In Memory of John Bartow Rees Jr.


March 27, 1931 - September 26, 2012

Georgia Law regrets to announce the passing of Law School Association Professor of Law Emeritus John Bartow Rees Jr., who served as a faculty member at the law school from 1959 to 2002. In addition to his role as a professor, Rees also served as assistant dean from 1964 to 1969, led the facilities committee that oversaw the design and construction of the law school's 1967 expansion and generously endowed the John B. Rees Jr. Law Library Book Fund. He is survived by his wife Elinor, who lives in Athens, Ga., as well as by his five children, four grandchildren and two brothers. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Law Library Book Fund in Rees's honor.

Athens Banner-Herald Obituary

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We will post selected e-mails to this Web page so all can share in the memory of this highly respected scholar and friend.

Remembrances of John Rees:

I have very fond memories of John Rees. Professor Rees was my first year Contracts teacher. Although going into the course I thought Contracts would be as "dull as dishwater"; when I surfaced from 9 months of contracts law, it was my favorite course. Professor Rees' intellect and presentation skills made contracts interesting and challenging; and with his dry wit, often a pleasure. During my 25 years of teaching Contracts, I frequently thought of John Rees.

- Nat Hansford (LL.B.'68)


I remember the first time I ever met John Rees.  His tall, almost gaunt figure and his chiseled features made him seem quite forbidding -- until he smiled.  I don't think I have ever seen a more brilliant smile than John's.  John Rees had long been an institution at Georgia Law when I arrived as Director of the Law Library in 1994.  He took a special interest in the law library because he knew it was the crowning feature of the law school building whose development he oversaw so meticulously.  He never tired of walking into the massive reading room with its floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a vista of ivy, rhododendron, and old oaks. 

But he cared for more than the building, he also loved the collection.  He was on the faculty in 1966 when the legislature voted to give the law library $1,000,000 dollars for books to be spent over a two year period.  A million dollars went a lot further then than it does now.  It was not possible to make the kind of careful decisions about the quality of materials being acquired that librarians prefer to make.  John worked closely with the librarian to spend the money wisely, but he once joked to me that "We bought everything with 'law' in the title, including law of gravity and law of thermodynamics."  Nevertheless, the collection he helped to build is the finest in Georgia and one of the finest in the country. 

John really loved books, as anyone who has been in his home would know.  When computers became ubiquitous in libraries, he worried the library would spend more and more of its budget on computers instead of books, so he endowed a library fund to be spent only on books.  As the library director, I was very grateful for his generosity.  There are still plenty of books to buy, so John's money will continue to be spent as he wished.  I was quite touched that his family asked memorial gifts to  be made to that fund. 

John Rees had a major role in making Georgia Law what it is today.  His legacy is the beautiful, functional building and the large, rich library collection.  He is missed.

- E. Ann Puckett, Professor of Law and Director of the Law Library Emeritus