George L. Strain, 93, retired La Junta attorney, civic leader and Otero County Judge, died January 26, 2010 in Pueblo, Colo.
Mr. Strain was born July 13, 1916, in La Junta to L.P. and Coy Beavers Strain, attended public school in La Junta and graduated from La Junta High School in 1934. He went on to graduate from the University of Colorado in 1938, where he was a Phi Gamma Delta and a clarinetist in the CU Men’s Marching Band. He received his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Strain married Helen May Frye, his high school sweetheart, June 19, 1940, in La Junta and enjoyed 68 years of marriage before her death in April 2009. During World War II Mr. Strain was a Special Agent for the FBI serving in Detroit, Mich., Buffalo, N.Y., Louisville, Ky., New York, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. He was active, throughout his life, in the Ex-FBI Agents Association.
Following his FBI service, he and Helen returned to their hometown of La Junta where he practiced law, became a prosecutor, judge and father of four children.
After enjoying a summer cabin in Beulah Valley, for many years, George and Helen moved to Beulah in 1992 and became full time residents while remaining closely connected to La Junta through family and friends.
Mr. Strain was an active member of the Colorado bar for more than 60 years. He first practiced law with Marion F. Miller and Harry Allen, two La Junta pioneers. Their original firm was known as Miller, Allen, and Strain, with offices on the second floor of the Lamb Building on Santa Fe Avenue, which still stands across the street from the Otero County Courthouse. Over the years the firm evolved to Allen & Strain and then to Strain & Kolomitz. Throughout his career his clients appreciated his wise and practical advice.
Early in his career Mr. Strain became a prosecutor and later served as District Attorney for Bent, Crowley and Otero Counties, and president of the Colorado District Attorney’s Association.
In 1976 Mr. Strain was appointed as the Otero County Judge, where he served until his retirement in 1988. He then served as senior judge, presiding in courts across the state of Colorado, a role he very much enjoyed.
Always an advocate for Southeastern Colorado, Mr. Strain was most proud of his role in the creation of the 16th Judicial District. In 1953 he was instrumental in convincing the Colorado General Assembly of the need for a new Judicial District for Bent, Crowley and Otero counties. Prior to this time the three counties were part of the 10th Judicial District in Pueblo County. After intense and sustained efforts, the creation of the 16th Judicial District was authorized giving the citizens of Bent, Crowley and Otero their own Judicial District.
Mr. Strain was a proud and active member of the B.P.O.E. throughout his life, and is a Past Exalted Ruler and Life member of La Junta Lodge #701. He also served as president of the Colorado Elks Association in 1963-64. He was Esquire of the Grand Lodge in 1985 - 86, and assisted in conducting the Elks Grand Lodge Convention in Denver in 1986. Mr. Strain enjoyed attending Elks functions throughout the state and nation.
Mr. Strain served on the La Junta School Board during a period of growth in student enrollment which necessitated the building of South School, now the Arkansas Valley Community Center, and East School, now La Junta Elementary School. He also served on the county-wide committee which consolidated rural and town school districts.
An active and involved advocate for his community, Mr. Strain was a member of numerous civic and professional associations. He is a past president of La Junta Rotary Club and of the La Junta Chamber of Commerce; he is a Paul Harris Fellow, and a Key Leader in the Koshare Indian Dancers organization. Especially meaningful to him was his membership in Monday Evening Club, an organization of which his father was a charter member. Mr. Strain was an active and ardent supporter of the American Red Cross Association. He was a life-long Methodist; most recently attending the Beulah United Methodist Church.
Mr. Strain was predeceased in death by his parents, brother, Capt. Dean B. Strain, wife Helen and sister in law Ruth Frye and brother in law Dr. Frank Everett.
He is survived by sister Anna Mae Everett, of Fort Collins. Additional survivors include daughters Sharon (Jon) Kolomitz and Susan (Bub) Miller of La Junta; sons George Lee Strain, Jr. (Connie) of Mandeville, La., and Gregory Dean Strain of Beulah; brother in law Harold W. “Bill” Frye of Beulah, and Helen’s cousin Marie Hall of Beulah and her daughter and son Robin Hall Moritz of Pueblo and James Hall of Topeka, Ks. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Gregory Jon (Carla) Kolomitz, Denver; Kara Christine Kolomitz (Chris Condlin) Natick, Mass., Christopher Strain Kolomitz , Denver, Jack Laughrun (Judy) Morganton, North Carolina; Marcus Deyerin (Kara) Bellingham, Wash., Michelle Lee Miller, Metarie, LA, Corey Lee Strain (Jill) Folsum, LA, Kyle Strain (Kristy) Madisonville, La., and Kevin Strain, currently stationed at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida; nine nieces and nephews, and ten great grandchildren all of whom revered and loved him.
A memorial service, in celebration of Mr. Strain’s life, will be held at the United Methodist Church of La Junta on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 2 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Laradon Hall, a special project of the Colorado Elks Association or to the Otero Museum direct or through the funeral home.