George, age 97, left us after a long, happy and successful life on September 6, 2023. Born to Paula and Frank Watson in Manhattan, moved to The Bronx, Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and at the age of 10 to a house in Bellerose, Queens, NY. He enjoyed playing in the woods and on the nearby dirt piles. As a child growing up in the depression, he worked as a teenager to help out the family. One job was at the A&P which assured that the family had access to food. He also worked at American Airlines while in High School.
He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School with a focus on aviation. At the age of 17, he was drafted and served in the AMERICAL division of the US Army in World War II in the Philippines, as an infantryman and machine gunner. He earned many medals including the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star and two battle stars. After preparing for the invasion of Japan and then the occupation of Japan, he was with the 836th Aviation Engineers Company where he operated heavy machinery to build airstrips in Japan. His two years in the US Army had a big impact on the rest of his life.
He attended New York University on the G.I. bill and after graduating with a degree in accounting, he started his long career with Columbia Gas System. He and Pat lived with her Grandmother, Martha in her large apartment in Lynbrook, NY on Long Island so Pat would not be alone when he was travelling and to save money for a house. After six years, they bought a house in the Westwood section of Malverne, NY. The train station was just down the street, the beach was 20 minutes away, airports were close by in miles but sometimes hours away because of traffic, and the family was also within a quick drive – it was the perfect location! We have happy memories of our neighbors and the carefree childhood living in Malverne gave us. We remember learning to ride a bike, sleigh riding at the park down the street, a blizzard when he was out of town, weekends at Point Lookout beach, hosting family holiday dinners, our backyard pool and ice skating rink.
In 1967, George served as the Master of Valley Stream Lodge # 1145. It was a great year for the Lodge with lots of activities for all. He also spearheaded the purchase of the building the Lodge was renting.
Starting in 1968, the family spent the summers at Camp Lokanda where he was a weekend guest. There are many happy memories of time spent with Camp friends, especially Barbara and Dave S.
In 1970, Columbia moved the headquarters to Wilmington and so we arrived in Delaware to start a new chapter. He was involved in the 1970’s and 1980’s in finance, budgets and planning for such innovative projects as the TransAlaska pipeline, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import and processing terminal, coal gasification and co-generation.
Prior to the move, Bootsie, our Sheppard mix puppy, came into our lives. He said he would take her for the evening walk and that was it. She worked her way into his heart and into their bed, where she was a bed hog. According to George, moving was one of the best things to happen to the family. His commute was shortened from an hour on two trains to a beautiful 15 minute drive through the Brandywine Valley to the office. Many friends and relatives from New York were entertained with trips to the many nearby museums and attractions.
In retirement he was an avid tennis player, USTA league coordinator, and a volunteer for the Smash professional tennis team. He also taught accounting at DelTech and volunteered with the VITA tax corp. He enjoyed travelling the world with Pat and spending time with his family. He enjoyed going to the “Beach House” with all of us and visiting with the Campbell cousins at the beach.
He particularly enjoyed attending the AMERICAL reunions in various parts of the country, most recently in Reno, NV in June 2023. He met a few fellow WW II veterans at these reunions and loved talking to the Vietnam Veterans.
He was married to the love of his life, Pat for 64 years, and is survived by children Linda and George & Eileen, along with granddaughters Olivia and Hannah.