Wilkins engineer served community with compassion
By Brian C. Rittmeyer
Monday, September 24, 2007
The day after David George was told in 2002 that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, he retired from his engineering career and started traveling the country with his wife.
"The doctors told us initially we could travel or do whatever we wanted to do, but we needed to do it right away," his wife, Kay George, said. "That's what we did. He retired from his job and we spent the time together."
David B. George, of Wilkins, died Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. He was 69.
Mr. George went to see a doctor after noticing he was having trouble moving some fingers. The diagnosis came within two months of that visit.
"We were all in a state of shock. He really accepted it fully at the time and never looked back," said Kay George, who was married to Mr. George for 41 years after they met through a mutual friend.
"He was a very courageous individual. He battled with ALS for five years. He just never let it get to him. He never let it get him down, and he was quite an example for other people at how well he handled this disease," she said.
Kay George said her husband had three years before his illness put him in a wheelchair. Their travels took them to Florida, Virginia, California and Arizona.
"They were places we wanted to see in our retirement," she said. "We had to hurry up and do them quickly."
Mr. George was a professional engineer in the construction industry for more than 40 years. He was active in his church, Beulah Presbyterian, and in the Turtle Creek Rotary Club, of which he was a past president.
"He was dedicated to community service. That's what Rotary's all about," said Bob Rupp, 61, of Penn, who met Mr. George 27 years ago through the club. "He was one of the individuals who was the backbone of our organization.
"I think that certain people have that caring heart, and he's one of those individuals," Rupp said.
Mr. George's interests included model railroading and collecting Matchbox cars. Kay George said her husband had an addition built on their house so his train display could take over the basement.
Lisa George, 38, of Wilkins, said her father was disciplined and had an eye for detail.
"He was a very loving and compassionate man," she said.
Survivors include his wife, Kay George; two daughters, Lisa George, of Wilkins, and Lauren Gozur of Boardman, Ohio; and one grandchild.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Jobe Funeral Home, Shaw and Triboro avenues, Turtle Creek. Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Beulah Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Church Hill Cemetery.
The family asks that memorials be in the form of contributions to Beulah Presbyterian Church, 2500 McCrady Road, Pittsburgh, 15235; or MDA/ALS, 400 Penn Center Blvd., Suite 524, Pittsburgh, PA 15235.
Brian C. Rittmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org