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Gerald Alexander Pollock


1932 - 2019
Gerald Alexander Pollock Obituary
Gerald Alexander Pollock

Phoenix - Gerald Alexander Pollock passed away on July 29, 2019. He was born July 17, 1932 in Buffalo, New York to Alexander and Ann (Bernick) Pollock. Jerry, who the New York Times described as "an outspoken liberal lawyer" [New York Times 1/21/1973], was a respected Phoenix trial attorney who represented labor unions and fought for consumer protections, plaintiff's cases, and civil rights.

Jerry moved from Buffalo, New York, to Phoenix in 1948 and graduated from North High School. He worked on the railroad for seven years as he put himself through Phoenix College, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona law school. Jerry actively and regularly protested segregated and unequal Phoenix theaters and establishments. At ASU, he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi on the basis that it was one of, or the only, fraternity which did not discriminate based on race. He was proud of his fraternity and cherished the experience and friendships. Following university, Jerry served three years in the Army Judge Advocate Corps and returned to Phoenix to eventually start his own law firm. He married Niaya Treybich and had two children, Maura Ann and Michael Alexander.

In 1972 and 1973, Jerry walked the state of Arizona as the opposition candidate recalling then Governor Jack Williams. Recruited by Cesar Chavez' United Farm Workers union, Jerry became the spokesperson for the striking rights of farm workers. He walked a three-month, 1,200-mile statewide campaign tour taking him to 60 communities in 11 of the states' 14 counties [Yuma Sun Newspaper 3/25/1973] bringing attention to social justice issues and a sharp critique of Williams' tenure. Over 176,000 signatures were gathered to force a recall election, but the Attorney General ruled the signatures invalid. In 1976, a federal judge ruled the Arizona Secretary of State's office had improperly rejected signatures, but Governor Williams' term had ended.

Jerry was a passionate advocate of prison reform for over 50 years. He started the Arizona Prison Reform Group where he met his second wife, Joellyn Cohen Pollock. They married in 1973 and had two children, Matthew Aaron and Mikaela AElsa.

Political science was his avocation and Jerry taught it for decades at Phoenix College. He avidly followed news events and didn't hesitate to write letters to officials, congress people, and presidents expressing his views. One of his recent battles included opposing lifetime terms for federal judges. Jerry was frequently asked to provide the progressive viewpoint in debates arranged by the Kiwanis. He served on many boards including ACLU, Phoenix Library, Arizona Lung Association, Arizona Commission on the Judiciary, and the Encanto - Palmcroft Homeowners Association.

He was an excellent tennis player for almost 60 years, mostly frequenting the courts at Encanto Park or the Phoenix Tennis Center. He was a voracious reader despite having dyslexia and particularly appreciated Twain and Shakespeare. Jerry carried a strong sense of justice and always fought for equality and rooted for the underdog. As he put it, "I'm very proud to have always represented the good guys."

He is preceded in death by his parents, sister, Elizabeth Horowitz Moynihan, and son, Michael Alexander Pollock. He is survived by his wife, Joellyn, daughter Maura (Jon) Moneyhon, son Matthew (Jaime) and daughter, Mikaela (Katheryna). He has 4 grandchildren: Mychal Anaya, Aidan Moneyhon, Talia and Anderson Pollock.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, August 4th at 3 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, 4027 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253.

Memorials may be made in Jerry's name to Friend Public Library, Reach Road, Brooklin, Maine 04616 or ACLU Foundation of Arizona, PO Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011 or given online at https://action.aclu.org/give/tribute-aclu-az. to enable them to continue their strategic work with immigrants' rights, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality and education equity. These were all areas of great interest and concern for Jerry.
Published in The Arizona Republic on July 31, 2019
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