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What’s in a name?

March 26, 2012

Did you know that we have a name for the new clinic center, once the clinics have moved into the firehouse?  It will be called the George J. Asher Law Clinic Center. I thought perhaps you might want to know a little about George Asher, and why it is an honor for us to connect the clinics with his name.

Here is an excerpt from our press release announcing the purchase of the firehouse:

“Funding for the purchase of the property, as well as the upcoming extensive renovation of the building, comes from a principal gift made by UD and UD Law alumnus Anthony A. Asher (’61, ’65), managing partner of the law firm of Sullivan, Ward, Asher, & Patton, P.C., based in Southfield, Michigan.  Anthony Asher made the gift in memory of his brother, George J. Asher.

As the eldest child of Syrian Catholic immigrants in Detroit, George Asher became head of a large household at age 16 when both of his parents died.  Anthony, then 10 years old, looked to George as his surrogate father, and he was humbled by the sacrifices that George made for him and their siblings.

George Asher had to quit high school in order to support his family.  He earned his General Education Development degree (G.E.D.) and became a highly successful non-lawyer union negotiator for a local law firm.  At the urging of the attorneys at the firm, he completed high school and began law school at the University of Detroit in the evening program.  George died tragically in 1963 as a result of complications from hemophilia, while Anthony was a first-year law student and George was just months shy of graduating from the School of Law.  Anthony continued his studies with George’s inspiration spurring him towards success.  He went on to become the leader of one of metro-Detroit’s premier law firms.

In recognition of Anthony’s gift and the tremendous spirit and dedication of his brother, UDM will name the clinical program in the new building the George J. Asher Law Clinic Center.”

I want to emphasize the impact that George Asher made on the world of union negotiations.  He was known around Detroit as a highly successful negotiator.  He even met his wife, the late Pearl Asher, on the picket lines of a 1951 labor strike at her place of employment, Richard’s Drive-In.  The Drive-In was the site of a Teamsters strike where both Pearl and George were arrested.  According to a quote in a Hometownlife.com article, “Meeting on the picket line of strike-bound Richard’s Drive-In, the couple managed to keep a romance going in spite of the juvenile antics of irresponsible hot rodders, a flare up of violence which saw the whole complement of the Shaeffer Police Station converge on the scene, and the romance-dampening atmosphere of the Wayne County Jail.”  Mrs. Asher, who passed away in February, is remembered as an “uncompromising union activist,” along with her late husband.

Return here next week for some firehouse history!

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3 Comments
  1. Annamarie Asher permalink

    Thanks Uncle Tony. Our family cannot wait to visit the law center that will bear our father’s name. Pearl, his wife, would be bursting with pride.

  2. Richard Asher permalink

    Thanks so much for merging my mom and dad’s stories. :)

  3. Sherry Huntington permalink

    A wonderful article. It’s no surprise to me that Tony would honor his brother in this way. Uncle George and Aunt Pearl would be so very proud!

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