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George M. Seal Jr., retired lumber purchasing agent and World War II veteran, dies

Jim Battles of Rockville, the elected governor of The Society of Mayflower Descendants, left, with George Murray Seal, Jr., a charter member of the group, after the "Compact Dinner" on Nov. 22, 2015, at the Inn at Brookville Farms in Brookville. The society gathers annually before Thanksgiving to celebrate the day in 1620 when the Mayflower survivors signed a compact that established the rules for their new society in America.
Jim Battles of Rockville, the elected governor of The Society of Mayflower Descendants, left, with George Murray Seal, Jr., a charter member of the group, after the "Compact Dinner" on Nov. 22, 2015, at the Inn at Brookville Farms in Brookville. The society gathers annually before Thanksgiving to celebrate the day in 1620 when the Mayflower survivors signed a compact that established the rules for their new society in America.(Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

George Murray Seal Jr., a retired lumber purchasing agent, World War II veteran and Baltimore sports fan, died of a cerebral hemorrhage April 6 at his Tuscany-Canterbury apartment. He was six weeks shy of 101.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Calvert Street and University Place, he was the son of G. Murray Seal Sr., a Maryland Casualty Co. auditor, and his wife, Edith Bidwell. He attended the Waverly School and was a 1936 McDonogh School graduate. He earned a business economics degree at the Johns Hopkins University.

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“Within months of his college graduation, my father faced the certain prospect of military service with the passage of the Selective Service Act in 1940,” said his son, Kenneth Read Seal of Baltimore. “He signed up for one year with the Army C Battery of the 110th Field Artillery, known as the McDonogh Battery, at the Pikesville Armory.”

After Pearl Harbor, he completed Officers Candidate School at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He joined a newly formed Medical Assistance Corps and later boarded the Queen Elizabeth, a converted troop carrier, and landed in Ireland.

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On July 1, 1944, D-Day +28, Mr. Seal and his unit landed at Omaha Beach. He served in France, Luxembourg and Germany until the German surrender in June 1945. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for logistical support for medical operations.

“He was often defensive in discussing the recognition, being quick to point out that there were no battlefield heroics,” his son said. “But he eventually became comfortable with accepting the honor for playing the logistical role.”

Mr. Seal was stationed at times in Wiltz, Luxembourg, and revisited the town three times after the war.

He left military service as a captain and sailed on the USS Admiral W.E. Eberle. He was on a troop train headed for assignment in Japan when the war ended.

He met his future wife, Nancy Read, at a friend’s party in Baltimore before he was assigned overseas. The two corresponded and married in 1947 at her home.

They moved to the Gaywood residential development on Bellona Avenue and took trips to Sherwood Forest and stayed at the Chalfont Hotel in Atlantic City.

Mr. Seal worked in lumber sales for the Stebbins Anderson Company in Towson and O’Connor Lumber in Essex until 1964.

“He also had an urge to build and sell houses, and did build a couple in Dundalk in the late 1950s,” said his son, Kenneth.

In 1965 he joined Triangle Pacific Forest Products and lived in Silver Spring for a time. He retired in 1981.

Mr. Seal was an early Baltimore Colts season-ticket holder.

“Every August he led the family in making a projection of that season’s roster,” his son said.

Mr. Seal, who grew up walking to the old International League Oriole Park on 29th Street, was also a baseball fan.

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He was a dedicated Johns Hopkins Blue Jays lacrosse fan, stopping to watch practices on his way home from work. He was a regular in the Homewood Field stands and in later years followed the team on television.

In 2012 he began living independently at the Ambassador apartments.

“He frequented a rotation of his favorite joints, Frazier’s, the Curb Shoppe, Hamilton Tavern, and Swallow at the Hollow and Cross Keys,” his son said. “My brother and I assisted him, as he used a walker, but he got to his places."

Mr. Seal was active in the Society of Mayflower Descendants. In 2015, The Baltimore Sun ran a Thanksgiving article about his 17th century New England ancestors. He enjoyed history and made a board game about the Civil War and unsuccessfully tied to interest Parker Brothers in his effort.

He read military history, high seas adventure and Tom Clancy novels.

“Up to his death he was placing regular book orders at the Enoch Pratt Roland Park branch,” said his son. “He loved British mysteries on television, including Inspector Morse."

He enjoyed a drink made with Cutty Sark scotch. He also enjoyed rum cake and creamed spinach, and spent years offering visitors blueberry pancakes., his son said.

He was a Lions Club volunteer and raised tomatoes and zucchinis.

“He could quote Tennyson and Kipling. Mostly, he liked to needle people with wordplay,” his son said.

A memorial service will be held at a future date. There will also be a service at Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to his son, survivors include another son, George M “Jeff” Seal of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. His first wife, of 34 years, Nancy Read, died in 1981. His second wife, Mildred Steere, died in 2012.

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