BRIDGMAN — George T. Bogert — lawyer and author of legal books, political and civic activist, and supporter of the arts, died on May 13th at his home in Bridgman, Mich., at age 98.
Bogert had moved his primary residence to Michigan from Chicago last year, but had been a seasonal resident of the area since 1932, when his father bought a farm in Sawyer. As a teenager, he spent summers picking peaches in the family orchard and planting pine seedlings provided by the Soil Conservation Service as part of the New Deal.
Bogert graduated from Cornell in 1941 and was drafted into the Army. After his service, he attended law school, graduating from Harvard Law School in 1948.
He worked for several law firms in Chicago, spending the last 22 years at the Mayer Brown firm, one of the country’s largest. His specialty was estate planning, and he was a recognized national expert.
His father, a professor at the university of Chicago law school, had written a multi-volume treatise on trusts and estate planning, Bogert on Trusts, that was widely used in the nation’s law schools. In the 1950’s, the son began contributing and eventually became the principal author of revisions that continued into the 1980s.
Bogert was committed Democrat and a voice for reform in Illinois politics. Though he was a co-chair of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s re-election campaign in 1967, the next year he was co-chair of Senator Eugene McCarthy’s Presidential campaign in Illinois and an outspoken critic of Daley’s tactics to repress protest at the Democratic Convention. He got involved in campaigns against the Daley machine.
Bogert also was involved in non-partisan efforts at political reform, as well, often a tough sell in Illinois. He loved to tell the story of testifying on behalf of a reform measure in Springfield, only to run into a powerful State Senator in an elevator afterward. When he made one last plea for the lawmaker’s support for reform, the Senator replied, “Good government, my ass!”.
Bogert loved chamber music, and was a founder of two groups, Music of the Baroque and the Rembrandt Chamber Players. He was instrumental in getting the Rembrandt Players to do concerts in Southwestern Michigan in the 1980s and 1990s.
Bogert was an avid gardener, a fine tennis player (playing with his brother-in-law, Harold Russell, he won several doubles titles at the Chikaming Country Club), and a devoted smoker of cigars —pastimes he often indulged at his beloved summer home in Lakeside.
It was in Lakeside in 1950 that he married the former Adelyn Russell, who died in 1993. Bogert is survived by his three children from that marriage— Nicholas (Sally), Amy (Robert Baldwin), and Carroll, and four grandchildren. He was married again, to Rosamary Everard, in 1996. That marriage ended in divorce.
A memorial service is being planned for August in Lakeside.