Most people know him as the Chairman Emeritus of Somerset Trust Co. and chairman of the Allegany College of Maryland Somerset County Campus Foundation. I knew him from our time together on the Somerset County Rails to Trails Association board of directors.
He was even voted as the Somerset County Chamber Person of the Year — twice.
He was a Harvard School graduate and served in the Army.
One would think somebody with this many credits to his name would be a little hoity-toity. Not George.
In a photo we ran years ago of the Daily American 10K race committee, George was sprawled on the ground in front of the rest of the committee members. Would somebody full of himself lay on the ground for a photo that all of the county and beyond would see?
George and I went with Bob Holt and the late Fred Shaffer for a bike ride on the GAP at Rockwood after a Rails to Trails meeting one afternoon a few years ago. George and I were returning when a bee flew into my mouth and stung my tongue. I didn't feel pain so much as numbness on the side of my face and neck.
George was very concerned. As he loaded my bike on my car he said he would take me to the hospital. I assured him I could get there on my own. Once I got home, I sucked on ice cubes and went to a junior high football game instead.
I wrote about it in my column. The next board meeting, George shook his finger at me.
"I told you to go to the hospital!" he scolded me.
Another time George, Fred and I were part of a group who went cross-country skiing one beautiful Saturday. I remember George talking about the new fad of bamboo poles for cross-country skis. He was going to try snowshoeing next. And he said he still enjoyed going downhill skiing with his family.
When Fred died, I wrote in a column about some of my experiences with him. George emailed me, saying I captured Fred's personality perfectly. That was a high compliment that I will never forget.
George is a man who moved mountains in Somerset County, but I'll always remember him in his bucket hat or baseball cap. Quiet. Unassuming. No hoopla. No drum rolls. Just smiling at everybody, the picture of a happy man who was enjoying as much of life as he could fit into each day.
He will be missed.
(Madolin Edwards is the Community News editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)