Life Story for Gary St. George
Gary St. George passed away on January 14, 2017 at his home in East Fork surrounded by his wife of 47 years, Nancy and his children.
He was born in Colfax, Washington and spent his childhood in Bellevue, Washington. He graduated from Sammamish High School and then attended Central Washington University where he obtained dual degrees in elementary and physical education. He began his teaching career in 1969 in the Bellevue School District. He later pursued his masters degree in education administration and became an elementary school principal in 1980. His professional interests led to the development of numerous programs and services in the Bellevue School District including special education, gifted programs and Spanish immersion.
In 2001, Gary and his wife Nancy relocated to the Wood River Valley where he became principal of Bellevue Elementary School. He was integral in helping start the regional dual immersion program in Spanish and English. He considered himself lucky to have the opportunity to help design and open Woodside Elementary in 2006. Gary was passionate about education and helping students, teachers, staff members and families. He had considerable pride in knowing all “his kids”. He continually wanted the best for everyone and had a special gift for helping students find their potential.
Gary retired from his beloved profession after he was diagnosed in 2009 with pancreatic cancer. Against the odds, he was an almost 8 year survivor due to his endless optimism, strength and hope. True to his helping nature, he was able to assist others fighting the same battle. He was blessed to have an exceptional oncologist, Dr. Vincent Picozzi and a team of amazing nurses at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA. They personify the hope needed in the face of this tough disease.
Gary and Nancy enjoyed many aspects of life, especially those here in the Wood River Valley. He loved flying down Baldy on his skis, attending summer symphonies, and walking their dog Mattie. In the summers, he cherished spending time with his children and grandchildren at Priest Lake, Idaho. He could often be found floating on an air mattress or driving the boat for countless tubing runs. Gary truly loved life and all it had to offer and simply wanted to be “awed” by the beauty of it each day. One of his favorite quotes by Mark Nepo especially embodied Gary’s outlook: “One key to knowing joy is being easily pleased.” Gary was an incredible husband, loving father, doting grandfather, inspirational educator and loyal friend. He positively influenced many lives and will be terribly missed.
Family was a priority for Gary. He is survived by his best friend in life, Nancy; his son Tony, daughter-in-law Tricia and grandchildren Charlie and Stella; and his daughter Tami, son-in-law Mike and grandchildren Miles and Cora. He is also survived by his sister Jan St. George and brother Jon St. George and Jon’s wife, Betty.
In lieu of flowers, Gary has asked that all donations be given to Hospice & Palliative Care of The Wood River Valley. These wonderful professionals were comforting, caring and invaluable in his final weeks of life.
A celebration of life to honor Gary will be held this spring. Condolences, memories and thoughts may be shared with the family on Gary’s memorial webpage at www.woodriverchapel.com