Obituary: Norman G. Orodenker, 86

by | Feb 20, 2020

Norman G. Orodenker, 86, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 18. The beloved husband of Sylvia (Goldberg) Orodenker, they were married for 62 years. Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Samuel and Anna (Kagan) Orodenker.

Mr. Orodenker was a graduate of Classical High School; received his Bachelor’s degree from Brown University, A.B. cum laude, 1955, Phi Beta Kappa and received his J.D. from Columbia University in 1958. He was admitted to Rhode Island Bar in 1958. He was a Senior Partner at Tillinghast, Licht, Perkins, Smith, and Cohen; Legal Counsel at the Department of Employment Security, 1960-1962; Chief Legal Counsel for all Rhode Island Departments of State Government, 1969-1972; Chief Legal Counsel of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, 1972-1974; and Chief Legal Counsel of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, 1974-1982. He first became active in social action as a member of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island Community Relations Council more than three decades ago. Through the years, he has devoted himself to the principles of promoting an inter-connection to all people regardless of faith, color, nationality, or gender. As chairman, president and member of a number of social reform and justice organizations, Mr. Orodenker has fought for the freedom and liberty of everyone while also being a champion against homelessness and poverty. His principle of using non-violence and educating the public of the plight of the poor and unfortunate has helped to bring about positive social changes throughout the community.

Over the years, Norman Orodenker has held leadership roles in a number of communities, charitable and religious organizations. His commitment and dedication to community includes active participation in the following organizations: President of The Jewish Family Services as well as The Urban League of Rhode Island; Board member of the Rhode Island Civil Rights Commission; Chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Advisory Commission; Chair of the Providence Police Advisory Committee; Chair, Task Force on State Unified Police Training Academy; Chair of the Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice and Bias; Co-Chair of the Black Jewish Alliance; Co-Chair of the Latino Jewish Alliance; Co-Chair of the Muslim Jewish Alliance; Legal Council for Right Now!; Lifespan Board of Governors; Participant in Human Rights and Criminal Justice Seminar at Harvard John F. Kennedy School for Justice.

In addition to the organizations listed above Orodenker has also served the community in the past; Co-Chair of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Bigotry; Co-Chair on the Governor’s Summit on Diversity in 1999; Co-Founder of the Rhode Island Coalition on Mental Health; Chair of the Governor’s Council of Mental Health; National Co-Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Advisory Committee, Committee on Inter-faith Relations; Vice President and Past Board of Directors member of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island; National Founding Board member of Commercial Law Affiliates; Past-Chair, Jewish Community Relations Council; Chair of the Cranston Diversity Advisory Committee. He was also a life member of the National Registry of Who’s Who.

Mr. Orodenker was a fighter for the freedom of all people. Over the years, he worked hard to bring about the Board of Trustees to the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and the National Trustee of the National Conference for Community and Justice. As well as doing Pro Bono work for minority communities such as the RI Indian Council and other minority groups.

Norman Orodenker has been recognized for his commitment, dedication, and passion involving social change and justice. He was a recipient of the NCCJ Humanitarian Award in 1999, recipient of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island Ress Community Service Award in 2004, recipient of the Urban League Humanitarian Award in 2004, and received the Martindale-Hubbell rating AV which is the highest rating given to attorneys. He was the recipient of the 1st annual Norman G. Orodenker Peacemaker Award from the RI Commission of Prejudice and Bias, at Roger Williams University.

Norman was a dedicated and loving family man.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his children Daniel (Lynn Miura) of Hawaii, Judith (Mark DeBinder) of Smithfield, and Joshua (Kathleen DeBlasio) of East Greenwich; sisters Eunice Shatz (Katherine Gabel) and Marcia (Conor) Power; grandchildren Rachel, Ariel, Andrew, Aiden, Kalani, Mark Jr., and Daniel; and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Vivian Kolodny.

Funeral services will be held Friday, February 21st at 11:00 AM at Sugarman-Sinai Memorial Chapel, 458 Hope St, Providence with burial to follow in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Jewish Family Services, www. or to the RI Indian Council, Shiva will be held at his late residence on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

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