On February 6, 2022, after the first perfect round of golf ever recorded, George Aguilar put away his clubs for the last time, kissed his beautiful wife Jutta, and left this world the best way he knew how, by making it a better place for all who came in contact with him. A man of deep integrity, he was respected for his professionalism and ability as one of the country’s top attorneys, and cherished by so many for his sharp wit, intelligence, and compassion.
George Albert Aguilar was born in Newark, New Jersey on May 22, 1930, to Manuel and Maria Aguilar. He grew up in Newark’s notorious first ward, home to some of New Jersey’s finest gangsters, where he became a star student and athlete at Barringer High School. After high school he attended Rutgers University, where he was editor-in-chief of the University Literary Magazine, and developed a reputation as quite the bon vivant.
After college, when many took the opportunity to travel or find themselves, George joined the United States Army. In fact, it was during his training in New Jersey that he happened across the town of Rumson, and thought what an incredible place it would be to live. That dream would have to wait, because soon enough, First Lieutenant Aguilar was stationed outside Paris, at SHAPE Headquarters, then led by Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower. It was there that the English Officers informed him that drinking Coca Cola was unbecoming of an officer, and imparted valuable wisdom about the joys of Scotch. His mission in France was to help rebuild Europe after World War 2, and maintain peace and security for all the member nations of the newly formed NATO. If that also meant a night or two protecting the Moulin Rouge, or helping an inebriated Gregory Peck back to his hotel (true story), then it was all in the name of duty. He was nothing if not a patriot.
After serving in the Army, George attended NYU Law School, where once again he excelled. His legal acumen was noticed by many, eventually leading him to employment at the prestigious Newark law firm of Stryker, Tams & Dill, where as a young attorney, he had one of his defining career moments, and one of great personal pride. He was instrumental in protecting thousands of acres of rural New Jersey from becoming a Port Authority jetport. A little known area of enormous beauty, the Great Swamp, was a natural habitat for wildlife, and represented a way of life for thousands of people. The battle became one of the great environmental battles in United States history, ultimately requiring a President and an act of Congress to step in. And it was the dedicated and brilliant work of a young attorney, George Aguilar, that led to the creation of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge that still stands to this day. This was the first of many professional endeavors that cemented George’s reputation as amongst the finest attorneys in the country. This story was actually made into a documentary, in which George has an important on-screen presence. The documentary is called “Saving the Great Swamp: Battle to Defeat the Jetport.” Watch it. George is still hopeful for an Academy Award.
But it was another not so professional endeavor that would truly change the course of history. In 1964, the young attorney decided he needed a vacation, so he booked a trip to Bermuda by himself. Those who know George may be reading the by himself part in disbelief, but we swear, it’s true. And as fate would have it, there was a beautiful young woman traveling at the same time, to the same destination, who would change his life forever, Jutta Broskowski.
George and Jutta married in Mainz, Germany in 1964 and moved to Montclair, NJ. Soon after, George and Jutta welcomed their first child, Audrey, who would become his pride and joy. Now a family man, he thought back to his days as a young officer, and that magical town by the Jersey Shore, Rumson. The young family moved to Rumson, and four years later welcomed their second child, Michael, who filled their home with laughter. It was everything George dreamed of. We can all be comforted knowing he not only lived the full life of his dreams, but became a pillar of the very community he admired so much. In fact, it is hard to even imagine Rumson without George, beloved by so many friends, serving as their own local North Star, gently guiding them to the right side of things.
There is a theme of helping others that in fact runs through George’s life. From his time rebuilding post war Europe, to saving the Wetlands of New Jersey, to helping people put their most personal affairs in order, he was a truly decent man who was always there for you. A lasting testament to this is his work setting up the Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has provided decades of resources to so many in an effort to build movements for positive change.
He loved baseball, evenings at the beach with Jutta and friends, culture, and traveling. And perhaps above all, he loved golf, which he played his entire life with his dear friends. Even at the very end, he remained confident that he would be back out there soon. Perhaps it was for the chance at yet another hole-in-one. But more likely he just wanted to spend more time with his golfing buddies that he adored so much.
With George it wasn’t the countless professional accolades, or enduring friendships that fueled his ninety-one years. It was his family. George’s family meant everything to him. He would refer to Jutta as his angel, and knew without her, none of his dreams would have been possible. To his last day he always saw her as that beautiful woman he met on a beach in Bermuda. His children, Audrey and Michael were a source of enormous pride, laughter and inspiration. His intelligence and lethal wit live on with them, and they will always be happy to share that with those who meant so much to him. And his brother of ninety years, Thomas, whom he was so proud of, and shared so much with, was by his side until the very end. And don’t even get him started on his grandchildren. It was a well-known secret that if you wanted to see George light up, just mention Fred and Lily, and you would see the kind of happiness we all can only aspire to.
He will be missed by so many, but his legacy of decency, intelligence, and humor lives forever in those lucky enough to have known him. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Thompson Memorial Home of Red Bank, NJ has been entrusted with the arrangements.