January 21, 2002 - Press Democrat: Nigeria RPCV Steven Neustadter dies at 61

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nigeria: Peace Corps Nigeria : The Peace Corps in Nigeria: January 21, 2002 - Press Democrat: Nigeria RPCV Steven Neustadter dies at 61

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Nigeria RPCV Steven Neustadter dies at 61

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Jan 21, 2002 - Press Democrat Author(s): Chris Smith

Sebastopol attorney Steven Neustadter was perhaps best known in town as the amiable greeter who accepted patrons' tickets at musical performances of the Redwood Arts Council.

Neustadter, a faithful supporter of the group -- and the husband of its founder, Kit -- died during heart surgery Friday in Palo Alto. He was 61.

A 30-year resident of Occidental, Neustadter operated a private law practice in Sebastopol that in the past year came to focus entirely on mediation. He also taught mediation and negotiation at the Hastings and Stanford law school and to new attorneys at some Sonoma County law firms.

He was born in San Francisco and moved to Palo Alto at age 8. Between earning his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley and entering Hastings School of Law he served two and a half years with the Peace Corps in Nigeria.

As a new attorney, Neustadter worked for a San Francisco law firm, then hung his shingle at an office on Main Street in Sebastopol. Specializing in family law, he found himself increasingly interested in the mediation and negotiation that allowed adversaries in civil cases to come to agreement short of a trial.

Several years ago, Neustadter received a family law award created named for former Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rex Sater.

Kit Neustadter said he was keenly interested not only in mediation but in relationships and compassion -- interests that led him the practice of Buddhist meditation. Two years ago he traveled to Israel as part of a Compassionate Listening Project committed to seeking solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Neustadter's community work included nine years of service on the board of the Occidental area's Harmony Union School District.

He also was an original member of the board of the Redwood Arts Council, which produces small-venue chamber music performances.

"He was the ticket seller for 90 percent of the concerts he loved," said Kit Neustadter, the council's founder. "And he was my support."

In addition to music, Steven Neustadter loved football and basketball, the redwoods, Occidental, poetry, Japanese flower arranging and his wife and two daughters.

"He was definitely a family man. He was at everything we did and he supported us," said daughter Annie Neustadter, a nursing student at Johns Hopkins University.

Daughter Julie Neustadter, a facilities manager in San Francisco, said, "He had a wonderful way of making people feel at ease and comfortable and calm."

Neustadter underwent successful open-heart surgery nearly eight years ago. On Jan. 9, while teaching at the Stanford Law School, he went into the medical center because of discomfort and dizziness.

Doctors found he needed another bypass. His wife said that following surgery Friday his heart would not start.

A memorial service is at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Harmony School multi-purpose room.

Neustadter's family suggests contributions in lieu of flowers to the Redwood Arts Council, P.O. Box 449, Occidental 95465, or to MidEast Citizen Diplomacy/Compassionate Listening Project, P.O. Box 17, Indianola, WA 98342.

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