In Memory

George Gabbard

George Gabbard



 
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07/22/10 01:20 PM #1    

Herb McLure

George and I stayed in touch over the years after 1961. He attended the U of A and graduated with an engineering degree and an MBA. He met his wife, Mary Ann, who grew up in Kingman, AZ, while he was at the university, and he took a job with Shell Oil (or maybe Shell Chemical) and worked in Ventura, CA, for a time before moving to Bakersfield, CA. All I know about his work is that he was involved in getting more oil out of old wells, and sometimes it involved pumping steam down the well. We visited them in Bakersfield when they had a giant German Shepherd dog named Sampson, and a tiny baby girl named Beth, who was fearless around the dog. Later they moved to Denver, where they stayed. I played tennis with George and spent the day on one of my business trips and he showed me his house and neighborhood, which they loved. Shell ordered him to move if he wanted to stay employed, and he told them he'd rather stay in his neighborhood, so he parted ways with big oil. Later he was involved in cleaning up the contaminated arsenal in the middle of what is now suburban Denver. What I never knew when we were kids is that his forebears had homesteaded south of Tempe on what in our lifetimes became extremely valuable land, and he didn't have long-term money concerns. He coached and refereed soccer and enjoyed his family to the hilt, Beth, another daughter whose name escapes me (I think it's Laura), and a son, Ray. When Beth finished college she stayed with us in the DC area while she worked for a law firm and tried to figure out what she wanted to do for a career. That was sometime in the mid-90's, and the last time we saw George and Mary Ann. I heard that George died suddenly of anaflactic shock as a result of lifelong asthma, but I don't know that for a fact. Mary Ann died a short time later. The last I heard, Beth was in San Fransisco. If anyone knows any more, I would welcome the information. George was a good friend, always cheerful and determined to do well. We took the same route home and I would stop off to play chess and later practice guitar with him. His mom was a hoot. She later drifted into dementia and George's dad took care of her at home until she died. I noticed a newspaper report of his death in a car accident in about 2005 when he pulled his 1964 Chevy (in perfect shape, I am sure) out in front of a cement truck, something George once did in the 1958 Chevy his parents got him. Forunately, George survived--his dad, surely approaching 90 by then, didn't. 


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