The Norman Transcript

January 21, 2013

Frank Elkouri


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Funeral services for Professor Emeritus Frank Elkouri, 91, an outstanding scholar and a nationally recognized authority in arbitration, will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, at the Holy Ascension Orthodox Christian Church, 3350 12th Ave. NE in Norman (one block south of Tecumseh Road) with Father Justin McFeeters officiating.

The Trisagion Prayer of the departed will begin at 7 p.m. today in The Chapel of the Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook Street in Norman.

Professor Elkouri was born Sept. 3, 1921 in Byron, Okla. the son of David and Adel Elkouri. He passed away Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 at the Norman Regional Hospital.

After learning of Professor Elkouri’s passing, University of Oklahoma President David Boren said, “In the entire history of the OU College of Law, no faculty member has been more dedicated to his students and more generous to the school than Professor Frank Elkouri. I will always feel fortunate to have been able to study under him when I was a law student and to benefit from his international expertise in his field.”

Professor Elkouri enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, beginning a relationship that would last a lifetime. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from OU in 1943 with a bachelor’s degree in government. He earned his first law degree, an LL.B., from OU in 1947 before his legal studies took him to the University of Michigan, where he was awarded an LL.M. in 1948 and an S.J.D. in 1951. It was a doctoral thesis, written while pursing the final law degree, that set the course for a long-lasting, highly successful career as a beloved law professor and nationally recognized expert on labor arbitration. His thesis, How Arbitration Works, was published in 1952 and is widely regarded as the authoritative treatise on the law and practice of labor arbitration.

Professor Elkouri practiced law in Oklahoma City with Quinlan & Elkouri, a firm he co-founded with a classmate. Later, Professor Elkouri served as an attorney with the National Wage Stabilization Board in Washington, D.C., and Dallas prior to joining the faculty of the OU College of Law in 1952. During his time in Washington, D.C., he met Edna Asper, a freshman at George Washington University Law School.

After a six-year, long distance relationship, the couple married in 1956 and established their home in Norman, where Professor Elkouri had been teaching at the OU College of Law and serving as advisor to the office of the president of the university. Working together, the couple jointly wrote and edited the second, third and fourth editions of How Arbitration Works and conducted research for the fifth edition.

In his more than 50 years serving the College of Law, Professor Elkouri taught labor law, property, trade regulation, torts and workers’ compensation. He was a favorite professor to many law students, known for his keen intellect and gentle, unassuming demeanor. When not in class, many of his hours were devoted to collecting, classifying, analyzing, and criticizing published labor arbitration opinions for future publication.

Professor Elkouri has written a variety of articles and books on the subjects he taught; however, it is the book “How Arbitration Works,” now in its sixth edition, that played a major role in the creation of guiding principles for labor arbitrators and significantly influenced labor law.

In addition to his outstanding contributions in the classroom and his scholarly pursuits, Professor Elkouri will also be remembered as a talented clarinetist who performed in a law faculty combo, delighting students at Gridiron. As an undergraduate, he had played the clarinet and the saxophone in the OU Dance Band.

Professor Elkouri also served as an arbitrator in labor-management disputes, a special justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, a member of the Oklahoma Governor’s Special Advisory Committee on Workmen’s Compensation and an executive reservist with the U.S. Department of Labor. He is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the America Arbitration Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association.

In 1974, Professor Elkouri received the University of Oklahoma Distinguished Teaching Citation and was appointed to a George Lynn Cross Research Professorship in 1979. The American Arbitration Association honored him in 1980 with the Whitney North Seymour Medal for his outstanding contributions to arbitration.

Professor Elkouri retired in 1985, but remained a cherished colleague often seen at the law school. As recent as 2010, Professor Elkouri maintained a leadership role at the law school, providing inspirational leadership to others.

In 2011, Professor Elkouri and his wife, Edna Asper Elkouri, gave the largest one-time gift ever given to the College of Law for student scholarships. Their $6 million gift will continue to provide current and future law students forever.

Professor Elkouri will be remembered as an outstanding scholar and treasured professor emeritus. He was a man of great character and his contributions throughout the past five decades of service to the College are innumerable. He has truly left an indelible mark on the future of the College.

Professor Elkouri was preceded in death by his parents, David and Adel Elkouri; one brother, Kamel Elkouri; three sisters, Victoria Finley, Margaret Harris, and Coleta Elkouri; and one brother-in-law, Joseph Asper of Norman.

He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Edna, one sister, Lucille Cox of Oklahoma City; one brother, Jim Elkouri of Palm Springs, California; two nephews, Richard Cox of Oklahoma City, and Michael Harris and family of Edmond; and one niece, Michele Compton and family of Oklahoma City.

Burial will conclude in the Fairlawn Cemetery, 2700 North Shartel Avenue in Oklahoma City.

Arrangements for Professor Elkouri and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at the Havenbrook Funeral Home of Norman.

Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.

Norman Transcript, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013

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