David Solomon, a prominent attorney and lifelong resident of Helena, Ark., died Thursday morning, March 23 at his home. Last July he celebrated his 100th birthday with a community-wide celebration.
He is survived by his three sons and their wives, five grandchildren and their spouses, two great-grandsons, and numerous nieces and nephews and their children. His wife of 69 years, Miriam Rayman Solomon, predeceased him in 2011.
Solomon was a leader of the bar in Phillips County, as well as the State of Arkansas. He was admitted to practice in Arkansas and Tennessee in 1939, after receiving an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in that same year. Prior to entering law school, he graduated from Washington University at Saint Louis. He returned home following law school and began to practice law.
After serving three years in the Army during World War II, he again returned to Helena and reopened an office on Cherry Street where he practiced until 2015. He was honored in 2014 by the Arkansas Bar Foundation for his 75 years of active practice, which was thought to be a record.
Solomon was always a solo practitioner whose practice ranged from helping individuals with minor or major legal challenges to complicated corporate transactions. He was a top trial attorney, who was invited to become a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
His prominence in the state bar is evidenced by the fact that he held every office in the Arkansas Bar Association except president, which he declined.
He was for many years the Chair of the Fellows of the Arkansas Bar Foundation. On two occasions (1972 and 1989) when all of the justices on the Arkansas Supreme Court recused themselves, he was appointed as a Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
He served as a delegate to the Arkansas State Constitutional Convention in 1969. Locally, he was the Helena City Attorney in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Solomon was active in promoting industrial development locally and regionally. He was appointed by Governor David Pryor to the Arkansas State Highway Commission in 1975, and was Chairman in 1984-1985. For fifty years, he led the White River Drainage District and was a member of the executive committee of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Commission.
He was a long-serving director of the First National Bank of Phillips County, then of Southern Bancorp. When Worthen Bank sought several outside directors, he was selected. He was the pro bono attorney for the Helena Hospital and later the Helena Health Foundation and also served several terms on the Helena School Board.
In addition to his legal, banking, and pro bono work, he managed Solomon Farms LLC, his family’s farming interests.
David Solomon married Miriam Rayman, also a life-time resident of Helena, in 1942. Together they raised three sons in Helena, David (Nancy) a retired New York City businessman, Rayman (Carol) of Merion, Pa., dean emeritus at Rutgers Law School, and Lafe (Catherine) of Washington, D.C., a retired senior federal official.
David Solomon, like his father and uncles, was a life-long member of Temple Beth El in Helena. He and Miriam were active in the life of the congregation, and after it closed its doors they held services in their home. David served many years as president of the congregation and warden of the cemetery.
Funeral services will be held at Beth El Heritage House, 406 Perry St., Helena at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29th. Burial will immediately follow at Temple Beth El Cemetery. Following the burial, the family will receive friends and visitors at the Solomon home, 142 Stonebrook in Helena.
Memorials may be sent to The David Solomon Scholarship Fund at the Arkansas Bar Foundation, http://www.arkansasbarfoundation.com/make-a-payment, or to the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, http://www.isjl.org/memorials–honorariums.html.
Funeral services will be directed by Roller-Citizens Funeral Home, West Helena (870) 572-2571.