Milwaukee attorney J. Ric Gass, a founding member and partner in the Milwaukee law firm of Gass Weber Mullins LLC, died unexpectedly of a heart attack Sunday, Oct. 13 at his home in Minocqua. A prominent trial lawyer, Mr. Gass was a leader in his profession both locally and nationally. He practiced nationally from Wisconsin to Florida and Hawaii, mostly defending corporations and insurers for their most challenging cases. He secured the largest jury verdict in the history of Wisconsin for $104.5 million.

Mr. Gass was chosen as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in North America by Benchmark Litigation. He was a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and was elected a Diplomat in the American Board of Trial Advocates, a fellow in both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers, a past president of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, Litigation Counsel of America, and Lawyers for Civil Justice. 

He was a past Wisconsin chairman of the board of directors of the Defense Research Institute and was listed in the Best Lawyers in America for over 10 years and Chambers. He was also recognized by his peers as a “Wisconsin Super Lawyer” since 2005.

Mr. Gass was a frequent speaker nationally on trial practice topics and taught at the Marquette University Law School, publishing numerous articles and book chapters on legal topics. While his office was in Milwaukee, Mr. Gass split his time between homes in Nashville and Minocqua.

Born on March 13, 1943 in Green Bay. He earned a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he majored in chemistry. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University Law School, graduating cum laude. He was a passionate competitor in many sports, starting with his youth when he excelled in Little League. As an adult he went on to excel at bicycling and cross country skiing, including the American Birkebeiner. Later in life he took up golf with the same energy and passion.

Mr. Gass is survived by his sister, Mary Jo Juley of Green Bay; daughters Jenna (Darin) Garrity of Brunswick, Ohio; Jolie (Brian) Ensign of Durango, Colo.; Rebecca (Matt) Diebel of Madison; his surviving partner, Anita Munman of Nashville and Minocqua; and six grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Nimsgern Funeral Home in Woodruff. Visitation will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19; services at 2 p.m. and a reception to follow at the Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Marquette University Law School Scholarship Fund.

Online condolences may be shared at www.nimsgernfuneral.com. Nimsgern Funeral & Cremation Services is serving the family.