George LaVern (“Vern”) Albright (88), beloved husband and father, prominent local attorney, Air Force Veteran, and LDS Patriarch, passed away in the early morning of July 7, 2017, from heart failure, after 64 years of marriage to his Las Vegas High School sweetheart, Barbara Carruth.
Vern was born on May 30, 1929, in Albuquerque New Mexico, to parents George Harwood (“Bud”) Albright, a future Clark County Commissioner and “Father of the Las Vegas Convention Center” and Marjorie Eugenia Hageman Albright, a future beloved, beautiful and sophisticated grandmother.
Vern was not blessed with a stable childhood, and spent his early formative years living with different relatives or foster families, in many different places, including New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Texas. Beginning in the 7th Grade, Vern was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada by his father Bud and his stepmother Ellen Finnerty Albright. Vern was the oldest of Bud’s three sons, and had the privilege of being an older brother to local Police Officer Karl Albright, now deceased (married to Sue Ellen Howell) and to local Convention Industry member Ken Albright (married to Kathy Oden). Vern, Karl, and Ken carried on a weekly tradition of eating lunch together with their father for many years during their adult lives.
Shortly after he moved to Las Vegas, Vern’s friend Carl Christensen invited him to join a local Boy Scout Troop where he gained many friends, and from which he earned his Eagle at 16. Vern met his future wife Barbara Carruth (daughter of Scott Heber Carruth and Ella Calista Earl Carruth) during their days at Las Vegas High School, and remained smitten with her for the rest of his life. Two days before his death, he told one of his grandsons, “Barbara’s touch still electrifies me the same way it did when we started dating.” Vern graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1947, and was chosen by his classmates to give the Graduation Speech for their class.
At 18 years old, Vern was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his lifelong friend, Lloyd D. (“Duko”) George. Vern was devoted to the Church and accepted and magnified many callings throughout his life. He served a full-time LDS Mission to South Africa from 1950 to 1952, and was able to be one of the first 8 missionaries to open the work in Rhodesia. He remained close to his Mission President, and to many of his missionary companions, for many decades after his mission. Vern would later serve as a Bishop of the Las Vegas 28th Ward (“The Great 28th”), as a Mission President in Tampa Florida (1988-1991), as a Single Adult Ward Bishop, and, for many years, as Patriarch of the Las Vegas, Nevada Stake.
After his time in South Africa, Vern was finally able to marry his beloved Barbara, who had graduated as Salutatorian from the University of Nevada Reno, and was working as a teacher. They were married on August 25, 1952, in the Salt Lake City Utah Temple, by Spencer W. Kimball. Vern then resumed his studies at Brigham Young University and joined the Air Force ROTC. After he graduated, Vern and Barbara lived in many different locales as Vern served for 4 and ½ years (1954 – 1959) as an officer and pilot in the United States Air Force, fulfilling a boyhood dream to become a pilot. He would later recount how well he had been prepared to learn to fly, by all of the childhood afternoons he had practiced dive-bombing in his imagination.
Vern and Barbara then lived in Arlington Virginia as Vern attended George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. Vern earned his way through school by working graveyard shifts guarding the Capitol building as a U.S. Capitol Policeman. To balance this job with his rigorous school schedule, he slept in 3 hours shifts throughout the day and night, but still managed to obtain such good grades that he was invited onto the Editorial Board of the Law Review, and graduated early, and with honors, in 1961.
Vern then served briefly as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator for Nevada Howard Cannon, and then relocated with Barbara and their oldest children to Las Vegas, then a small but growing town, with few lawyers and lots of opportunity. Vern quickly became the only Las Vegas assistant to Nevada’s U.S. Attorney, and subsequently joined the D.A.’s office, which offered higher pay, weekly felony trials, and the chance to do private civil work on the side. These jobs allowed Vern to obtain invaluable experience, and prosecute over 50 jury trials in his first 18 months as an attorney, often against well-known local attorneys who had been practicing for decades, who were defending the cases by court appointment. After leaving government practice, Vern continued to be appointed to prosecute criminal cases and also to defend a number of murder trials, but ultimately spent most of his career as a civil litigator, becoming a highly regarded and successful business attorney, and remaining a member of the Bar for over 50 years. Vern tried his hand at family law, but could never have made a living in that field, as, whenever a new client tried to hire him to handle a divorce, he would talk them out of getting one, and tell them what they needed to do to fall back in love with their spouse. The firm he formed in 1970 soon received an AV rating, and still exists today as Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright. In 1973, Vern served as President of the local Kiwanis Club, which, under his tenure, helped to establish and began to sponsor the Varsity Quiz program for CCSD High School students, which is still ongoing to this day, and recently honored Vern for his founding role.
Vern and Barbara raised four children, who all continue to live in Las Vegas: Mark, an attorney (married to Karyn Wasden); Douglas, a commercial real estate broker (married to Megan Stromer); Karen, a homemaker and real estate agent (married to Paul Callister); and Chris, an attorney (married to Elaine Bowman). In addition to his wife Barbara, his brother Ken, and his four children, Vern is survived by 18 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren.
Vern’s children and grandchildren have many fond memories of Vern’s serious side, lecturing and teaching them about the importance of positive thoughts and that they would become what they think about, Emerson’s essay on the law of compensation, and the principles of the Gospel including especially the power of the priesthood, and the miracles he had seen in his own life when he or a loved one were called upon to exercise that power.
Vern’s children and grandchildren also have many fond memories of Vern’s fun side, including how he loved to sing, and teach them all the lyrics to, comedic songs during road trips; how much he enjoyed sneaking up slowly behind someone (in a melodramatic fashion for the benefit of others in the room who could see what was about to happen), and then scream and grab his victim under their arms to scare them when they weren’t paying attention; and how much he loved to embarrass his children on chairlifts by taking off his upper layers of clothing one by one and belting out a song, prompting his children to pretend he wasn’t with them and to ask loudly, “where are you from sir?” He also loved to sneak out of hospital rooms when he had decided, against a doctor’s orders, that it was time to leave, and rejoiced to find out from a subsequent visitor that he was later being hailed over the intercom to return to his room.
Vern retained a keen intellect up until the end of his life, reading the newspaper daily and exhorting his children to read that day’s Wall Street Journal editorial, sometimes providing them a copy if he suspected they wouldn’t get around to doing so. Vern and Barbara’s children were blessed to be raised, and his grandchildren were blessed to be influenced, by a man who believed in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ; strict honesty; positive thoughts; hard work; service to others; and in doing fun things, which included, at one time or another over the years, motorboating, waterskiing, sailing, motorcycling, shooting, golfing, RVing, snowmobiling, travelling, attending plays and operas, and lots and lots of snow-skiing (but no camping if it could be avoided).
Vern was a dynamic speaker and leader whose influence will never be forgotten by the many people, young and old, who were blessed by his service to his family, his Church, his clients, his profession, and his community. His family is blessed by the knowledge he taught us, that, through the loving providence of our Heavenly Father, and the grace of Jesus Christ, we can all be with Vern and our other family members, once again.
Memorial services will be held at the following times and locations:
Viewing. Friday July 14th, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the LDS Chapel located at 3400 West Charleston, Las Vegas Nevada 89102.
Pre-service Viewing. Saturday July 15th, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the LDS Chapel located at 3400 West Charleston, Las Vegas Nevada 89102.
Funeral. Saturday July 15th, at 11:00 a.m., at the LDS Chapel located at 3400 West Charleston, Las Vegas Nevada 89102.
Internment. Saturday July 15th, at 1:30 p.m. Palm Northwest Cemetery. 6701 North Jones Blvd.
A luncheon will be provided after the Internment, at the Charleston Chapel.