Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 20, 2017


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Veteran Attorney Malcolm J. Romano, 78, Dies

Was a ‘Pillar’ of the Italian American Lawyers Association


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Services are pending for Malcolm J. Romano, an attorney for 41 years, who died Wednesday at age 78.

Romano was not known to be in ill health, other than what one friend of his described as a “broken heart.” He was deeply affected by the passing of his wife, Mary Romano, on Sept. 12, 2016.

The attorney was inducted into the Italian American Lawyers Association Hall of Fame at a dinner on May 17.

“It was never anything less than joy to be around Malcolm and Mary,” retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Phillip Argento, a founding member of the IALA, said yesterday. “He was a true gentleman, a man of qualities we should all aspire to.”

Honor, Gentlemanliness

Deputy Attorney General Stephen Mesi, a past president, offered these words:

“Malcolm was a proud Italian-American, a loving and loyal husband, father, and friend, and he personified honor and gentlemanliness. I’m so sad he’s gone but so thankful to have known him. At last he will be reunited with Mary in the great opera house on high.”

Retired U.S. District Court Judge George Schiavelli, an IALA past president, observed:

“To say I am deeply saddened would be a grievous understatement. He was always so vibrant and energetic that he appeared much younger than his age. He was a friend to the IALA members and the organization itself. The IALA was an integral part of his extended family. 

“I cannot conceive of future meetings without Malcolm’s ever smiling face and sunny disposition. It is truly a dark day for the IALA.”


Attorney Malcolm J. Romano is seen with his wife, Mary Romano, in a photograph taken about 10 years ago at an Italian American Lawyers Association meeting. Malcolm Romano died Wednes­day, and was predeceased by his wife, who succumbed to cancer last year.


‘Real Gentleman’

IALA Past President Philip W. Bartenetti, of Clark Trevithick, commented:

 “What a shock. Malcolm was a real gentleman and a pleasure to be around. He and I spent a few years working on organizing the 1992 Quincentenary Event along with Marcella Tyler. Carrying the Italian banner for the Rose Bowl 1994 World Cup Opening Ceremonies also was a highlight for us. He leaves many great memories.”

Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bruce J. Sottile, a past IALA president, said:

“Malcolm was a devoted husband and a loving father. He was a man of high principles and a true friend to those who knew him. He will be sorely missed by his two wonderful sons and his many dear friends.”

‘Superb Patent Lawyer’

Lawrence W. Crispo, also a retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge and past president of the group, reflected:

“I enjoyed dinner with Malcolm several weeks ago. I am shocked and saddened by his sudden passing.

Malcolm was a superb patent lawyer with whom I consulted from time to time about patent issues. But more importantly he will be long remembered by many of us as a great friend, a wise man, a true Renaissance man.”

Romano was present last week, in seemingly good health, at an Italian American Heritage Month celebration at City Hall.

“To his last moment, he was a key part of our IALA Board and lifetime friend to each of us and IALA itself,” the group’s current president, Lydia Liberio, said.

Native of Brooklyn

Born in Brooklyn, he received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1964, then a master’s degree in engineering from UCLA in 1969. His 1975 law degree is from Western State College of Law.

Romano was registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.


Romano is seen in a photograph taken May 17 at a dinner at which he received an award marking his induction into the Italian American Lawyers Association Hall of Fame. At right is IALA President Lydia Liberio.


He is survived by his two sons, Mark, a cardio thoracic and heart transplant surgeon, and Matthew, an orthodontist and naval officer.




Malcolm Romano: Lawyer, Engineer, IALA Stalwart, Family Man




(The recollections below, from a long-time friend of Malcolm J. Romano, are in response to a request from the MetNews. Cacciatore, a practitioner in Pasadena, is a past president of the Italian American Lawyers Association.)


Malcolm used to tell the story of seeing Mary in the neighborhood in the part of New York City where he was raised. They were teenagers. He would see her walking down the street and said that he knew immediately that he was smitten. The fact that they came from very different backgrounds didn’t matter a bit. Malcolm was of Sicilian Catholic heritage and Mary was Albanian, a Muslim, but none of that mattered. I think they were married at a young age but I’m just not sure because I didn’t know him until many years later, but I did see wedding pictures in their house and they look like teenagers to me. We attended their 50th wedding anniversary, but that was 8 to 10 years ago.

Malcolm was always good at science and technology and trained as an electrical engineer, and was very proud of the fact that he made an early electronic ignition system for his Alfa Romeo Guiletta sports car long before they were commercially available.

I know he came to California working for one of the big defense contractors but then decided to attend law school. Mary was a schoolteacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District for more than 35 years. It was difficult with two young sons but he persevered and became a patent attorney.

Meeting Judge Frisco

 He used to like to tell the story that one day he was speeding on the Santa Ana Freeway and got a ticket. He appeared in court fortunately in front of the Hon. Charlie Frisco in Norwalk. Judge Frisco [since deceased] called his name and in the midst of asking him why he was speeding and how he pled, started speaking Italian from the bench, and Malcolm knew it well enough to respond well. Luckily they both spoke the Sicilian dialect. During that exchange the judge instructed him to have a seat and wait. After court was done Judge Frisco called him into chambers and said, “ listen, I have to give you a fine but I enjoyed speaking to you and told him that he should become a member of the Italian American lawyers.” Malcolm knew nothing about it.

 Charlie invited him to the next meeting and of course Malcolm became a pillar of our organization from that day forward.

In 1992, Malcolm along with several others leaders in the community co-chaired the quin-Centenary commemoration of Christopher Columbus exploration of the New World. Malcolm chaired a gala at the universal Sheraton attended by nearly 1000 people. The event was a huge success in great part due to his work

He was a member of the California Yacht Club and would frequently charter sailboats to Avalon and up and down the coast with Mary and guests.

Varied Employment

 His employment ranged from private law firms, Parker Christie and Hale as patent counsel, and later several major corporations such as Lear Sigler, St. Jude Medical Corporation, MiniMed Corporation, a diabetes infusion pump manufacturer, and later to the Alfred Mann foundation.

 Alfred Mann was one of the wealthiest men in the United States and met Malcolm and Mary through the Los Angeles Opera Guild. He learned that Malcolm was a patent attorney, had an engineering background and was a man of culture and art, and immediately hired him for one of his companies and then for his foundation where he worked until his retirement.

In his last years Malcolm spent his time caring for his beloved wife Mary who had been fighting cancer for many years. Together they sought treatment around the country and around the world to help ameliorate her disease and suffering. She finally lost that battle last year, and many would believe that he never really recovered from that loss.

His real name was not Malcolm. There are very few Italian guys named Malcolm. The name he was born with was “Melchiorre”— pronounced Mel-key-o ray, and be sure to roll that “R.”


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