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George Michael Shur, 70, of DeKalb, IL, died Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Chicago. Born in 1942 in Portland, ME, to Barnett and Clarice (Geller) Shur, George spent his childhood in Portland and attended Colby College, then Boston University School of Law. He returned to Portland and joined the law firm of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer, and Nelson, where he later became partner. In 1970, he met Martha West. From their first date on Valentine's Day she remained the love of his life, and they were blessed to celebrate their 42nd anniversary November 14. In 1983, George and Martha, along with their two children, moved to DeKalb. George spent 20 years as general counsel at Northern Illinois University, and after he retired, returned to NIU for a stint as interim director of athletics. He called this move to DeKalb one of his life's best decisions. George thrived at his work, and enjoyed heading into the office each day. He served as president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and received its Distinguished Service Award, and was on numerous committees for the Maine and Illinois state bar associations. He earned advanced certificates at DePaul and Harvard University, and was a nationally recognized authority on higher education law. George's expansive voice and dynamic personality filled every room, and his civic life was robust. He was honorably discharged from service in the US Army Reserves from 1968-74. George was a member of many local civic groups, including DeKalb's Human Relations Committee. He was elected to the DeKalb Board of Education from 1991-99, and was president from 1995-99. George was active in the Portland Players, then Stagecoach Theater in DeKalb. He remained involved with Colby College throughout his life, including as a volunteer overseer, and served as a volunteer hearing officer for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee. He brought purpose and clarity to the role of board president for one of Florida's largest condominium associations, Pelican Cove in Sarasota. George was also a member of Temple Beth El in Portland, and Congregation Beth Shalom in DeKalb. The extent of his accomplishments was notable, but the impact of his personality was immeasurable. He lived each day in the moment and to the fullest, and he flourished with family and friends. George was enthusiastic in public, caring in private, and his sense of humor will long reverberate in the hearts of many. He will be remembered for his professional integrity and dedication to education. He always loved to travel, and found peace on the water. George sailed the world in 2003 as a dean for Semester at Sea, and navigated Maine's Sebago Lake and Florida's inland waterways as well as anyone. At 70, he still enjoyed sharing stories from his teenage years as a summer camp counselor as though they had just happened yesterday. Most of all, George was happiest living his life with Martha. In addition to Martha, he is survived by his daughter, Rebecca; his son, Aaron; his sister, Janet; grandsons, Jacob and Quinn; and a large extended family. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. December 9 in Altgeld Auditorium at NIU in DeKalb. Those wishing to honor George's legacy can consider a donation to the George M. Shur Student Scholarship at NIU's College of Law. Call 815-753-1301 for information. Arrangements are by Anderson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 605, 2011 South Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115. For information, visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call 815-756-1022.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Dec. 2, 2012
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