Celebrating the life of George Steele McGarry
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November 15, 1937 – November 26, 2019
George passed away at Deaconess Hospital from complications of aplastic anemia. He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick McGarry; and his mother, Katherine McGarry. George is survived by brother Fred McGarry of Omaha, NE; sister Mary Skovajsa of Spokane, WA; sister Ginny Willyard of Chattaroy, WA; long time friend Wayne Everett of Spokane Valley, WA; and his two beloved dachshunds, Demi and Jade.
George attended University of Idaho where he got his BA in history. He later attended Gonzaga University and Whitworth University where he got his master’s degree in history. He started his teaching career in Lewiston, ID, where he taught language arts for two years. He later moved to Brookings, OR, teaching for one year. George returned to Spokane and taught at Argonne Junior High in the West Valley District, teaching history, civics, criminology, English, as well as coaching tennis. George then went to School District 81 where he was a long-term substitute. He was later hired full-time at Ferris High School where he taught English and history, becoming the history chairperson until his retirement in 2002. During the summers while teaching junior high George worked for the Forest Service as an aerial observer and a lookout spotting forest fires in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.
George was very loved by his friends, colleagues, and students. He was one-of-a-kind and will be remembered as a loving and generous man. The students had so much fun learning in his classroom. He was very funny, humorous, caring, and smart. George was a favorite with many of his students and colleagues. He was born to be a teacher. One student said to George, “I realized that only teaching students is not the way to educate them. Believing them, having faith in them, loving them, and understanding them are the real ways to educate people.”
George loved to travel and see as much of the world as he could. He was able to do so, seeing most of the world except for Iceland, Russia, and Antarctica. They were on his bucket list but did not make it.
George was an avid photographer. While traveling he would always have at least four cameras, stopping to snap photos and document the history of his travels. He was very meticulous and very artistic. The shot had to be just right. His photos always turned out better than the professional’s. George also loved theater. He acted in several plays at Spokane Civic Theater. If the late Dorothy Darby Smith needed help producing or needed an actor George would step up and do his part and do it very professionally. George was a very talented person. He had so many great talents it is hard to mention them all.
A celebration of George’s life with family and friends will be scheduled for next Spring. Memorial contributions can be directed to Hospice of Spokane, Spokane Shriner’s Hospital, or any college or university of your choice.
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