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A Nephew Remembers His Beloved Uncle — a Legacy Gift for Parkinson’s Research

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Rubin and Marian Ferziger

When Rubin Ferziger was in his 60s, he noticed that his memory wasn’t as sharp, and handwriting was getting difficult for him. He received the difficult diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

He began relying more heavily on voice dictation and other tools in his law practice so he didn’t have to type or write by hand. Then the disease started to affect his voice.

“Much to his unhappiness and sadness he had to retire early,” says Rubin’s nephew Leonard Friedman. “That was a very hard decision.  Rubin loved what he did, the people he helped, and the lifelong friendships that had come from his time in practice.”

Rubin’s wife, Marian, was his soulmate. They lived together, played together, and worked together for 40+ years.   He did the lawyering and she was the office manager/accountant.  Once Rubin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she also became his support system and eventually caregiver. Marian had survived breast cancer twice, and unfortunately later would be diagnosed with and die of lung cancer.

Despite the challenges they faced, they maintained a positive outlook and decided to do what they could to give back and help move research forward.  Giving back had always been important to the Ferzigers. After they retired, they threw themselves into philanthropy.

“Once you come down with a disease, you want to learn about it, what’s being done to treat it, and defeat it,” Leonard says. “When they started researching who’s making progress toward a Parkinson’s cure, they realized The Michael J. Fox Foundation is the premier foundation for PD research.”

The Ferzigers and Leonard and his wife Julie started doing the Foundation’s New York City Run/Walk together every year, raising about $5,000 before Marian’s death in 2021 and Rubin’s death in 2022.  Leonard and Julie, walked the event in 2022 in their honor, raising $1,700.  

Rubin and Marian left a significant IRA bequest to the Foundation in their estate to ensure progress would continue toward a cure for the disease.

“Watching my uncle, who was an intelligent man, be broken down both physically and mentally by Parkinson’s was very hard,” Leonard says. “They gave their legacy gift with the hope that other people don’t have to go through this and we find a way to beat Parkinson’s disease.”

Your generous estate gift can help The Michael J. Fox Foundation find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Learn more by contacting The Michael J. Fox Foundation at 212-509-1524 or

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