"The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly." Jim Roh
Tyler Wilson, Past President of WHCA, remarked after George’s passing:“Every successful community needs a few people with initiative, motivation and the energy to focus on the greater good and to create a sense of togetherness. George had all those qualities and much more, and all of us in Waverly Hills will miss his decency, his enthusiasm and his leadership.”
Other friends and neighbors, experiencing shock and heartbreak over his death, referred to George as "one of the most decent men I’ve known" and a "fine gentleman and wise and caring leader." “If Waverly Hills had had a mayor, there is no one who could have done it better than George.”
A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Minnesota, George was active for decades in his neighborhood and led the fight to get a sidewalk in front of his house. In 2013, he was an advisor to the Waverly Hills Neighborhood Conservation Plan. He retired in December of 2014 from a long career in publishing. Every year after that, from 2015-2020, he worked tirelessly for his community, including maintaining the two traffic circles on Utah Street. In 2018, after serving as Vice President for two years, George became President of the WHCA.
the idea and Caroline Caterini for her beautiful art work), additional picnic tables, and colorful Adirondack chairs (picture above). When it came to participation, George didn’t just talk about helping – he tackled the issue immediately and everyone in the neighborhood benefited.
earlier this year. As Ginger Brown, LHA's Executive Director said: "George truly believed in housing for all ages and income levels."
In addition to his successful advocacy with the County, George had a keen sense of humor and liked to have fun. An expert on bourbon, he and Dave raised money for LHA by enthusiastically offering tastings at the Broadview fundraiser. Happy and hardworking, he and his wife, Ellen, volunteered for nearly every event that Waverly Hills has celebrated, including the Woodstock Park Festival, Pizza and Democracy in the Park, Election Day Bake Sales, Oktoberfest at the Marymount Farmers Market, Light the Night Halloween Festival, Halloween and Holiday Décor Contests, and Selfies with Santa, where George dressed as an elf.
George emailed nearly every week, and below are some quotes that express his concern for others and his volunteer spirit:
“Today I received the request below from Maggie Ryan, the school social worker at Langston High School Continuation Program located at Langston-Brown, to provide some financial support to five students in the program…I think that this is a worthwhile request for WHCA to consider. Therefore, I move to propose that WHCA offer each of these five students $50 supermarket gift cards.” (Of course, the WHCA strongly supported his idea.)
After the Waverly Bakers’ 2018 Election Day Bake Sale, where George and Ellen stood and sold baked goods for five hours in the cold November air in front of Glebe School, George wrote, with a twinkle in his eye: “What a great result. However don’t tell anyone how much fun the three of us had at the bake sale. We don’t want anyone to be jealous.”
Last December, George wrote a ‘State of the Neighborhood Report, thanking everyone for their community spirit. With regard to Plan Lee Highway, George wrote: “Having attended many of these meetings, I would urge you to become involved in this project…”
As we sat in George’s garden last week, enjoying lovely flowers and interesting conversation, with stories of heritage and history sprinkled into community lore, we looked at George and Ellen and thought: “What a wonderfully caring and supportive partnership.” Let us continue to think of Ellen and our community in the months and years ahead – that is what George would have wanted.
Farewell dear George, those special memories of you that we all share will always bring smiles, but if only we could have you back for just a little while. As George sometimes said at the end of an email: “Regards to all and go Caps (and Gophers)!”
Sandi Chesrown, VP, WHCA
Paul Holland, VP, WHCA
John Shortall, Secretary, WHCA