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Robert Alexander, a longtime tax partner at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, died Sunday at his Larkspur home after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 56. Tennessee-born and Ohio-bred, Alexander graduated with honors from Yale University and Harvard Law School before joining Heller Ehrman in 1974. He was formerly the chair of the firm’s national tax practice. In addition to transactional planning, he litigated cases in court. Colleagues remember him as a focused, ethical practitioner who generously gave time and credit to others. Partner Michael Faber recalled that Alexander had asked him for help researching an article in 1986, when Faber was a new associate. To Faber’s surprise, Alexander named the rookie co-author. “I figured my name would be a footnote, and that would have been fine,” he said. Dyann Blaine, a longtime client from real estate developer Babcock & Brown, said Alexander always made himself available to discuss even the most minute tax issue. She described him as kind. “He wasn’t a saving-young-puppies sort of guy, but he would take the time to listen and care about how you would take his advice.” Alexander spent much of his free time cycling and hiking around Marin where he lived with Rosalie, his wife of 35 years. “He was in great shape,” Faber said. “That’s one of the things that makes this so awful.” A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael.

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