Judge George M. Joseph died Friday June 23, 2003, at the age of 72, from respiratory failure due to complications from polio, which he originally contracted at age 20. He was born in Caldwell, Idaho in 1930 and grew up in nearby Boise. Joseph received a B.A. in history from Reed College in 1952, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1955 and an LL.M. from NYU Law School in 1959.
His legal career involved almost every aspect of law, beginning with a clerkship with Oregon Supreme Court Judge George Rossman. Over the next seven years, he was a law professor at Ohio Northern University College of Law in Ada, Ohio (1956-58), Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Penn. (1958-62), New York University School of Law (summers 1960-62) and University of Arkansas College of Law, Fayetteville, Ark. (1962-63). After moving to Oregon, he taught part-time at Northwestern College of Law for many years.
In Portland, Joseph worked as a Multnomah County deputy district attorney handling civil cases and appeals. From 1966 to 1975, he was in private practice, specializing in appellate work with the firms of Reiter Day, Morrison & Bailey, and Bemis & Breathouwer. In 1975, he accepted the position of Multnomah County counsel, which he left in 1977 upon being appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals by Gov. Bob Straub. To Joseph, his most significant career achievement was becoming chief judge of the Court of Appeals on Jan. 1, 1981. He considered the job of chief judge to be the best judicial job in the United States and was proud of what the court accomplished during his tenure.
Outside of day-to-day work, Joseph was involved in diverse legal activities, such as legal aid and public defender bar committees. He served on the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners for four years and the National Board of Bar Examiners for two, developing the multi-state exam. He was a founding member and editor of the newsletter of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel and a member of the Oregon Commission on the Judicial Branch. For his many contributions to the legal profession in this state, he was honored with awards of merit in 1999 from both the Multnomah Bar Association and the Oregon State Bar. In 2002, he received the President’s Affirmative Action Award from the Oregon State Bar.
Joseph had a strong work ethic, a great sense of humor, a powerful intellect and was a voracious reader. His many interests were not confined to law. Before being appointed to the court, he was active in local politics, served on the board of the Community Child Guidance Clinic (now the Morrison Center), and was chair of the City-County Charter Commission (1972-74). Two other positions of which he was proud and considered honors were his service on the Reed College Board of Trustees (1972-80) and as a member of the Board of Visitors of the Oriental Institute (Egyptology, archaeology, etc.) of the University of Chicago (1979-97).
Joseph is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elizabeth, their three daughters, two sons and 13 grandchildren.
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Darrell E. Bewley, 65, died July 28, 2003, following a 3½-year struggle with strokes. After attending schools in Imbler and Summerville, he attended Willamette University in Salem.
Bewley graduated from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College on June 1970 and became a practicing attorney later that year. His special interest was workers’ compensation, and he pursued this area of law at State Accident Insurance Fund and the Oregon Department of Justice in Salem. Due to declining health, he closed his private practice in 1995 and retired.
During his lifetime, he raised wire-haired fox terriers for show, enjoyed participating in a pigeon racing club and ham radio emergency communications. He also tried his hand at raising and shearing sheep on his Carlton farm.
Survivors include his wife, Hazel, two daughters and two stepsons.
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William Linsy Sisemore, 58, a resident of Klamath Falls, died Aug. 12, 2003. Sisemore was born December 15, 1944 and was a graduate of Bellarmine Prep School, Gonzaga University and Willamette Law School. Except for his years away at school, he spent his life in Klamath Falls. He was a practicing attorney, a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Klamath Yacht Club.
He is survived by his wife, Alice.
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Sidney E. Ainsworth, 75, of Medford, died August 14, 2003.
Ainsworth was born in 1927 at Murphy, Ore.. He served in the U.S. Army from 1945-47. In 1953, he graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law and joined Sam Davis in a law practice in Ashland. He retired in 1993.
He was very active in the Ashland community. He helped create the Southern Oregon College Foundation and was one of five founders of the Rogue Valley Manor. He was an active supporter of the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, the Boy Scouts of America, the Medford Gospel Mission and Ducks Unlimited.
His wife, Janet, survives him.
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The Bulletin has also been notified of the deaths of the OSB member listed below. Notices for them will appear in the next issue: Michael C. Arola of Eugene; Alex Byler of Pendleton; David R. Trachtenberg of Seattle; Frederick Torp of Portland; and Tracy Q. Lyons of Malin, Ore.