
Still actively practicing law at the ripe age of 78, and known as “The Legend” around the Essex County Court House, Martin “Champ” Goldman passed away, suddenly, from a stroke, on May 21. He is remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend,
Champ was an extraordinary, larger than life man, who enjoyed his life to the fullest, told great stories, laughed a lot and was fun to be around. He made friends easily, leaving a lasting impression wherever he went, and was loyal to the core to his friends and family.
Champ really loved action. He enjoyed going to the race track, owning horses, managing boxers’ careers, and recruiting basketball players for George Washington University. He also loved playing craps at casinos and watching baseball and basketball games on TV. He especially enjoyed taking his grandsons to Mets games at the stadium and attended a great deal of live sports events in his lifetime. Champ was also a competitive golfer, who was Club Champion twice at Cedar Hill in his younger years, and also loved playing golf at Preakness Hills, Crystal Springs and Maplewood Country Club.
Champ grew up in West Orange, and spent most of his time as a youth at the Goldman Hotel, in Pleasantdale, which was owned by his family. It was there that he received his nickname “Champ” from an encounter with professional boxer Max Baer, who was one of the many illustrious guests who stayed at the hotel. His mother, Rhoda, took her 10-day-old son to meet Baer, who was training at the hotel. Baer looked down at the baby and said, “Hi Champ.” The name stuck.
As a youth, Champ was an incredible athlete, leading his West Orange and Peddie high school football, baseball and basketball teams to many victories. He was recruited by many colleges to play both baseball and basketball, ultimately choosing to play at and attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in history and received his B.A. After college, Champ was recruited by the White Sox, but instead of pursuing his dream, he chose to pursue a career in law. He received his J.D. degree from Rutgers Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1967.
Champ began his legal career in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Drug Investigation Unit, and later opened up his own legal firm called Goldman, Goldman and Caprio, PA., which was later changed to Harkavy, Goldman & Gerstein, P.A.
Champ was a formidable personal injury and criminal defense attorney for over 50 years. He broke new ground in his field. He was one of the first lawyers to get wiretaps suppressed in the state of New Jersey. And, he argued a case that resulted in the NJ courts rejecting voice prints as evidence.
Over the years, Champ built an impressive legal record by successfully defending countless people indicted for alleged criminal activities, obtaining “not guilty” verdicts for over 1000 criminal counts.
His approach to every case was simple and he is credited with saying, “We do for clients what they would do for themselves if they could,” as well as, “I will always treat my clients the way I want to be treated. I have no fear and never give up.”
Champ was incredibly kind and generous and always went out of his way to help people including his family, friends and clients. Friends and loved ones can’t help laughing when sharing stories of times with Champ because of the laughter, silliness and joy he spread with each encounter. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Champ is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Barbara (nee Klein) Goldman, his daughters Jackie Schatell (Scott), Jodi Orland, his two grandchildren, Dylan and Jordan, and his sister Nanci Deutsch (Harold). He is predeceased by his parents Maclyn and Rhoda Goldman.
In lieu of a funeral, a service will be held at the Goldman’s home at a later date when congregating is allowed. Instead of donations, the family would like for anyone with memories of, or photos with Champ that they would like to share, to mail them to Barbara to be placed in a commemorative book being made that will be shared at the service.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
May 26, 2020
I remember Chanp Goldman as a great point guard and competitor. He also was the hairiest memer of our class. It's a shame that he never came to any of the reunions so we could reminisce out Peddie.
Bob Berman '59
May 24, 2020
Neighbor, Peddie classmate, sports legend- Champ offered joy to every conversation and a smile as big as Pleasant Valley Way. RIP. / “ Skip”