Dietz, George A.
Sep 7, 1928 - Jun 21, 2020
George Albert Dietz, 91, passed from the hands of the Angels at Aravilla Memory Care into the hands of his Lord on Sunday, June 21, 2020. He was born on September 7, 1928, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to his loving parents, William E. Dietz, Sr. and Elizabeth H. Dietz, and brother, Bill. Later the family would be joined by his brothers Peter and John, completing their immediate family.
On June 22, 1963, George married the former Frances Jewel Ballard, of Venice. Within the next 4 years, they rounded out their family by welcoming a daughter, Alison Dietz Ross (Richard), and a son, Pepper Dietz (George, Jr.) (Debbie); and have been blessed with four wonderful grandchildren, Delainey and Park Dietz, and Georgia and Addie Ross, all residing in Sarasota.
At the appropriate age, George worked toward and became an Eagle Scout. He attended public schools in St. Pete, as well as St. Pete Junior College. He graduated from the University of Florida in June 1951, completing his LLB (now JD) degree in Law, with highest honors. In August of 1951, he entered the United States Marine Corps; boot camp in Parris Island, SC; Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA; graduated as 2nd Lt.; Camp Pendleton, CA for cold weather training; transferred to 1st Marine Division in Korea (initially as a platoon leader and then reassigned as defense counsel for General Courts Martial). Following armistice with North Korea in August 1953, he was transferred to Marine Detachment at Treasure Island, San Francisco, for honorable discharge as a Captain of The United States Marine Corps. Interesting point: The 4 Dietz Boys all served in the Military, but each in a different branch: Brother Bill was in the Navy, Brother Peter in the Air Force, and Brother John in the Army.
Following his Honorable Discharge, George practiced law for a short period of time in St. Petersburg with an elderly sole practitioner. George was not finding this practice very challenging or fulfilling, much less up to his expectations, since he was mostly doing Courthouse runs and extensive research for the gentleman. Fortunately, after a year or so he received a call from Bill Harrison (Wm. T., Jr.), a college classmate (who had also served in Korea), wanting to know if he would be interested in interviewing for a job as an associate with a firm in Sarasota. The firm had 3 partners, J. J. Williams, former County Judge, Francis Dart, Arthur Bell, and 2 associates, Davis Parker and Bill Harrison. He accepted their offer and with what he hoped would become his dream job, he became the third associate. Prospects for the future were looking much better for this bright, inquisitive and energetic young attorney. After signing with the small firm, he made the move to Sarasota in the spring of 1955. Not once in the next 50 to 60 years of practice did he regret his decision to make the move. His beloved law firm announced the name of Williams, Parker, Harrison, Dietz & Getzen on January 1, 1968, and has continued as such to date.
At first after arriving in Sarasota, George had a general practice, but gradually began to specialize in real estate work, which often meant convincing Sarasota City Commissioners, Sarasota County Commissioners or Longboat Key Commissioners of the merits of a developer's plan. He was instrumental in the acquisition of property, and the rezoning and development of The Meadows by Taylor Woodrow, and he helped Arvida develop Longboat Key. Specifically, it was George who pushed through plans for both Bay Isles and the Longboat Key Club, which still remain as two of the most refined and tasteful developments in the region.
George served on several local Bar Association committees and as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association. His two favorite committees were the Ethics and the Legal Aid, serving as Chairman of both committees at some point. As an appointed managing Trustee of the Sarasota County Law Library, he served in this capacity for over 35 years. George was one of ten Sarasota lawyers recognized as a Legal Legend by the Sarasota County Bar Association, September 27, 2013.
At the State level, George was elected by his local peers in 1983 to serve on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar, a position he held for more than 6 years. He enjoyed its tough challenges, especially serving as an appellate forum for ethical transgressions.
Around 1980, George commenced working with Dr. Kay Glasser to work out the method for creating a non-profit corporation for the primary purpose of acquiring a large parcel of land on which could be constructed a small group of office buildings which then could be "leased" to recognized charitable groups for low rental so as to assist them financially in the pursuit of their many varied altruistic purposes. This pro bono "job" lasted for about 15-20 years and eventually became known as the Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center.
A few of his other civic activities include: President of the Sarasota County
Chamber of Commerce; member of Gulf Coast Kiwanis Club; a founding member of the United Way Foundation; the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota Foundation; Hospice of Southwest Florida Foundation; and the Van Wezel Foundation. George was a lifetime member of St. Petersburg Masonic Lodge 139; Scottish Rite and York Rite; and Shriners International.
As a member of The First United Methodist Church of Sarasota, George was a faithful usher at the Sunday services for more than 40 years and as their legal counsel for almost the same number of years. He and Fran were married there on June 22, 1963, as were both of their children, each having a desire to carry on the family tradition.
Due to COVID-19 cases still occurring daily in Sarasota, George's services will be private, for family only. Military honors will be conducted and he will be laid to rest in the Sarasota National Cemetery. Arrangements are in the capable hands of Robert Toale and Sons Palms Memorial Park Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association
or Tidewell Hospice.