Amherst Magazine

James T. George '38

Deceased December 8, 2007
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James T. "Jim" George

A devoted songster, Jim looked happily forward to barbershop quartets when he retired from his high-level Pentagon life. That, and golf in Bradenton, FL, where wife Virginia (Ginger) eased back problems swimming in the warm Gulf waters.

His retirement was early indeed, 1971, when he was only fifty-six years old. He was offered a post of US Navy undersecretary, but “he’d had enough,” his daughter, Jacqueline (Jackie) Corde, remembers.

The more than thirty golden years wound down when Ginger drifted into Alzheimer’s, and Jim, disconsolate, developed multiple ailments, Jackie said in a phone interview. He died December 8, 2007, aged ninety-two.

Jim was born in Lynn, MA, and grew up in Vermont. He prepared for Amherst at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont and had a brilliant student career. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and the Christian Association Cabinet. He was connected with the Student Survey.

After Amherst, Jim graduated from the Harvard School of Government. He married Ginger (New Paltz ’39) in 1939, and in WWII, he served as a lieutenant in the US Navy.

He described his career in our 50th Reunion book as “Twenty-four years in the national security area of the Bureau of the Budget/Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.”

He continued, “After a few years as budget examiner for shipbuilding and aircraft procurement, I became assistant division chief in charge of the navy budget. Then, in 1961, I was promoted to deputy chief of the National Security Division, responsible for the budget of the entire Department of Defense, which at that time, amounted to about half of the President’s budget.”

He said the job over the years included “several fascinating inspection trips to Europe, the Orient, and US military commands and bases.” After he retired, he and Ginger continued traveling extensively to Europe, Canada, and the southern and western United States.

While he loved barbershop singing, his executive talents did not go unnoticed. He became president of the St. Petersburg Barbershop chapter and observed in his memoirs that “it is unbelievable how much bureaucratic administration is involved in a national singing society.”

Also, as president of the Bradenton Country Club, he had to deal with firing and replacing “an alcoholic, but still popular pro, and to squelch an unnecessary and overpriced clubhouse expansion.”  In his term as president of his condominium, he had to cope “with the endless gripes of association members.”

But he liked dealing with people, daughter Jackie said, and as a family man, “he was a good daddy.”

Besides Ginger and Jackie, he is survived by grandson Chris Corde and three great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held in the Kirkwood Presbyterian Church where he was a dedicated choir singer.

George Bria ’38

 

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