George Gerald (Jerry) Washington, a resident of Woodstock, NY, for over 60 years, died Tuesday, October 5th, in Kingston, NY, at a few weeks shy of his 91st birthday. Born on November 21, 1930, to George Francis Washington and Marie Murphy Washington, he graduated from Canisius High School in in Buffalo and attended St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.
He left college to join the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and served at the Sandia Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM, during the Korean Conflict. Soon thereafter he joined IBM, where he worked for 35 years. He was among the first employees at IBM in Kingston, beginning in 1956 as a Systems Field Engineer for the SAGE system (the most advanced computer system in the world, which powered the aerial defense of the United States) and retiring in 1990 as National Marketing Manager for Super Computers Applications for System 3090.
He served Woodstock in volunteer leadership roles for decades, from chairing the Building Committee for the Woodstock Youth Center in the 1970s to his most recent service as Chair of the Communication Infrastructure Committee. When the Town faced an issue, he educated himself on the topic, including its most technical aspects, and brought his expertise, analytical abilities, and objectivity to provide solutions to challenges ranging from traffic patterns, to cell phone towers, to the Town’s water supply. He identified that an important aquifer sat under the Comeau property and was instrumental in the decision in 2002 by Woodstock voters not to place a highway garage and salt shed at that bucolic site.
He played baseball, basketball and football in high school and college, minor league hockey in Albuquerque, and golf wherever he could. After retiring from IBM, he became active at the Woodstock Golf Club where he enjoyed winning competitions and maintained some of the most important friendships of his life. In addition to his pursuits on land, he took to the air when he earned his private and commercial pilot licenses, and to the water when he entirely rebuilt a boat from the shell of its hull.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ann Stockslager Washington; his four children, Christine, Paul, Kathleen, and Carol Washington; his grandson Zury Oates whom he and Ann raised as a son; his other grandchildren including Seamus and Ronan Barry, and Jacob George Sagner-Washington; his son-in-law Stan Sagner; and his brother, John Washington. He is predeceased by his first wife, Philomene (“Corky”) Skropka Washington, and by his sister Barbara Wolf Booker.
He will be remembered for his love for his family and friends, his dedication to his community, his positive approach to life, and his embodiment of honesty, loyalty, and integrity.
His Funeral Service will be held 2pm Sunday at the Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home Inc., corner of John and Lafayette Sts., Saugerties. Visitation will be held from 1-2pm Sunday, prior to service. Burial will be private in the Woodstock Cemetery. Further obituary information and expressions of condolence may be shared on his Tribute Wall at SeamonWilseyFuneralHome.com
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