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Gilbert T. Venable


1942 - 2019
Gilbert T. Venable Obituary
Gilbert T. Venable

Phoenix - Gilbert T. Venable, age 76, passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at his residence in Phoenix, Arizona. He was born on March 30, 1942 to the late Emerson and Regis Illston Venable in Wilkinsburg, PA. He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. He attended Cornell University and graduated 1st in his class from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As a law student, he spent the summer of 1965 in Mississippi working on Civil Rights Issues. In law school, he founded a group for students to do research for the ACLU. He served as a law clerk for Judge William Hastie, Chief Justice of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Ct. of Appeals, headed the ACLU in Pittsburgh for 2 years and taught Environmental Law from 1970 to 1976 at Arizona State University. During that time, he spent one year as a staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund. His passions in law were Environmental and Civil Liberties. Leaving the academic world to enter the private practice of law allowed him to work more directly with the people he was serving. He was in private practice from 1976 to about 2008 when he needed to slow his participation due to health problems. Gil was as comfortable assisting his neighbor on her porch across the street as he was being co-counsel with Stewart Udall in the Navajo Uranium Miner cases and Nuclear Bomb test fallout cases. He was very proud of his part in stopping Orme Dam which would have flooded the Fort McDowell Yavapai Reservation and destroyed the core population of bald eagles in the Southwest. The people he represented are too numerous to list here. He was described by one peer as a solid rock in the progressive forces that occupied a small corner of the bar association, a true believer in the difference between right and wrong moral behavior, and a quiet guide for many making their way through the profession. Gil's passions were helping the people he met and worked with, exploring the environment, and his family. Gil is survived by his spouse of 40 years, Christine Locke; 2 children, Elizabeth and Jessica Venable; his brothers, Wally, Alan, and Tom; and many other loving family and friends.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 on March 30 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix located at 4027 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, Gil requested that donations could be made to the Arizona Civil Liberties Union and the Sierra Club.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 3, 2019
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