CBA Record January-February 2022

match. Der-Yeghiayan had played soccer growing up. He met a teammate, Wes, who was the son of the university’s president, Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft. (Wes’s brother is former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.) John Ashcroft wrote a letter of recommendation for law school for Der- Yeghiayan, who then went east with his wife to attend what is now the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. He went on to clerk for Judge Hugh Henry Bownes, United States Dis- trict Court Judge for the District of New Hampshire. Der-Yeghiayan referred to that work as “the highlight of my law school years.” Judge Bownes administered Der- Yeghiayan’s oath of American citizenship. Upon graduation, Der-Yeghiayan moved to Chicago to work for the Immi- gration and Naturalization Service because “I wanted to give something back to my adopted country.” He served in various capacities at INS from 1978 to 2000. In 2000, Der-Yeghiayan was appointed as an Immigration Judge, a position he very much enjoyed. Der-Yeghiayan writes of his efforts to become an Article III judge during his INS roles, and in March 2003 President George W. Bush nominated him to fill the vacancy on the Northern District of Illinois created by Judge Marvin Aspen’s elevation to the 7th Circuit. Der-Yeghiayan served from July 2003 until February 2018, when he retired to spend time with his grandchildren. His daughter, Tara, provides the Intro- duction and Forward to this memoir, recounting a story where her dad searched for shoes her son liked, going all over the Midwest to find various sizes. She also speaks of her father’s many friendships and about the man he is. Der-Yeghiayan is the first Armenian immigrant to serve as a federal judge. From this self-published memoir, we can tell that he has thrown much in the sea. It is an inspirational memoir of a man, lawyer, and judge whose Christian faith and hard work has enriched many in his adopted country.



Throw It in the Sea: AMemoir

I n 1915, the Ottoman Empire “brutally exterminated 1.5 million Armenians.” That “historical act has deep personal ramifications” for Judge Samuel Der-Yeghi- ayan (ret.), who has written an interesting memoir, Throw It in the Sea . The book’s title comes from a saying of his mother’s about living in the service of others: “Son, do good, and throw it in the sea.” Der-Yeghiayan tells how the Armenian genocide impacted him directly, including the fact that his pater- nal great-grandfather was forced from his home before the Ottoman Turks then cut off his arms and legs, and threw him in a river to die. Der-Yeghiayan writes powerfully about the need to condemn genocide: “The Armenian genocide serves as a reminder that all genocides should be condemned. These horrific chapters in our history books should not be repeated. But unfortunately, the mass killing of a population was repeated during World War II on an even larger scale, in part because the Ottoman Turks got away with the Armenian Genocide, as evidenced in the following statement: ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihila- tion of the Armenians?’ That quote is attributed to Adolf Hitler.” Der-Yeghiayan has some fond memo- ries of growing up in Syria and Lebanon. In the late 1960s he met an Assemblies of God missionary, Bill Ilnisky, pastor of a church in Beirut, who suggested that Der-Yeghiayan attend college at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. Der- Yeghiayan acted on this recommendation. On his first day at the university, after eating lunch, he headed out for a soccer

By Samuel Der-YeghiayanwithTara Der-Yeghiayan Roth (Published in 2021; available on Amazon) Reviewed by Daniel A. Cotter

Daniel A. Cotter is Attorney and Counsel at Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, a member of theCBARecordEditorial Board, and Past President of the CBA.

44 January/February 2022

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