Feb. 11, 2021 - Alumni, faculty, staff, former colleagues and friends remembered University of Houston Law Center Professor Peter S. Linzer for his love of life and ideas, his adamant support of younger colleagues and other fond recollections during a virtual memorial on Tuesday.
"Peter achieved many accomplishments during life," said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. "He had a superior intellect, he was a First Amendment absolutist, he was memorable and he had strong opinions. Peter had a strong presence at faculty meetings and he engaged in strong, lawyerly advocacy to get his points across. He will be greatly missed."
Prior to eulogies delivered by Linzer's colleagues, attendees reflected on their memories of him during a moment of silence.
Hon. Alvin Zimmerman '67 was the first of several speakers to reflect on the impact Linzer made on their lives.
"Things that impressed me about Peter were his joy for life, his quirkiness and his quest for knowledge. He was a professional and expert in every field that he taught. He wrote amicus curiae briefs that were filed and accepted in the Supreme Court of the United States.
“He was one of the most fervent advocates, both trial and appellate, for the ACLU. He had this adventurous mind that seemed to be on full throttle all the time."
Professor Emeritus Laura Oren recalled her time as Linzer's suitemate at the Law Center, and how her exchanges with him and others covered a vast array of topics.
"I think of him most of all as a tremendous enthusiast," she said. "He loved finding little things in the law, pointing them out and debating them. Peter had a lot of different areas of knowledge, whether it was the ability to read foreign languages fluently or history. He was enthusiastic not just for legal knowledge, but all kinds of knowledge."
Professor Meredith J. Duncan '93 reflected on her return to the Law Center as a faculty member, and Linzer's willingness to help.
"I remember my first faculty meeting very well," Duncan said. "Peter was kind enough to sit next to me, and he narrated and provided commentary throughout the whole faculty meeting. I learned very quickly what these meetings were about.
"He was always very supportive of me. All of us who knew Peter know that he was larger than life. When I picture Peter, he always had a Styrofoam cup of coffee in one hand and a stack of paper and books in the other as he was dashing through the halls. Behind all of that was a man who had a brilliant mind, who loved teaching and loved his students and loved the law."
Professor David Dow echoed Duncan's sentiments, and admired how Linzer would encourage and seek opportunities for junior faculty members.
"The principle lesson I take away from Peter as a faculty member is that as a colleague, you can either do your best to nurture other people, or you can ignore other people," Dow said. "Peter was somebody who spent his entire career nurturing other people, and made other people better because of that."
Linzer passed away on Dec. 13 from a long-term illness. He is survived by a wife, son and grandson.
Linzer joined the Law Center faculty in 1983 as a visiting professor, serving from 1984 to 2020 as a professor of Contracts, Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Torts, and Contract Negotiation and Drafting.
Linzer was a Life Member of the American Law Institute, chair of the Contracts Section of the Association of American Law Schools and a board-certified specialist in civil appellate law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He served for nearly a decade on the Pattern Jury Charge Committee of the State Bar of Texas and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Eleventh International Contracts Conference held in San Antonio.
He authored many articles, book chapters and reviews on contracts, torts and arbitration and served as a contributor on legal topics to radio and television programs in both Houston and Detroit on contract and constitutional issues.
Memorial donations honoring Linzer may be made to Doctors without Borders, the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. The charity can be acknowledged by sending an email to Rhea Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail to her c/o of the Law Center.
Doctors without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders
40 Rector St., 16th Floor
New York, NY 10006
American Cancer Society
2500 Fondren Rd.
Houston, TX 77063
University of Houston Law Foundation Attn:
Peter S. Linzer Memorial Fund
4604 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204-606