Sol Gothard

November 1, 1930July 5, 2020

Sol Gothard passed away, at home, on July 5, 2020. He was 89 years old. The Judge, as he was known to all, was born and grew up in the Bronx, New York. He was the son of immigrant parents, Samuel and Lillian, and the youngest of four brothers, Jack, Jerry and Abe. After graduating from the City College of New York, Sol served in the United States Army, from which he was Honorably Discharged. He earned a Masters degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he met the love of his life, fellow graduate student Jacqueline Pressner Gothard. Sol and Jackie married and settled down in her home town, New Orleans. While employed as a social worker, Sol earned his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. He was elected Juvenile Court Judge in Jefferson Parish in 1972, and was elected to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in 1986 where he served until his retirement in 2005. Judge Sol, under-privileged as a child, became a fierce advocate for the powerless in our society, particularly abused children and animals. He dedicated his professional life to the pursuit of justice for children, as a social worker, attorney, Juvenile Court Judge, and Court of Appeal Judge. His intellectual interests included the influence of Old Testament law on American law and values. A prolific writer and speaker, the Judge lectured at conferences around the world on a variety of topics, most notably child welfare and the ethical treatment of animals. His articles were published in the Journal of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The Practicing Law Institute, The American Medical Association, the Louisiana Bar Journal, and many other books and publications. As an adjunct professor, he taught graduate and undergraduate students at Tulane and Loyola Universities. Following retirement after 33 years on the bench, the Judge, a proud Army veteran, served as Commander of the greater New Orleans Chapter of the Jewish War Veterans, the oldest active national veterans service organization in America. His numerous honors include "Citizen of the Year" by the Louisiana State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, "Alumnus of the Year" by the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, and the Alfred E. Clay award for significant contributions to children by the Children’s Bureau of Greater New Orleans. He delivered commencement addresses at the Tulane University Graduate School of Social Work and the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. The National Organization of Forensic Social Work established the "Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award" in 2011, which is the “highest award bestowed upon an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the forensic social work profession, public welfare, and humankind.” In 2013, he was selected as a "People's Health Champion" for revitalizing the local Jewish War Veterans post. Judge Sol was a board member of numerous organizations, including The American Humane Association Children's Division, the Louisiana SPCA, the Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission, and the Jewish Welfare Federation of Greater New Orleans. The Judge loved telling jokes. He had an encyclopedic recall for the appropriate, or inappropriate, joke for every situation and occasion. He delivered thousands of punch lines in his impeccable Yiddish accent: “There once came walking down the road these two . . .” More than work or humor, Judge Sol was devoted to Jackie, his beloved bride of 62 years. Their legacy of love are five children - Yaacov and partner LouAnn, Eddie and wife Blayne, Andy and wife Julie, Shayna and husband Eric, Sander and wife Julie. Judge Sol was “Honey” to his eleven grandchildren - Aimee, Taylor, Ben, Daniel, Tara, Sidnie, Gabriel, Mikayla, Maya, Lindsay, and Jeremy; and great grandchildren August and Magnolia. Sol and Jackie were soul mates, and they loved life - travel, laughing, their many dogs, hiking, Israel, gardening, family celebrations, music, holding hands, mountains, whitewater rafting, neighbors, seders, reading, nature, television miniseries, giving charity, live theater, dancing, dessert, wildlife, the Saints and the Pelicans. They abhorred racism, violence, intolerance, cruelty and injustice. Dad/Honey, We love you eternally. We miss you terribly. We will be forever enriched by your life, your love, your inspiration, your light.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Jackie & Sol Gothard Memorial Fund at Congregation Beth Israel ( or the charity of your choice. A private service and interment was held on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. To view and sign the guest book, please visit


Sol Gothard

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Kerry Ermon

July 30, 2020

I just recently learned of Judge Gothard's passing. Let me first simply say this: Judge Gothard was my hero. He was and has been my hero since 1980 when I started to appear in his Court on a regular basis as a social worker for Hope Haven-Madonna Manor. Oh, I had seen and closely observed this great man as a young teenager and college student when I attended Beth Israel on Canal Blvd. with my mother, Shirley Eason and grandmother, Dora Heiman. Even then, more than anyone else in schule, I was glued to his every move. I couldn't help but notice the care and precision he took in guiding his young, curly-haired son to the customs and traditions of Judaism. I'm embarrassed to say but I sometimes focused more on him than the Rabbi and his teachings of the day. But it's true. Little did I know that come 1982, I would be in his court over and over and over again representing my boys at Hope Haven and then, two years later, when I transferred to the State Child Protection Agency, those children in State's custody, as well. I appeared in many juvenile court judges in my 30-year career but I was most excited and on my toes when I knew it was “his” court I was appearing in that day. He was the Master! He took control and he was a straight-shooter from his first words to his last. I loved that about him. Don't cross Judge Gothard and be prepared to represent your child. I did that each time so he liked and respected me right from the beginning. Although he was as serious as a heart attack, he also threw in humor and wit at every opportunity. Seems impossible to do both well, but he did! I learned a lot from him and admired every word that came out of this man's mouth each and every time he spoke.
I saw him many times at schul or the uptown JCC or other religious functions and was always delighted and awed to see “my hero” again. He was a Judge above all other judges in my book. That will never change! I'll miss that hero!

Jody Trapani

July 28, 2020

The Trapani family send our condolences. Sol will always be remembered..

Sheldon Clare

July 16, 2020

Sol Gothard was my sister Bernice Clare Gothard's brother-in-law. I connected with him for many years and had very good and interesting conversations. May he rest in peace.

Hazel Schlueter

July 16, 2020

I would see Judge Sol at the JCC gym where we would talk about the music on my radio show. Before you would know it, he would burst into song and expect me to sing along. I always did. I will dedicate the music to his memory this Sunday WWOZ 10 am. He was a grand guy.

Sally Kansas

July 14, 2020

What a wonderful wonderful man your father and grandfather was, and what a terrible loss for everyone who was blessed to know him.
He was an amazing person and this community was also blessed to have him as a leader and advocate. Take comfort in knowing how much he was admired, respected and loved. We always had such a great time in his company and cherished the times together with your parents. Sending love to everyone,

Dean Pelias

July 13, 2020

Judge Gothard was always a fair man , knowledgeable full of hutzpah, chokmah, and musar. It was always a pleasant event with Judge Gothard from his many tales of Israel to running 12 miles on the levee with his knee braces. Much condolence to the Gothard family . Godspeed to Judge Gothard !

Bill and Shelby Jennings

July 13, 2020

Friends through Ochsner Fitness Center where we swam, worked-out and socialized with Jackie. Sol often attended our group breakfasts and other social functions. We gave many good memories

Herbert Miller

July 8, 2020

For over a year, when the first Metairie JCC was located next to the Elmwood Canal, I worked out several nights a week and exchanged jokes with a man I only knew as “Sol”, a man whose wit and humor I thoroughly enjoyed. I did not know his last name. One night, another man came into the gym and called him “Judge Gothard”. I was at the time employed by Jefferson Parish and knew the name “Judge Sol Gothard” but until then never realized that Sol and the Judge were the same person. Every judge I had met until that time and since in any social setting – and there have many – let me know within a few minutes of meeting them that they were a judge. I told Sol that I was surprised he never mentioned that. He replied, “When I am on the bench, you had best respect me as Judge Gothard. When I take off the robe, I am just Sol.” Over the next few decades, I enjoyed talking to Sol and exchanging jokes whenever we met at the JCC or in a social setting. If there is ever a picture in the Jewish dictionary next to the definition of “Mensch”, it will be his.

Karen Sher

July 7, 2020

Leopold and I will miss Sol so much. What wonderful friends he and his incredible Jackie were to us! How good he was to my father-in-law of blessed memory! What sweet memories Leopold and I have of being with them in Israel and Paris! I will never forget how much we enjoyed watching Sol perform the role of Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof. What a good role model Sol was for us. Wish he, and the incomparable Jackie, of blessed memory, could have lived longer. What angels they were and how much happiness they both soread! Sol was a Honey!!!♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

Richard Ducote

July 7, 2020

What a life well lived! Sol was an outstanding social worker, friend, war veteran, judge, humanitarian, father, wit, teacher, mentor, and citizen! I could not begin to estimate the number of lives he has touched in very positive ways, and I suggest that when we are renaming streets, buildings, parks and other public facilities the name Sol Gothard be placed high on the list of new honorees!