George Miller Burditt, Requiescat in Pace

March 18, 2013

By James R. Phelps

George Miller Burditt died on March 13, 2013 following a heart attack.  He was 90 years of age.  With his passing the food and drug bar lost one of its most distinguished members.

People were drawn to George by his friendly, gracious manner.  He inspired trust in his clients and all those having dealings with him. In litigation, he relentlessly represented his clients, but opposing counsel would count him as a friend. 

He worked hard.  There was no 9 to 5 aspect to the work.  He tirelessly extended whatever effort the client’s needs required, and grateful clients saw the results.

George developed his practice as the food and drug bar was itself developing.  He gave much of his time to promote the understanding of food and drug law.  He wrote hundreds of papers and gave hundreds of speeches on the subject.  For 25 years he was general counsel to the Food and Drug Law Institute.  For decades he worked closely with the Association of Food and Drug Officials, providing training and serving on the board of the AFDO Foundation. The Regulatory Affairs Professional Society recognized his contributions with its highest honor.  He taught food and drug law for many years as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.

Work, however, did not consume the complete man.  He played as hard as he worked, mostly in some kind of competition.  There was basketball in his youth, then tennis in his maturity.  He was a great competitor in cribbage and bridge.  And he loved gin rummy, where he was not as good as he thought he was.

Yet the foregoing was only a part of George’s busy life.

He obtained his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, and he loved the school.  As an alumnus, he stayed engaged and did so much that he was made Grand Marshal one year.  A room in the law school has been named after him.

He was immersed in the civic life of Illinois, serving eight years in the Illinois House of Representatives, and acting at one time as the deputy leader of his party in that house.  He also represented the Republican Party as a candidate for U.S. senator.  In Chicago, he was honored by having a street named after him.

He leaves a large and loving family:  4 children, 11 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren (and 2 more on the way!)  His wife Barbara died many years ago; he found a wonderful companionship in his subsequent marriage to Mary Jayne (“MJ”) Mallory.

The last few years of George’s life were made difficult by a fall that resulted in impaired use of his legs.  The wheelchair did not dampen his spirit, however, and he remained as charming and as interested in the world as always.  In the last weeks of his life he was exchanging witty e-mails with old colleagues.

A life lived well.  George Miller Burditt, Requiescat in Pace.

Categories: Miscellaneous