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George "Laslo" Tonsmeire W4LT - SK (Feb 18, 2005)

November 14, 1948 - February 18, 2005

Mobile Attorney, George A. Tonsmeire Jr., dies at 56

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Friends gathered Monday to mourn the passing of long time Mobile attorney George Augustus Tonsmeire Jr.

Tonsmeire, 56, a lifelong resident of Mobile, died Friday at a hospital after suffering a heart attack.  He had suffered coronary problems for the past 10 years, according to his brother, William G. Tonsmeire of Mobile.

Tonsmeire spent more than 30 years practicing general law in Mobile with a specialty in real estate.  Since the 1990s, he was also a broker for his company, Coastal Realty.

During the early 1970s he served as an assistant prosecutor in Mobile County.

"He was a very supportive and generous and open person," his brother said.  "He had many friends."

Stova McFadden had worked with Tonsmeire's father, the late George A. Tonsmeire Sr., at Tonsmeire, Hodnette and McFadden, which later became Tonsmeire and McFadden.  He remembered the younger Tonsmeire as a great man.

"He worked for us a short time when he first got out of law school," said McFadden of the firm now known as McFadden Lyon and Rouse. "He's been out on his own for a long time. He was a lovable type of fellow. He was a great man and always had a pleasant attitude."

Rene Stiegler of Mobile, a friend since childhood, said he could tell stories about Tonsmeire all day and still only scratch the surface of what he was like.  He said that among the many things he'll miss is his friend's sense humor.  He said he'll also miss him on the amateur radio nets, known as HAM radio.

"We got into HAM radio when we were kids in the 1960s" as a hobby, Stiegler said.

Tonsmeire later became involved with the Air Force Military Affiliate Radio System, the Maritime Mobile Service Net, and at the time of his passing, was involved with the Navy Marine Corps MARS.  These groups of HAM radio operators help get messages from people deployed overseas or aboard ships to get messages or telephone patches to loved ones.  They can also get messages back and forth between ships or from islands or from operators relaying information from areas during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Tonsmeire helped troops in Vietnam get messages or telephone patches through, Stiegler recalled.

William Tonsmeire said his brother's enthusiasm for being a HAM radio operator grew out of a lifelong interest in electronics.

A graduate of McGill Institute, Tonsmeire attended Louisiana State University and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law.

He was a parishioner of St. Mary Catholic Church.

In addition to his brother, Tonsmeire's survivors include his wife of 19 years, Karen A. Tonsmeire of Mobile; and three daughters, Rachael Tonsmeire Starnes of Columbia, S.C., Tegan Ann Tonsmeire and Tracey Margaret Tonsmeire, both of Mobile.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Mary Catholic Church on Monday. Burial was in Old Spring Hill Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to St. Mary Catholic Church.

Published in the Mobile Register on 2/20/2005
Staff Reporter