George Rudiak (1915 – 1995) was born in Moscow, Russia. At the age of five, George emigrated with his Jewish parents to the United States in 1920. He was raised in Los Angeles, California and received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942.
1942 was the same year the draft into armed services dogged him. Rather than be drafted, he chose to enlist in the US Army Corps. The same year he married the energetic Gertrude (née Rightman) Rudiak.
George’s enlistment brought the couple to the Las Vegas Gunnery School (now Nellis Air Force Base.) During that time, he also passed the Nevada bar exam and worked with local attorneys to build a legal practice. After his tour of duty, the couple chose to remain in Las Vegas, where they raised their five children.
George intensely advocated for civil rights at a time when others were fiercely opposed. In 1953, as a state assemblyman, George introduced a civil rights bill that would outlaw ordinances restricting the rights of blacks in Nevada. It was defeated by one vote. It is commonly felt that this cause, in combination with his Russian birth during a time of fear of Communism, cost him election to the Nevada Senate in 1954.
Undaunted, George always championed for the rights of others. He believed change was possible and righteous. Discrimination had no place in our world. He chaired the Nevada Equal Rights Commission in 1965 and was also a delegate to the National Board of American Civil Liberties Union. In later life, he represented organized labor and was one of the founders of Valley Hospital.
He was a member of Temple Beth Sholom, active with Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Services and the Hebrew Academy, among other Jewish organizations. In 1995, George was honored by the Hall of Fame of the Historic Moulin Rouge Preservation Association.
Nevadan Today – Review Journal – August 7, 1988
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