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George Pike Jr.: Lawyer Pike loved outdoors, his state

by Neal Earley | October 14, 2021 at 3:22 a.m.

George Pike Jr., a bookish lawyer, high-energy outdoorsman and proud Arkansan, died Monday. He was 84 years old.

His daughter, Deborah Bliss, said Pike died of complications from a recent stroke.

Born in Little Rock in 1937, Pike grew up DeWitt where he developed a passion for the outdoors.

He spent 29 years at Friday Eldredge & Clark in Little Rock, eventually becoming a partner at the law firm. At work, Pike was mostly a quiet man who preferred to work independently, going into the office as early as 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. to work on legal briefs.

"He was a fierce advocate for everyone, whether it was the Union Pacific railroad or somebody who cleaned the law offices that had a personal injury claim," Bliss said.

The son of a lawyer and seemingly predestined to practice law, Pike went off to Hendrix College, where he played football and sneaked away on the weekends to hunt before later heading to Harvard Law School.

Byron Eiseman, a close friend of Pike and a colleague at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, said that early in Pike's career his boyish looks threw some people off. Many were not expecting a young lawyer to be as well-prepared as he was.

"George kind of kept to himself, but he was well-liked and certainly highly respected," Eiseman said.

"I guess he really focused on work and family probably more than anything else," he said.

While a serious study, Pike couldn't help but crack a joke or pull a prank.

Even though he left Arkansas to attend law school, Pike always knew he would return here to practice law. While clerking for a law firm in Chicago one summer, Pike's inner-Arkansan couldn't be contained as he called the Hogs in response to a question from one of the firm's partners at a dinner.

"I don't know what they asked him, but whatever it was, it's what he thought about I guess," said Pike's widow, Jean Pike.

"After he graduated they wanted him to come work with them, but he was a country boy," Jean said. "He wanted to come back to Arkansas."

George and Jean met while attending Hendrix College and married in 1962. They met in humanities class after Jean noticed a "handsome guy" with a blond buzz-cut.

"George may have thought he picked me up, but actually I picked him out," Jean said.

When not at work, Pike seemingly could never sit still. He hunted, fished, hiked mountains and swam rivers, often taking his six daughters along with him.

"If he were planning a fun weekend, he would have at least four things to do, and you'd just be worn out," Jean said. "You couldn't get them all done."

For most of his life, he didn't watch television, and discovered "Seinfeld" long after the final episode of the "Show of the 90s" aired.

"He was just very present in his environment," Bliss said.

After he retired, Pike rediscovered a passion for reading for pleasure, but he read only "true things" such as books on war, politics and President John F. Kennedy.

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