It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we inform everyone that Michael Stark has passed away. Mike was a Co-Founder of Stark & Knoll in 1985. He served as the initial Managing Partner from the inception of the firm until 1997. In addition to being an outstanding attorney and counselor to his many clients, Mike was a colleague, mentor and friend to us all.
Mike was known as a leader in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate and Corporate Law, and has been advising and counseling clients in these areas for his entire career. He was a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Lawyers and a past Academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law. In addition, Mike served as an adjunct professor of the Master of Taxation program at The University of Akron since 1981. In addition to representing many families with their estate planning and business needs, Mike has participated and handled over 100 mergers and acquisitions (and related corporate transactions) on behalf of his clients.
Throughout his career, Mike built a reputation for being a practical lawyer who would counsel his clients to fair resolutions. But more importantly than being an outstanding attorney, Mike taught us all the importance of giving back to the local community. Mike served on many boards and foundations, including the following foundations and not for profit organizations that were near and dear to his heart:
1) The Akron Zoo;
2) Akron Rural Cemetery Association (Glendale Cemetery);
3) Lehner Family Foundation;
4) Robert O. and Annamae Orr Foundation;
5) Bluecoats, Inc.;
6) Embracing Futures (formerly the Beacon Journal Charity Fund); and
7) Portage Country Club (past Board Chair).
He did all of this not for any personal reward but because he cared about his community. At each stop, he left the place far better than when he arrived.
Mike continuously imparted wisdom on the firm's partners, and steadfastly counseled the firm's younger attorneys, all of whom to this day refer to him as both a mentor and a friend. We are proud of the firm Mike helped to create, and in our treatment of clients, opposing counsel, and colleagues we will continue to be guided by the sterling example set forth by Mike. The Stark name will continue to grace the front of our building and we are privileged to continue to represent so many of the clients Mike brought to this firm many, many years ago. Rest in peace Mike.