George D. Armiger, who was a high school and college lacrosse star, Vietnam War veteran and an entrepreneur, died July 13 at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, Del., of a heart attack after being stricken while swimming at Bethany Beach, Del. He was 69.
"George was sort of a visionary and very innovative. He was ahead of his time and sometimes too far ahead," said Dr. Alex H. Levi, a former Green Spring Valley resident and high school friend, who is now a New York City clinical psychologist. "He honed his skills in the banking world and had solid analytical skills, which allowed him to do his own thing."
The son of Frank W. Armiger, president of the Barton, Duer & Koch Paper Co., and C. Adele Bauer Armiger, a homemaker, George Dobler Armiger was born in Baltimore and raised on Cedarcroft Road.
Mr. Armiger attended Polytechnic Institute, where he was an outstanding lacrosse and football player. He was a member of the nationally recognized Poly football team that traveled to Miami in 1962 to play in the Orange Bowl against Miami High School.
After graduating from Poly in 1963, Mr. Armiger turned down the Johns Hopkins University, even though he was offered sophomore status, to attend Brown University, where he was named captain of the lacrosse team in 1966.
The midfielder and attackman was a three-time All-Ivy League athlete as well as an All-American as a junior and senior. He also played in the annual North-South All-Star Game. He was inducted in 1972 into Brown's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mr. Armiger joined the Navy in 1967 after earning degrees in electrical engineering and economics from Brown.
"We competed on the lacrosse field; George played for Poly and I played for Friends. We really bonded in 1967 after the North-South Game," recalled Dr. Levi, who said they continued playing club lacrosse after Mr. Armiger left the Navy. "We later played squash at the Princeton Club in New York, where we were the laughingstock, I am sure, of the squash court."
Mr. Armiger served two tours of duty in Vietnam: as a gunnery officer on the destroyer USS John A. Bole, and as an aide and flag lieutenant to the Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group, U.S. 7th Fleet, aboard the battleship USS New Jersey.
Discharged in 1970, Mr. Armiger began his business career at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. in New York City, where he was chief of staff to the chairman of the bank's board.
In 1976, he was elected vice president of finance and a director of Talcott National Corp., a provider of financial services.
He later worked as vice president in acquisitions and corporate development for Wylain Inc., and as a corporate vice president for Paine Webber. In 1978, he embarked on a number of entrepreneurial ventures after establishing the George D. Armiger Co.
"Throughout his career, he demonstrated success in building and leading top-performing business enterprises as a senior executive, entrepreneur and venture investor," said his brother, Dr. William B. Armiger of Malvern, Pa.
"His extensive experience included financial, operating and CEO experience in a wide range of Fortune 500, middle-market and startup companies," his brother said.
Some of the companies that Mr. Armiger used his business acumen for included BioChem Technology, NeuroGenomeX, Deep Ocean Odyssey, Maine Rubber, Free State Industries, Yellow Cab Shoes and National Gourmet Institute.
"I was a silent investor in many of his business ventures. George was the eternal optimist, and I brought in a more worrisome view of people at times in my role as a clinical psychologist," said Dr. Levi with a laugh. "As an example of him being a visionary, and long before it happened, he envisioned reverse mortgages as baby boomers became older."
Dr. Levi described Mr. Armiger as one of the "warmest and most upbeat, gentle individuals" he had ever known. "He had a very unique set of traits. Everyone loved him and he always took an optimistic and fundamental view of humanity," he said.
"He was always thinking further ahead and was a master at it," his brother said.
He had not retired at his death.
In 2006, Mr. Armiger left New York and moved to White Hall. He was a member of the board of Total Home Health. He was active with Venture for America and the nonprofit Woodberry Crossing in Baltimore County, which provides nature experiences for children, urban youths and their families.
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Mr. Armiger was also alumni president of the Class of 1967 at Brown.
"He was a voracious reader, creative thinker, and an enthusiastic lacrosse fan who always made time for family and friends, who enjoyed his knowledge of ridiculous facts, obscure information and terrible puns," his brother said.
Mr. Armiger was also an inveterate reader of newspapers and could be observed reading The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times "at the filling station in Sparks," his brother said.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Govans Presbyterian Church, 5824 York Road.
In addition to his brother, Mr. Armiger is survived by his daughter, M. Danielle Armiger of White Hall; a sister, Beth Armiger Bryant of Parkton; a granddaughter; and several nieces and nephews. Two marriages ended in divorce.