George Jonas, one of the leading lights in the West Midlands legal, political and classical music circles, has died from motor neurone disease at the age of 77.
A wartime child refugee who was adopted on his arrival in the UK, he went on to carve a formidable reputation as a lawyer, city councillor and chairman of the CBSO during its rise to international acclaim.
George Jonas came to this country from Bresslau, Poland, with the Kinder Transport as a refugee in 1939, aged 11, just before the Second World War and was adopted by a childless couple in Cheshire.
He began his first job in Northwich as an office junior in a firm of solicitors. He eventually obtained what was then called "articles" to a London firm of solicitors and at the same time did an external law degree at the London School of Economics.
While in London he met his wife, Frieda, and they married in 1951. Shortly afterwards they moved to Birmingham where they lived for the rest of his life.
His passion for human rights and his compassion for the less fortunate in society initially led him into local politics and he served as a city councillor from 1959 to 1965 and again from 1966 to 1969.
During this time he developed his practice in criminal defence work and his intellect and advocacy skills helped him establish a reputation as Birmingham's top criminal defence solicitor.
In 1969 he felt he had to make a choice between politics and the law. The law won.
When he retired from George Jonas & Co, he had been practising for more than 50 years.
He became a member of the Council of the Birmingham Law Society in 1965 and in 1979 was the first criminal law solicitor to be appointed its president. He remained with the council until earlier this year when he retired on being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
His compassion for the less fortunate members of society led him to the Margery Fry Memorial Trust which, inter alia, looks after the care and resettlement of offenders. He was on the Birmingham and West Midlands Area Board 1970-1985 and its president since 1990.
Outside the law, Mr Jonas will be especially remembered for his contribution to classical music in Birmingham. He joined the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra board of directors in 1966 and campaigned tirelessly for a new Symphony Hall, a dream he was eventually to see realised.
He was chairman of the CBSO from 1974 to 1992 and a director of Symphony Hall from 1996 until he resigned earlier this year.
Not knowing that he would soon die, after his resignation and in recognition of his contribution to Birmingham's classical music scene, the board of directors gave him free tickets to any Symphony Hall concerts for the rest of his life.
In recognition of his contribution to the people of Birmingham he was awarded the Birmingham Civic Society Gold Medal in 1986.
His son, Steven Jonas, a former president of the Birmingham Law Society, described his father as "a man of enormous integrity and principle, and also a very kind and caring man".
The family have requested donations to go to the Motor Neurone Disease Society and MacMillan Nurses.
George Jonas is survived by his widow and two children. Details of a memorial service have yet to be announced.