Guy James Avery, 68

Administrative law judge

August 13, 2007

Guy James Avery of Baltimore, a former judge for the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, died Saturday of colitis at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 68.

Mr. Avery, who was born in New York City and grew up there and in Massachusetts, served in the Marine Corps. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned an undergraduate degree and was a member of the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity.

After moving to Baltimore, he attended night school at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Mr. Avery worked in the legal division of the state's Department of Social Services. He then transferred to the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to serve as a hearing examiner.

In 1990, the state reorganized the hearing examiners into one department, and Mr. Avery became a founding member of the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Mr. Avery, who was passionate about writing, created a manual on decision writing for administrative law judges that has been used nationwide. He also led workshops on the topic.

Laurie Bennett, a longtime friend and colleague, said Mr. Avery relished being a part of the legal system.

"He enjoyed giving people an opportunity to air their grievances about the government," she said. "It sounds corny, but it was of utmost importance to him."

His daughter, Shannon Avery, of Baltimore, said her father, who loved Bob Dylan's music and protested the Vietnam War, believed in the essence of justice.

"He really believed in doing what was right, and that also carried into his work," she said.

Her father also loved classical music, particularly Beethoven, and reading.

Ms. Bennett called him "intensely curious about the world."

"He would be annoyed at me in a very loving way if I would read junk," she said. "Not in a high-and-mighty way, but in a you-only-have-so-many-days, you-have-to-find-out-all-you-can way."

An avid chess player, Mr. Avery played with his son through the mail, sending their moves on postcards. When he became Internet-savvy, he challenged people around the world to matches online.

Mr. Avery retired last year.

Services will be private.

He is also survived by two former wives, Carolyn Warfield of California and Jan Virsack of Stewartstown, Pa., and three grandchildren. His son, David Craig Avery, died in a car accident in 2002.

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