Finding Aid for the Judge Al Gerson Papers, 1924-2013
Albert Sterling Gerson was born in Houston, Texas, to Ben and Regina Greenburg Gerson. The family briefly moved to Beaumont, Texas, where Al attended Averill Elementary for a short time before his parents moved back to Houston. After graduation from San Jacinto High School in 1942, Al enlisted in the United States Army one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to duty in the Pacific Theater where he saw combat in the Second Battle of Guam in July and August of 1944. After the war, Al served in the Merchant Marines and went on to serve for over thirty years in the Texas National Guard, finally retiring in 2002 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
Albert’s father was killed in 1947 while aboard a freighter in the port of Texas City. A series of explosions killed both his father and destroyed roughly a third of that city. The son used an abandoned laundry truck to transport his injured mother and other victims from the blast to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Al participated tirelessly in the recovery efforts that surrounded this tragic event.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Houston and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Al Gerson set up his law practice in the Goodhue Building in Beaumont, Texas. After practicing law for 20 years, he was elected as Judge of County Court of Law Number One in 1984 and continued to be re-elected to that office for the next twenty-seven years until his retirement in 2011. Among the many honors that Judge Gerson earned during his lengthy legal career was the Blackstone Award in 2006 from the Jefferson County Bar Association.
Hunting of wild game was a lifelong passion and interest of Judge Gerson. His office walls were crowded with the many hunting trophies that he had earned. He hunted a variety of wild animals from rattlesnakes to wild boars to alligators and bobcats. Despite his avid love for hunting, Judge Gerson was also interested in environmental conservation. His personal efforts in conservation saved an estimated 400 California burros from extermination by the United States government.
Al married Pet Gerson in 1974 and had a step-daughter, Jan Rothenberger and a step-son, Jay Jennings.
The collection contains photographs, documents, plaques, artifacts and newspaper clippings relating to the life, hobbies and career of Judge Gerson.
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[Identification of item], Box Number, Folder Number, Judge Al Gerson Papers, 1924-2013, AC-656, Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont, Texas.
Donated by Helen Gerson, 2015 March.
Processed by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2015 March.
Finding aid revised and encoded by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2015 April.
No further accruals are expected.
Detailed Description of the Collection