Ruth Silman, the first female managing partner at Nixon Peabody in Boston and long-time friend and Board Member of EBC, died June 30 after a yearslong battle with cancer. She was 52. Ruth leaves her husband, Tim, and children Phoebe and Jacob. She is dearly missed by all at the EBC and her family is in our thoughts as they go through this difficult time.
Donations in Ruth’s honor may be made to the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, 145 Bolton Road, Harvard MA, 01451, https://healinggardensupport.org/
Obituary - click to read
Ruth Silman, 52, wife of Timothy Clark and mother of Phoebe Clark and Jacob Clark, of Harvard, MA, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Ruth was a shining light, ensuring the world was better than she found it.
The youngest of three children of Robert and Roberta Silman, Ruth grew up in Ardsley, NY and Great Barrington, MA, with summers at the North Country Camps in the Adirondacks. A graduate of Cornell University and Boston University Law School, Ruth was a partner at Nixon Peabody, and recently served as the Office Managing Partner of the Boston office. A passionate lawyer and environmental advocate, Ruth also served on the boards of the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, the Cornell Outdoor Education Advisory Board, the North Country Camps Chief’s Fund, and the Environmental Business Council of New England, and was a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Ruth loved to hike and ski, was a gifted baker, and a devoted, generous and loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Her light has been dimmed too soon, but her example and impact on the world continue indefinitely.
Funeral services will be held Friday, July 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Harvard, MA, at 11:00am (join by zoom https://zoom.us/j/2419000813) with burial following in Bellevue Cemetery.
A Celebration of Life will be held on October 23, 2021.
Donations in Ruth’s honor may be made to the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, 145 Bolton Road, Harvard MA, 01451, https://healinggardensupport.org/.
Boston Globe - click to read
Ruth Silman, first female office managing partner at Nixon Peabody in Boston, dies from cancer
By Samantha Subin, Globe Correspondent, Updated July 1, 2021, 4:59 p.m.
Ruth Silman, first female managing partner at Nixon Peabody in Boston, died Thursday after a yearslong battle with cancer. She was 52.
When Paul Bouton interviewed Ruth Silman for an associate’s position at law firm Nixon Peabody in 2000, he remembers being so impressed that he gave her an offer before she left the building.
“She connected with people in a way that I haven’t seen very much in my career or life,” said Bouton, a partner in the firm’s affordable housing group in Boston who worked with Silman for more than 20 years. “She made a connection with me in fifteen minutes that I knew this woman needed to work at Nixon Peabody.”
Silman, who served as the firm’s first female office managing partner in Boston and was regarded by many colleagues as the heart and soul of the office, died Wednesday following a yearslong battle with a severe form of squamous cell carcinoma. She was 52.
“She will always be remembered as a strong and thoughtful colleague and friend who brought passion and energy in each interaction she had with both our clients and NP personnel,” Steve Zubiago, Nixon Peabody’s chief executive officer and managing partner, said in a firmwide memo.
Silman focused on environmental, energy, and land-use issues, and was especially dedicated to getting affordable housing built. She worked on “almost every” affordable housing project that came through the firm, Bouton said.
Some of her fondest professional accomplishments included her work on the Old Colony development in South Boston and the redevelopment of the Ames Shovel Works in Easton, Zubiago said in his memo.
“Everyone enjoyed working with her,” said Darcy Jameson, vice president of development at Beacon Communities, who worked on the Old Colony project with Silman for more than a decade. “I don’t know very many people who are as smart and as kind. She was a natural educator, a mentor, and friend to everyone.”
A graduate of Cornell University and Boston University School of Law, Silman joined Nixon Peabody after working in the Massachusetts attorney general’s office and as an associate at Anderson & Kreiger.
She served as office managing partner between 2016 and 2019, before stepping down to focus on her health, and guided the firm’s Boston office move in 2019 — which some colleagues nicknamed “the house that Ruth built.” Silman helped with artwork for the space, enlisting pieces from underresourced area youth and artists living with homelessness or disabilities, said Chris Froeb, comanaging partner of the Boston office at Nixon Peabody.
“She really took it upon herself to say, ‘We’re going to have a cool place, with cool art and a story to tell,’ ” he said. “I just wouldn’t have thought to do this.”
In her free time, Silman served as a mentor to dozens within the firm and beyond, and championed diversity and inclusion. She sat on the boards of the Environmental Business Council of New England and the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center. She enjoyed spending time with her family, the outdoors, and skiing, said Jameson, of Beacon Communities.
Silman’s father, Robert Silman, the structural engineer credited with saving Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pa., died in 2018. Silman leaves her husband, Tim, and children Phoebe and Jacob. Her memorial service will be held Friday in her hometown of Harvard.
Nixon Peabody In Memoriam - click to read more
Ruth H. Silman In Memoriam
Nixon Peabody has lost a dear colleague and friend in Ruth Silman. Ruth lived her life with strength, grace, and gratitude. She brought passion and energy in each interaction she had with both her clients and colleagues.
Ruth began her career at Nixon Peabody as an associate in 2000. She focused her practice on complex environmental, energy, and land use matters. Some of her proudest professional accomplishments include her work on the Old Colony development in South Boston, MA, and the redevelopment of the Ames Shovel Works in Easton, MA.
As the first female Office Managing Partner of Nixon Peabody’s Boston office, one of Ruth’s most visible contributions was her leadership in the buildout of the firm’s Boston office space, which opened in 2019. Colleagues have affectionately nicknamed the office, “the house that Ruth built.”
Outside of work, Ruth sat on the boards of the Environmental Business Council of New England and the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center in her hometown of Harvard, Massachusetts.
Ruth will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with her family.