The Honorable George W. White


The Honorable George W. White, Former Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, died on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at age 80.

Judge White was appointed to the District Court bench by President James Earl Carter in 1980. Judge White served as Chief Judge of the Court from February 10, 1995 to February 26, 1999 when he retired from the bench. Judge White later served as the first director of the Cleveland Browns Foundation, a philanthropic foundation.

Judge White was a native of Duquesne, Pennsylvania and moved to Cleveland in 1948. He graduated from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1955. Judge White previously served on Cleveland City Council for 5 years and also served as judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Judge White was the first African American to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and was also the first African American to serve as Chief Judge. Judge White was married to Lillian White, a former school teacher, until her death, and had three children: David, Lori White Laisure, and Steven (deceased).

One newspaper headline characterized Judge White as no-nonsense, yet the king of calmness. He often said that you can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Among his notable cases were the trials of former Teamsters leader Jackie Presser, porn king Reuben Sturman and Michael Monus, head of Phar-Mor.