Richard Ansell

October 28, 1942September 6, 2021

Richard Ansell, Esq., son of the late Leon and Doris Anschelewitz and brother of the late and great David Ansell, was born on October 28, 1942, in Neptune Township, New Jersey. He passed away peacefully at home following an unexpectedly long and surprisingly pleasant battle with cancer. Richard is survived by his absurdly loving wife of 38 years, Debbie; four children, Caroline, Margaret Podell (Lance), John, and Michael (Stephanie); five grandchildren, Ethan, Mallory, Gillian, Ryder, and Mason; two brothers, Robert and Jack; his first wife and lifelong friend, Connie; and an unaccounted-for number of people whom he offended throughout his life due to his love of sarcasm and off-color jokes, all of whom loved him dearly and will always remember his compassion, charm, wit, and steadiness on his feet. Richard received both his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Virginia, quite a feat for a Jewish boy from New Jersey in the 60s. He cherished his time there, especially his fourth year living on “The Lawn.” Richard practiced law for over 50 years, spending his entire career with the firm co-founded by his father and now known as Ansell Grimm & Aaron, continuing what became a long trend of nepotism. He started as a jack of all trades and eventually focused his career on civil litigation. During his many years of practice, Richard had a plethora of memorable cases and significant victories. In 1970, he traveled to Vietnam during the war, successfully defending a U.S. soldier accused of 1st degree murder. He also took a medical malpractice case to the New Jersey Supreme Court, resulting in a ruling that ultimately changed the law in NJ and then across the country regarding the issue of informed consent from patients. He was also a fierce defender of women’s reproductive rights, obtaining a first-of-its-kind injunction against protestors on behalf of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Richard was a zealous advocate for his clients, but he was also a consummate professional to the Court and his adversaries alike. He received the 2018 Abraham J. Zager Professionalism Award from the Monmouth Bar Association, celebrating his career-long commitment to the highest professional standards. Most importantly, Richard loved his family and friends. His greatest joy was sitting on his front porch holding court and imploring all those who visited to tour his grounds. There was never a bail he wasn’t willing to pay, an inner-city church he wasn’t willing to donate to, or a roast he wasn’t happy to give. He loved to “help” his wife cook, usually resulting in broken glass, burnt food, and stitches. When he wasn’t helping in the kitchen, Richard could usually be found weeding in the yard, which he approached in the same way a Buddhist monk approaches sand raking. It was his quiet time for peace, reflection, and back pain. Although not one to express it, Richard’s actions always exhibited an empathy and bottomless well of patience for everyone in his life. He was the person you’d call when you most needed help, and he never judged you for it. Richard managed to live a long and full life despite being written off many times. He loved hard, travelled far, and lived a life unbound by others’ expectations. In his final moments, he reflected on his philosophy of life as expressed in his favorite proverb: Things done by halves are worthless; it may be the other half that counts. Services will be held for vaccinated and masked guests on Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels, 2130 Hwy. 35, Ocean, NJ 07712, with a private burial to follow. The family will be sitting Shiva between 4:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 415 Runyan Avenue, Deal Park, NJ 07723. In lieu of flowers or food, Richard wished for everyone reading this to be kinder to each other and to make donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, Rising Treetops at Oakhurst, or Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey.


  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, September 9, 2021


Richard Ansell

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Ronald Kamm

September 16, 2021

I just heard about Richard‘s passing. To Debbie and the family, I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember Richard as someone with a great sense of humor, very generous and warm. His intellect was also always apparent. Love, Ron and Sharon Kamm

Michele Lanfrank

September 10, 2021

My sincerest condolences to Richard’s family, friends, firm, and our community. The loss is as big as Richard’s legacy.


Jack Mullaney

September 9, 2021

Condolences to Richard's family.
I have known Richard for at Least 4o years. He was a character.
My favorite story about Richard occurred when I was sitting in Civil.
He was assigned to me for trial. The case involved an amputation of a leg. I knew it would settle. His adversary was last minute substitute and the file was poorly prepared. He sensed his adversary's situation. I then had to sit through 1/2 hour of his torturing his adversary when I said enough. If this doesn't settle we'll pick a jury. At that point Richard picked up his cell phone and placed a call (phony call ) to an unnamed associate to bring the ice filled cooler into the courtroom. His adversary in a panic wanted to know why such a cooler was necessary. He calmly replied "That's where I have the amputated leg stored".
Needless to say the case settled, but I don't know if Richard's adversary has recovered to this day.

Judge Mullaney

Judith Bernstein

September 9, 2021

I remember him sooooo fondly at Asbury Park High!!! RIP Richie!!!

Peggie Schaefer

September 9, 2021

I hold the most pleasant memories of Richard, Connie, Caroline, Margaret and John, having been their live-in mother's helper the summer before 8th grade, through my entire year of 8th grade. So kind and funny, a great father and cherished mentor, to a very impressionistic young lady. Friday night pizza from Freddie's, black-cherry soda, popsicles and listening to Sweet Baby James over and over. May you rest in eternal peace, dear Richard.

Beth Barrettt

September 9, 2021

My deepest condolences to Richard’s family. I am so sad to hear about Richards passing. He has been taken way to soon.

Warmest Regards,

Beth Barrett

Marilyn Tomaino

September 8, 2021

My deepest sympathy to Debbie, Connie & the entire family! Here’s to one of the good guys! So sad!

Darryl Teel

September 8, 2021

I met Richard in 1986 while serving in the Army at Ft Monmouth. Years later my wife was in a terrible accident and Richard represented her. We became personal friends and it was a joy to have him as a friend. He came to my wife’s funeral who passed of cancer as well 4 yrs ago. He was the hardest working guy I knew. He will be deeply missed. Rest In Peace Richard.

Love Darryl Teel

John Orlovsky

September 8, 2021

You had to know Richard to love him. He was a tenacious adversary whom I fought with on many occasions always with the greatest respect and admiration. I enjoyed his company and his unique warmth behind his sometimes hard exterior. Richard I was blessed to work with you know you as a wonderful giving man. I grew to love you for who you were and what you stood for. I will mis you.

John Orlovsky

sharon Sylvestro

September 8, 2021

To the most loving, caring, and beyond wise person I know, you will be truly missed. When they say only the good die young, I find this true in your passing. You’ve done amazing job on this earth and I believe they need you in a higher position . Debbie and you are a unique and beautiful couple and your love for each other, and the love you both bring to everyone is just beautiful. I wanted to say I have been blessed to have you in my life- Debbie and you have always welcomed my children, and me with open arms - And always made me feel safe and comfortable and most importantly loved and gave me the confidence to conquer all obstacles in my life. You are truly my hero - and I will miss you terribly. I will pray your at peace - until we meet again ❤️