George grew up in New York, graduating from Peekskill High School in 1946. He served in the Navy from 1946 to 1949. He married Doris Grimshaw in 1951, and is survived by their four children: Jonathan George (Stephanie), Wenatchee, Washington; Lauren (Skuyler Herzog), Golden, Colorado; Kendall and Claire, Santa Monica, California. Timothy James, Republic, Missouri. Krista Marie (Marty Stitsel), Sandpoint, Idaho; Lydia Stitsel, Seattle, Washington; Benjamin Gilbert (Marianne Freistein), Berlin, Germany; Manuel Freistein, Berlin Germany; Alisha Eberle, Glasgow, Scotland.
George attended Concordia Teacher's College, River Forest , Illinois and received his Bachelor's degree from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in 1954. He earned his Master of Social Work in Group Work with special honors in research from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis in 1958.
His career included teaching in a Lutheran elementary school in Danbury, Conn. from 1949 to 1951. He began his work at Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis (affiliated with the Episcopal Church), in 1954, and advanced to Program Director before leaving in 1959 to become Executive Director of the Lutheran Children's Home in Des Peres, Missouri. He returned to Grace Hill in late 1960 as Executive Director, and retired from there in 1997.
During his tenure at Grace Hill, he served in many leadership roles in the Episcopal and Lutheran communities, and in the settlement house movement. In 1972, he helped insure the continuation of Grace Hill, along with 3 other settlement houses when they merged and he became Executive Director of the new agency, Consolidated Neighborhood Services, Inc.
Under George's leadership, Grace Hill's Board of Directors and neighbors created an internationally recognized empowerment network called the Member Organized Resource Exchange (MORE). In George's own words, "the intent of MORE is to create a neighborhood process that fuels itself through information, internal capacity building, higher levels of organization and learning." With these resources, neighbors create a higher quality of life.
His awards and recognition include George Warren Brown School of Social Work Outstanding Alumni, and honorary doctorate degrees from both Washington University in St. Louis and Webster University. He was also named an "unsung hero" by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
His interests include art and painting. He was also an avid runner, completing the St. Louis marathon before changing to triathlons at age 60 because "just running is too boring." His life's work was assisting the poor to improve their lives, and he believed passionately in advocacy and social movements.
George and Helen were married on April 23, 1977 in Baltimore, Maryland. They lived in a Grace Hill neighborhood for 25 years before moving to Salt Lake City in 2001, when she accepted the position of Belle Spafford Endowed Chair at the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. The mission of the Spafford Chair was "to improve the lives of women and their families in Utah." She retired in 2009 and joined George at their second home in Mesquite.
He is preceded in death by his parents and brother in law and survived by brother Roy (Ruth), St. Louis; sister Barbara McKechnie (John), Putnam Valley, New York; and William (Elfie), Serverna Park, Maryland.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at noon at the Mesquite Lutheran Church, 450 Turtleback Road, with the Reverend Patrick O'Neal officiating. An additional service will be held on July 26 at noon at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Louis, with the Right Reverend William Jones, retired Episcopal Bishop of Missouri officiating.