Nemitz given Liberty Bell Award

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2001

Gary Nemitz is the recipient of the 2001 Mower County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award.

Thursday, May 03, 2001

Gary Nemitz is the recipient of the 2001 Mower County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award.

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Nemitz received the award in ceremonies conducted Tuesday afternoon in a Mower County Third Judicial District courtroom.

Craig M. Byram, president of the Mower County Bar Association, described the annual May 1 award as the United States’ counterpart to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s annual May Day celebrations of communism.

"This May Day celebration is for our way of life," Byram said. "For justice, freedom and a democratic form of government."

According to Byram, the annual Law Day celebration seeks to identify an individual who puts forth efforts that epitomize the American idea.

Scott Richardson, an attorney and friend of Nemitz, presented the award. According to Richardson, Nemitz was the perfect choice for the association’s honor because of "all of the long years of dedicated public service."

Nemitz was appointed to a First Ward seat on the Austin City Council when the incumbent council member, Leo Reding, was elected mayor.

He served 11 years on the Austin City Council, beginning in 1970 and was elected to the Fifth District seat on the Mower County Board of Commissioners in 1990. After 10 years on the county board, Nemitz resigned in January because of health reasons.

He is the owner of Nemitz’s Tobacco and Books, a Main Street North mainstay for decades, and arguably one of the best-known businessmen in Austin.

Richardson described Nemitz as an avid golfer who pursued his elected posts with equal zeal as his favorite recreational pursuit.

Nemitz was accompanied by his wife of 40 years, Barbara Jean, plus other family members. The couple has two daughters and three sons and seven grandchildren.

Attending the ceremonies were attorneys from the Hoversten, Johnson, Beckmann & Hovey, Richardson Law Office and Baudler, Baudler, Maus & Blahnik law firms.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners was meeting in a closed session at the time of the ceremonies.

The honoree expressed his appreciation to the Mower County Bar Association for the Liberty Bell Award. He praised his wife and children for their support.

Last year’s recipients of the Liberty Bell Award were Duane Klingerman, a retired long-time Austin police officer, and Richard C. Baudler, a well-known Austin attorney, who received the honor posthumously.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at