Monday, January 17, 2022

George Blow, 92, longtime lawyer remembered for his pro bono and social justice work

George Blow
George Blow

WILLIAMSBURG — George Blow, 92, a lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court of the United States at the age of 28 in the case Green v. United States, died May 15, 2021, at his home in Williamsburg of natural causes. Mr. Blow was a founding member of the law firm Patton, Boggs and Blow, currently known as Squire Patton Boggs.

Mr. Blow was born Oct. 4, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised in New York City and Yorktown. A graduate of Millbrook School, Harvard College Class of 1950, A.B. degree, cum laude; and the University of Virginia Law School, Blow received commission through Naval ROTC at Harvard and retired as lieutenant, USNR, in 1967. He joined the law firm Covington and Burling after graduating law school in 1953 and was a member of the District of Columbia, Virginia State and American Bar associations.

Shortly after joining Covington and Burling, he was assigned a pro bono case, later named Green v. United States (355 US 184), successfully arguing before the Supreme Court of the United States that, under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, that no person tried for the same offense should twice be put in jeopardy of life and limb. (The Washington Post Dec. 19, 1957, In Our Defense – The Bill of Rights In Action Caroline Kennedy/Ellen Alderman/Death and The Supreme Court Barrett Prettyman). In 1963, Blow became a founding member of the firm Patton, Boggs and Blow, where he practiced corporate, international and estate law until retirement in 1993.

While Patton Boggs and Blow became known for its lobbying and legal work on behalf of corporate clients, Blow maintained his pro bono and social justice work. In a 1962 case, he successfully argued for Black Muslims’ right to worship while incarcerated. The Fourth Circuit Court approved an order incorporating a bill of rights for all Muslim prison inmates. Mr. Blow, a longtime member of the International Human Rights Law Group, accompanied Kerry Kennedy to South Korea as a member of the delegation of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, which sought to modify the harsh treatment of prisoners of conscience.

In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mr. Blow volunteered in Lithuania as a representative of the Central and Eastern Law Initiative of the American Bar Association as legal advisor to the fledgling Republic of Lithuania. He served on a number of professional associations including the Committee of 100 Federal City, the board of directors for The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Sheridan-Kalorama History Association. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and the Society of Colonial Wars.

Above all, George Blow cherished his family, the outdoors, travel, and the history of the Blow family, originally of Jamestown. He was married to Sarah Wendel Kuhn on Nov. 4, 1957. He is survived by his wife; children, Mary Allmand Blow Prevost, George Rowland Blow and Wendel Matthiessen Blow; two grandchildren, Justin Wendel Stern and Winslow Matthiessen Blow; two great-grandchildren, Isla Vale Blow and Brooke Magnolia Blow; and six nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Katherine Rowland Cooke Blow and George Waller Blow; his beloved brothers, Michael, Anthony and John Blow; Doris Scrivener; and his granddaughter, Madeleine Adele Prevost.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 29, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, 520 Richmond Road, Williamsburg. Private interment will follow in Hollywood Cemetery, 412 South Cherry St., Richmond.

Share online condolences with the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.

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