George Arthur Caldwell, a descendant of the well known Grays Harbor pioneer logging family, “The Big 6 Caldwell Brothers”, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 7, 2014, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital surrounded by his family. George was born on July 5, 1933, in Westport, where he lived his entire life.
George graduated from Ocosta High School in 1953, where he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in football, basketball, baseball, track and boxing and had earned the Jack Armstrong Award. George attended Grays Harbor College and again played football, baseball, and boxed in Smokers for four years.
George went to work for Bell Telephone Company, working first out of Raymond and then as a lineman out of Aberdeen. It was in November of 1958, while falling a tree, George was seriously injured, he was paralyzed from the waist down. George returned to work after 10 months in the hospital and rehab, although he remained in a wheelchair, he continued to work for the next 28 years as an engineer for the telephone company. George retired from Bell Telephone Company and soon after managed “The Harbor Health Club” for a few years.
George was asked to work at Grays Harbor Community College, as a disabled student coordinator, and he did that for several years and also a physical education instructor for students. He saw a great need to develope a physical education program for people with disabilities. George coached the girls baseball team for two years and then George retired from GHC in 2008.
George served on the board of directors and was a past president of Trout Unlimited; past president and board member of Friends Landing; board of directors for Harbor Alternative Living and president and board member of Ocosta Recreation Hall; member of G.H. Shrine Club; past member of Ocosta School Board and life time member of the P.T.A.
George was one of the founding directors of Aberdeen Slow Pitch, coaching and working with kids in many areas of sports, including 22 years as a little league coach and Babe Ruth. Baseball and football was a passion for him, he particularly loved hunting (even after wheel chair bound) one of his favorite places to be was in the Yaak Valley in Montana, where he and several others bought property and cabins so they could hunt, fish and relax. George and his wife, Rene’ loved to spend time there together. George had three of his most memorable accomplishments that being founding director of Ocosta Rec which houses a baseball field, playground and community center. George was also a founding director for Friends Landing in Montesano, a 150 acre all handicapped accessible outdoor RV and fishing park.
George was so honored in 1984, to carry the Olympic torch up Capital Way to the State Capital Building in Olympia, and then again in 1996, he had the rare opportunity to carry the torch in Longview, Wash.
Throughout his life he continued to be an inspiration to others with disabilities, challenging them to make the most out of their situation and pushing them to live a full and productive life. He never quit looking for ways to help others or make life better and easier for those who lived with challenges. George was and continues to be an inspiration to us all, think of George and smile.
In 1953, he married Betty Jean Christian, and they had two children. They later divorced and in 1998, he married the love of his life, Rene’ Major Aiken at their favorite spot in Yaak Valley Montana. She survives him at the family home in Westport. He is also survived by his son, Wally (Lorena) Caldwell; daughter, Connie (Harry) Blair of Ocosta; two step daughters, Kristin Wilson of Olympia and Andrea Aiken (Kevin House) of Montesano; grandsons, Cody (Chandra) Blair of Tokeland, and Able (Nicole) Caldwell of Ocosta; granddaughters, Amanda Blair of Ocosta and Ryan Keller of Olympia; and great grandson, Zach Caldwell; his brother, Charles (Linda) Caldwell of Montesano; two aunts, Irene Fisher and Dorothy Desimini of Westport; mother-in-law, Donna Major of Hoquiam; sister-in-law, Diane (Mike) Giron of Aberdeen; brother-in-laws, Brent and Brian (Kathy) Major; numerous nieces and nephews; and his “Grays Harbor Community Hospital Family”. George was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Loleta Caldwell; and grandparents; Byron and May Caldwell.
Memorial may be made to the Ocosta Rec Hall in C/O of Martin Schroder, 1682 State Route 105, Aberdeen, WA, 98520 or the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.
A celebration of his life will be held at 12 p.m., Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the Ocosta Rec Hall located at 45 Ocosta Sixth Street.
To share memories or to light a memorial candle please visit www.harrisonfamilymortuary.com
Arrangements are entrusted to Harrison Family Mortuary of Aberdeen.