Szczerban, S. Christopher

S. Christopher Szczerban of New York City and Center Moriches, New York, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, after a sudden illness. He was 41 years old. He was a deeply beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, and colleague, and he will be remembered as a man of exceptional character, warmth, intelligence, and drive.

He is gone all too soon, and yet in his time on earth, Chris left an indelible mark on the people around him. He excelled in just about everything he set his mind to, but despite his breadth of achievement, he was incredibly generous and carried himself with humility, kindness, and grace.

Chris was born on August 24, 1981, in Wilmington, Delaware, to Marbeth and Walter Szczerban. Inspired by their example and the lives of his grandparents, Justyna and Wasyl Szczerban and Lorna and Dick King, he acted on his potential as a boy and grew into an even finer man.

He was blessed with an extraordinary natural intelligence and a rare wit. But Chris accepted those gifts along with the mantle of responsibility, to leave the world in a better state than he met it. The way in which he developed his inborn talents with discipline and often extreme effort was unique and remarkable. He did it all with a purpose: to enhance the lives of the people he loved, and who loved him. He was a financial whiz who understood wealth not as the accumulation of capital but the richness of experiences and relationships. He worked hard to enable life to be easier for others. He took on responsibility after responsibility, shouldering the load in a way that often seemed effortless. Yet he paired his strong sense of purpose with a fantastic sense of humor.

At Salesianum School, he was valedictorian of his graduating class and participated as a leader in many activities. He loved all kinds of sports, from basketball to fishing, and had a particular love for soccer, as both a player and a referee. The Lions Club of Wilmington named him Teenager of the Year, and he was awarded a full scholarship to attend Boston University. There, he earned bachelor’s degrees in business administration and political science, graduating summa cum laude with the distinction of once again being at the top of his class. But beyond his academic achievements, Chris’s time at BU was defined by meeting Sarah Gibbs Leivick, the love of his life, on the mock trial team. They married in 2010.

From a young age, Chris had dreamed of becoming an attorney, and he pursued that goal with passion and determination. After his undergraduate education, Chris earned his JD from Harvard Law School, where he served as the managing editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology and argued the winning case in the 94th Annual Ames Moot Court Competition. Following law school, Chris served as a clerk to the Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr., of the Delaware Court of Chancery. He was admitted to practice in New York and Delaware, and was a member of the American Bar Association, the Delaware State Bar Association, and the New York State Bar Association.

Chris joined Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City after his clerkship, in 2007, as a member of the firm’s litigation department. His practice focused on complex corporate, commercial, and securities litigations and arbitrations, and he played an instrumental role in several matters of great significance. He became an invaluable member of the firm. He was a supporter of the Legal Aid Society, where he chaired the Associates’ Campaign at Wachtell for several years.

Chris’s legal prowess and sharp thinking distinguished him in his field. But his aptitude for the law and his appetite for a vigorous exchange of views paled in comparison to perhaps his truest calling: as father to twins Isabel and Juliet, born to Sarah and Chris in 2019. He poured every energy into his role as a dad—loving them deeply, delighting in introducing them to the world and its mysteries, and helping prepare them to be the independently minded young women they are already becoming. To see Chris as a father was to see him at his best.

Chris will be deeply, deeply missed.

Chris is survived by his wife, Sarah Gibbs Leivick, and their daughters, Isabel and Juliet Szczerban; his parents, Walter and Marbeth Szczerban; his father-in-law, David Leivick; his brother, Michael (Kristen); and his sister, Kate (Andrew) Zinn and their boys, Teddy, Noah, and Aries.

Visitation will be at 10:30 am on Wednesday, June 28 at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, 800 W. Lea Blvd (at the intersection with Miller Rd). Visitation will be followed by Divine Liturgy at 11:00 am, and all are invited to gather in the church hall immediately afterward. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Chris’s name be sent to the Legal Aid Society or to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church.

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by 2fish