Beloved Cuyahoga Falls tax attorney remembered
Legal News Reporter
Published: April 12, 2017
He spent the early part of his career working for the Internal Revenue Service, but family and colleagues say John A. Nehrer’s true calling was the law.
In fact Nehrer enjoyed practicing so much that he refused to retire until he was in his late ‘80s.
The longtime Cuyahoga Falls tax and estate planning attorney passed away on March 14. He was 90.
“My father loved working with people and finding solutions to their problems,” said his daughter attorney Lori Nehrer. “For many years, his office was right next to mine.
“He worked very hard to become a lawyer and he never wanted to retire. He did not go on inactive status until he was 88.”
Sole practitioner James Chapman described Nehrer as a “‘lawyer’s lawyer.’
“John thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing and he did it well. He and I took the bar exam together 51 years ago.
“We shared office space and I referred clients to him over the years. Every client I sent him left satisfied.”
Born on June 12, 1926 in Parma, Ohio to Elizabeth and Joseph Nehrer, he was the youngest of their three children.
“My grandmother was an immigrant,” said Lori. “My dad came from very humble beginnings and he worked hard to make a life for himself.” After graduating from Parma High School, Nehrer enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving during World War II.
When he returned, he enrolled at Kent State University, securing a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
It was during his time at Kent State that he met his wife Harriet. The two got married in 1951 and moved to Silver Lake in the 1970s. They had three children. His wife passed away in 2006.
Shortly after graduating college, Nehrer got a job in the Youngstown office of the Internal Revenue Service, working during the day and attending The University of Akron School of Law at night.
He passed the bar exam at age 40 and opened his own practice.
“My father was a sole practitioner most of his career, but he shared office space with other attorneys in Cuyahoga Falls and Akron,” said Lori.
Retired attorney Bob McDowall was among those who shared workspace with Nehrer.
“John was a very ethical attorney and he had a solid finance background,” said McDowall. “Over the years, we sometimes were on the opposite sides of cases.
“He was fair and thorough and opposing counsel needed to be prepared,” he said. “We often ate lunch together as friends.”
Since the mid-1980s Nehrer’s office was located at 111 Stow Ave. in Cuyahoga Falls, and until recently, he shared office space with his daughter’s firm Nehrer & Kassinger.
“I now practice with my husband, but from 1985 until 1995 my dad and I had our own firm Nehrer & Nehrer,” she said.
“My father mentored a number of younger attorneys, including myself,” said Lori. “He was very personable and an ‘old school’ gentleman.
“Growing up he always made it clear to me and my siblings that there was never any limit as to what we could achieve. He supported anything we wanted to do.”
Wadsworth attorney Julia Cain said Nehrer was one of her go-to attorneys when she had a question about probate or estate planning matters.
“I met him many years ago through his daughter Lori,” said Cain. “He and I did some of the same work. I had a lot of respect for him and I would refer clients to him if they had tax issues.
“He was very professional and kind. He would go out of his way for you. I remember that he was a dapper dresser. He remained vital and sharp until his last days.”
Michael Malyuk, an attorney in The Law Office of Michael A. Malyuk, described Nehrer as a “scholar and a gentleman.
“Over the years, I have had contact with John,” said Malyuk. “I now sit in an office building that once housed him and other fine attorneys here in Cuyahoga Falls.
“I will remember him as a tall, quiet, steady and effective attorney.”
A longtime member of the Akron and Ohio State bar associations, Nehrer spent a lot of his free time on the golf course.
“John loved to golf,” said Chapman. “He was a member of the Silver Lake Country Club and he would go golfing three or four times a week.
“Over the years, John and I became good friends. He thoroughly enjoyed life, loved to have a good time and loved good food. In the 1980s and 1990s, we would often go to Nick Anthe’s restaurant.
“I remember that in addition to Italian dressing on his salad, John would always pay more to have crumbled blue cheese added on top.
“He also loved to travel. He and Harriet visited more countries than I can remember.”
His daughter said he also enjoyed spending time with his 10 grandchildren.
A private memorial was held on March 18 to pay tribute to Nehrer’s life.
“I will remember John as the man who always had a smile on his face and a great sense of humor,” said Chapman.
Nehrer is survived by his son, John Nehrer Jr.; daughter, Lori Nehrer and her husband, John Kassinger; son-in-law, Bryan E. Wilson; grandchildren, Zoe and John Nehrer, Lauren (Greg) Thorson, Robert, Jenna and Marissa Kassinger, Rachel, Erin, Bryan A. and Jay Wilson and loving companion Hellena Villemain.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Harriet, and daughter, Joy Wilson.
This summer Nehrer’s ashes will be spread in the rose garden of Unity Village in Kansas City, Missouri, the same place where his wife and daughter’s ashes are located.