George Barton Simpson

George Barton Simpson

George Barton Simpson, who opened a law office in Vancouver in 1907 and went on to become chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, was a man who never could seem to do enough for his community.

Simpson’s list of achievements went far beyond the legal field. During his almost half-century of residency here, he was at various times a founder of the local Boy Scout movement, founder and president of the Clark county golf and Country Club, first chairman of the Clark County Game Commission and a leader in numerous other civic and service organizations.

Because of his long work with the Boy Scouts, Simpson was awarded the Silver Beaver, Scouting’s highest honor. Another indication of his interest in youth was the fact as juvenile court judge he helped reduce the rate of juvenile appearances in court from 12 percent in 1932 percent to 3.2 percent in 1936.

Simpson also is credited with having initiated the local trout hatchery.

Born Aug. 12, 1881, in Pomeroy, Wash., Simpson came to Vancouver in 1907 right after graduation from the Willamette University School of Law. He was elected Vancouver City attorney in 1915 and in three years in that position never lost a case.

In 1920, Simpson became a judge of the Superior Court and held this position until 1937 when he was appointed to the state Supreme Court. He was elected in 1938 and again in 1944 and served two terms as chief justice.

In the election of 1950, Simpson finally was defeated for re-election. He returned to Vancouver, where he practiced law with his son Donald, until his death in June of 1954 at age 72.

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