Former Law. Co. Judge George passes at 71

Steve Chapman

Former 39th Circuit Court Associate Judge and Lawrence County Prosecutor Robert George died on Friday, Aug. 26, at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. He was 71.

George worked for 30 years in law, also law enforcement
Born in Kirksville, Mo. on Jan. 27, 1951, George eventually graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1969. Afterward, he went on to Missouri Southern State University, where he got an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement in 1973; six years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from MSSU. In 1986, he earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa Law School.
George had an extensive career in law and law enforcement. He worked as a patrol officer with the Joplin Police Department and was later appointed as a special agent with the Division of Legal Services in the Department of Social Services in Kansas City, Mo.
After he earned his law degree, George opened his own law practice in Aurora. Three years later, he was elected Lawrence County Prosecutor, an office he held until 2010. He was elected Associate Circuit Judge for the 39th Circuit Court in 2014; he served on the court from January of 2015 until he retired in January of 2021.

George liked his career, made international news with creative sentencing
George made national and international news in December of 2018 when he sentenced David Berry, of Brookline, to one year in jail for poaching. What got the world’s attention was an additional condition of Berry’s sentence: He had to watch the Walt Disney movie “Bambi” once a month during the year he was in jail. It was an action that many applauded.
“We'll all never forget his decision to have (Berry) watch the Bambi videos over and over after he was in trouble for his crime that involved a deer,” Pam Fobair, Lawrence County circuit clerk, said after George retired in 2021.
Heather Priebe, one of George’s three children, said that George loved his career in law and working with the many professionals whom he associated with at the Justice Center in Mt. Vernon.
“He enjoyed the 21 years he worked as prosecutor at the Lawrence County Courthouse and then finishing his career as an Associate Circuit Judge,” she said. “He appreciated all the cooperation he received from the law enforcement community to the employees in the courthouse that helped make his career successful.”     

Remembered as more than a judge
Since George’s passing, Priebe said that many people have reached out to the family to express their sympathy and support, for which she said the family is very grateful.
“We want to say thank you for the outpouring love and support we have received since the untimely passing of my father Bob George,” she said. The number of friends, coworkers, classmates, and others that have reached since Friday morning shows what an impact he had on everyone.”
Additionally, Priebe said, several of those who knew George have been sharing their memories of him.    
“The majority of those reaching out have shared their love for his sense of humor,” she said. “From things like him sharing his ‘Pride and Joy’ photo around the courthouse to his time on the golf course, and working with him in the Rotary Booth at Apple Butter Makin’ Days.”   
Priebe said that such stories have eased the family’s pain as they struggle to cope with losing George.
“While the loss of our husband, father and Boppy leaves a huge hole in our lives, the stories that those around us have been sharing helps fill the void that he has left in our hearts,” she said.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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