Obituary: George R. Reese Jr. / Ellwood City district educator for 35 years
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George R. Reese was a longtime advocate of public education, first as a teacher and principal in the Ellwood City School District for 35 years and later as a school director for nine years.
"He just liked being out and doing things throughout his life and after retirement especially promoting education," said his son Mark of Pleasant Hills.
Mr. Reese, 84, of Ellwood City, died Sunday at St. Clair Hospital from complications that followed an aortic valve replacement in July.
He held a bachelor's degree from Grove City College, a master's in education from the University of Pittsburgh and principal's certificate from Westminster College.
Mr. Reese began his education career in 1954 as a civics and social studies teacher at Lincoln High School in Ellwood City, where he became assistant principal in 1971, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. He served on the Ellwood City school board from 1992 until 2001.
During his years as educator, Mr. Reese was known for being heavily involved in extracurricular activities with the students. He started a dance club that awarded scholarships to needy students and sponsored debate panels, Students for Young Adults Voting Rights and the Key Club. He also worked from 1954 to 1969 as a Red Cross swimming instructor at Ewing Park Pool, where he taught many of the area youths how to swim.
Related to his education work, Mr. Reese was a member of Common Cause PA, the state legislative chairman of the Pennsylvania State Education Association from 1959 to 1972 and political counsel of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. His interest was in getting more money for his school district.
"He was very active in bringing money in through the state for the district," his son said.
Mr. Reese was a World War II Army veteran serving with the 88th Division Special Police in Northern Italy. He was active in veterans affairs at the American Legion Post 157 and began a support group for returning Desert Storm veterans in 1991. He was a speaker at local parades and Memorial Day programs and started a Veterans Day program at Lincoln High School.
Mr. Reese also served as a deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher and choir member at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Ellwood City.
For fun, later in life, Mr. Reese started working as an extra for local movie crews that came to the area, including "Houseguest" and "Dogma."
In addition to his son Mark, Mr. Reese is survived by his wife of 61 years, Goldie Cochran Reese, and son Wade of Harrisburg. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Calvin Presbyterian Church. Burial will be in Butler County Memorial Park, Butler. Arrangements are being handled by Turner Funeral Home in Ellwood City. Donations can be made to the Calvin Presbyterian Church, 615 Crescent Ave., Ellwood City, PA 16117.
First Published February 12, 2013 12:00 am