Richard H. “Rick” McGee II, 71, third generation of a family of lawyers whose Minot origins date to the early 1900s, died Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at a Velva, ND, health care facility. Until his retirement in 2017 after forty years in the practice of law, he maintained a storied career that to some seems the stuff of legend.
He was a member of the Minot law firm now known as McGee, Hankla & Backes. Since 2007, he and his family have maintained their residence at a home they built at Lake Metigoshe, ND.
Richard Haley McGee was born June 19, 1950, in Minot, a son of Richard H. McGee and Donna (Norman) McGee. His grandfather, George A. McGee, came to Minot in 1901 fresh out of law school at Notre Dame University. Like his father, Rick was raised in Minot. He attended St. Leo’s grade school and graduated from Bishop Ryan Catholic School in 1968. During a stretch in the 1960s, he was the drummer with a band known as the Road Runners. He earned a degree at Minot State College before enrolling in law school at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He graduated from there in 1977. Especially meaningful to him then: the presentation of his law degree diploma by his father who was a member of the State Board of Higher Education.
He married Susan Christianson of Upham, ND, on June 4, 1976, at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Minot. They settled in Minot where he joined his father’s law firm and remained in the community until the move to Lake Metigoshe.
His career was sharply escalated in 1986 when a jury trial he litigated with his father in Ward County District Court at Minot resulted in a multimillion dollar verdict in favor of their clients. The fact that he tried and won the case with his father meant more to him than the multimillion award, his family said. After that, his caseload grew and led him abroad. He traveled to Italy and Germany more than once to take legal depositions. He and his wife traveled extensively in Europe, especially to Ireland, Scotland, England, Iceland, and Norway. They made four trips to Ireland, his wife Susan recalled. He had spent time researching the McGee family’s Irish roots and extended his knowledge of his ancestry in its native land. He showed me the world, she said.
He was a member and former president of the Ward County Bar Association, and also of the North Dakota Bar Association. He was a member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of North Dakota and was chair of that group from 1998 to 2001. He was a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and of the Joint Procedure Committee of the State Bar. He was a Fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates and of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was once president of the North Dakota chapter of the Association of Defense Attorneys. He served six years on the Roland Township Board of Bottineau County.
Golf was his game, and he played it as a member of the Souris Valley Men’s Golf Association, the Minot Country Club and the Bottineau Country Club. He also held memberships in the Minot Elks Lodge, the Inquisitors Club of Minot, Club de Skinautique of Lake Metigoshe and the Potomac Club at UND.
He had a major role in the activities of his sons. He taught them how to golf and took them bowling. With his family, he relished lake life at Metigoshe, particularly when they rode the water on the family pontoon. He was an avid collector of sports cards and other memorabilia.
Surviving are his wife Susan, Lake Metigoshe; sons, Mitchell McGee, Minot, and Dr. Matthew McGee, La Crosse, WI; a brother, Monsignor Timothy McGee, Grand Forks; mother-in-law, Carol Christianson, Upham; brothers-in-law, Grant (Pat) Christianson, Justin, Texas, and Tom (Denise) Christianson, Upham. A number of cousins, nieces and nephews also survive.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his father-in-law, Ted Christianson.
Funeral Services: The Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, July 7, at 11 am at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Minot. To view the livestream of the service go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkw5wBH7W_IUwKUcuLvhgOw
Visitation will be Tuesday, July 6, from 3 to 5 pm at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home and Wednesday at the church for one hour prior to the funeral.
Burial will be at Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Memorials are preferred to the Richard H. McGee Law School Endowment at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, or to the donor’s choice.