George M. Warren Jr., a former state senator and longtime commonwealth’s attorney for the city of Bristol, died Jan. 12 Wellmont Hospice House after an illness of several months. He was 87.
A native of Bristol, Sen. Warren was the son of a lawyer who served in the General Assembly for 26 years and as mayor of Bristol. Sen. Warren graduated from Emory and Henry College and served as a Naval officer in the southwest Pacific in World War II before graduating from the University of Virginia law school and joining his father’s law firm.
He served in the senate from 1963 to 1975 and became commonwealth’s attorney the following year, a post he held until retiring in 2002.
Bristol Circuit Judge Larry B. Kirksey told the Bristol Herald Courier, “He was the epitome of an attorney and counselor at law. He was passionate, professional and an incredibly compassionate man – just a phenomenal orator in the courtroom.”
A former law partner, Jim D. Bowie, told the newspaper, “He was my mentor and my hero, too. George was an extremely capable lawyer and an awfully fine human being.”
Sen. Warren received the Virginia State Bar’s Tradition of Excellence Award in 1998 and was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation.
Perhaps his most significant legislative accomplishment was chairing the study commission and serving as chief patron of the legislation that created the School of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. He also served on the State Crime Commission and on the State Council for Higher Education.
Sen. Warren was active in civic affairs, serving as a trustee of Sullins College and Johnston Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Board of Visitors of Emory and Henry.
Survivors include his wife, Merle Musser Watkins Warren, two sons, a daughter and three grandsons.