George H. Krause, 1923-2013, A lawyer known for his compassion

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 By

Roberta M. Gubbins
Legal News
 
George H. Krause, who died at the age of 90 on August 19th, is remembered fondly by the members of the Ingham County Legal community. 
 
“To all who knew him or merely encountered him,” said his son Kurt Krause, he was “kind, compassionate and honest, a true gentlemen in the finest sense of the word.”
 
Judge E. Thomas Fitzgerald agreed. 
 
“I remember George H. Krause as a kind, wonderful man who help me when I first started practicing law in Ingham County,” he said. “He acted as a sort of mentor to me and helped me with my campaign to run for Judge.”
 
Krause, born in 1923, was a child of the Great Depression. He grew up in Flat Rock, Mi, attending and graduating from Flat Rock High School. Son Kurt recalls that his father “always spoke warmly about his school and his teachers. He described them as warm, caring and so supportive of him and his dream of becoming a lawyer.”
 
Krause joined the United States Army in February 1942. He served for four years, receiving his honorable discharge in 1946. When he returned he took advantage of the G.I. Bill, heading to East Lansing to enter Michigan State University. He graduated in three years with high honors and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. 
 
He worked as Managing Editor of the Marshall Evening Chronicle before moving on to the Lansing State Journal. He was the paper’s labor columnist and a copy editor for 12 years. It is believed by the family that he used that expertise to eventually become the first editor of the Ingham County Bar Association newsletter, BRIEFS.
 
Son Kurt reports, “it was the law which proved to be George’s real calling and for which he had an abiding love and respect. While working at the Journal, he attended Detroit College of Law at night” driving back and forth on “old Grand River” between Lansing and Detroit for five years. Krause graduated and passed the Bar Exam in 1963. 
 
Krause was the first Executive Director of Legal Aid for Ingham County. He worked there for a number of years, representing, said Kurt, “the most vulnerable of the County’s citizens, the indigent, the elderly and the disabled, all of whom he always treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
 
Moving on to private practice, Krause joined the Sinas Dramis Law Firm. George Sinas met Krause when he “was a boy” coming to the law firm on non-school days with his father, Thomas G. Sinas. 
 
Sinas describes Krause as “kind-hearted and genuinely concerned for the little guy. There was nothing artificial about him. His compassion was real.”  
 
Barry Boughton joined the Sinas firm at the same time as Krause and they became close friends. Although, George was 16 years older, they were both raising children, the families were close and they had common interests. One of those interests was baseball; and baseball meant the Tigers. George Krause was an ardent Tiger fan. 
 
Boughton recalls that for George’s birthday, he thinks it was “his 43rd” two carloads of lawyers drove from Lansing to Detroit to see a double header. 
 
“The first game lasted for 18 innings,” said Boughton. The other attorneys said they couldn’t stay for the rest of the game so they left and drove back to Lansing, leaving Krause and Boughton behind. George wouldn’t go with them, telling Boughton, “‘we have a contract with the Tigers. We have to stay for both games.’”
 
So they stayed. The second game was called “due to the curfew.” Boughton and Krause had no car and no way home. Eventually, they stuck out their thumbs and hitchhiked to Lansing. “We got home at 7:30 the next morning.”
 
“George,” said Boughton, commenting on Krause’s life as a lawyer, “was a strong advocate for his clients. He was very loyal.”
 
Krause eventually set up a solo practice in Mason, Mi. 
 
“He proved to be a pioneer in the area of domestic violence,” said Kurt Krause, “oftentimes representing pro bono women who were survivors of spousal abuse. George was the quintessential small town lawyer. There were many clients who paid for his services with garden vegetables or firewood or a tune up on the family car.”
 
Kurt writes that as a lawyer, his father “understood and was proud of the fact that he was a servant; the Constitution was his bible and the many court rooms in which he appeared were his churches. George held firmly to the principle articulated so well by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in Griffin v. Illinois in 1956: ‘there can be no equal justice where the kind of trial. .  (one) enjoys depends on the amount of money (one) has.’” 
 
Krause retired from the law in 1985.
 
George is survived by his devoted wife of 55 years, Elaine, and their three children and their spouses, Kurt (Amy Ronayne), Kathleen Clark (Bob) and Kevin (Stacy). They survive him as do his three grandchildren, of whom he was so proud: Andy Krause, Haley Clark and Eric Krause. They all miss him greatly. 
 
For those who wish to donate in George’s memory, the family suggests that contributions may be made in George's name to either Legal Services of South Central Michigan (lsscm.org), or the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy (foundationforpn.org). A memorial service will be planned at a later date.
 
 
 
 
 

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