Recently, we lost Lloyd George, a longtime federal judge for whom one of the downtown federal buildings is named. We also lost a pillar of the Las Vegas community and the legal profession.
He was an almost lifelong Nevadan. He was born in Idaho in 1930 but raised in Las Vegas from childhood. He grew up at Third and Charleston. He went to the Fifth Street Grammar School, across from the federal building named for him. He graduated from Las Vegas High School, now the Academy of the Performing Arts, a block from that building. Among other things, he was a teenaged disc jockey for a local radio station before attending Brigham Young University. Then he went to law school at Berkeley. He had a unique career there. Most law students coveted summer clerkships at law firms. His summer job was as a lifeguard at a hotel pool, usually the Sands. With a twinkle in his eye, he loved to point out that he was paid better for his work than his classmates were.
His summer job led to one of his favorite stories. A certain balladeer named Sinatra requested a screwdriver and four chairs. Young George ran off to find them. He returned with the screwdriver and apologized for the lack of seating. Ol’ Blue Eyes asked if he was deaf. He explained that he wanted a drink and four beers to go with it. The judge liked to say Sinatra was glad he didn’t order a Bloody Mary.
He also worked for a bank. His job was to pick up silver dollars shipped through the downtown post office. He would put fifty bags on the back of a truck and then ride to the bank sitting on top of the silver dollars.
He also served as an Air Force fighter pilot before passing the bar and practicing law in Las Vegas. In 1974, he became a bankruptcy judge. After ten years in that role, Senator Paul Laxalt nominated him to be a federal judge. George held that job for more than a decade and then took senior status, but he was still going to work until a short time before his death.
He also did legal work beyond the courtroom. He was active in the U.S. Judicial Conference, and relished telling stories of his encounters with figures like Chief Justice William Rehnquist. For many years, he traveled to former Soviet satellites, helping them organize their judicial systems. He hosted the judges in Las Vegas, inviting community members to meet them so we all could learn from one another. He involved himself in UNLV’s law school and took pride in chairing the Thomas and Mack Legal Clinic’s advisory board.
Judge George loved this community. He was active in his church, in various organizations, and in promoting education, legal and otherwise. In 1998, Senator Harry Reid introduced the legislation to name the new federal building for him. George spent the rest of his career there, across the street from the building named for the family of his predecessor, Roger D. Foley. Small wonder that he loved history, especially our history in Nevada. He was a gentleman. He was a gentle man.
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