George E. Passage, Jr.
Williston – George E. Passage, Jr., 75, passed away surrounded by his loving family at The Arbors in Shelburne on August 28, 2021, after a courageous battle with Lewy Body Dementia.
George was born on April 9, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont to his parents, George and Mary (Willis) Passage. He grew up on Charlotte Street with his two sisters. George had friendships from that neighborhood that lasted a lifetime. George attended Burlington High School and graduated in 1964. He played basketball, ran cross country and was a Boys State delegate.
George attended the University of Vermont and was an ROTC student. He graduated in1968 with a degree in Economics and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. This was the beginning of his military career. After graduation he became an advanced individual training instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The summer of 1969 George was deployed to Vietnam and served as an executive officer in the Artillery Unit. George served for one year in Vietnam and was awarded the bronze star for heroism in ground combat. After his service in Vietnam, he was transferred to the Alaskan Command Headquarters, where he served as a protocol officer and assigned to the Secretary to the Joint Staff. In November of 1971 he served as a plans officer at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, a position he held for two years. George continued in US Army Reserves for many years at the 1035th USAR school. He was an instructor, supply officer and plans officer.
George was employed by Ulbrich Stainless Steel, Vermont Structural Steel, the University of Vermont and General Electric. In August 1979, George was hired as a facility services buyer with IBM. He was employed by IBM for 26 years and held various buying positions within the purchasing department. George continued with his military career while at IBM. He served with the Vermont National Guard until 2006, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
George enjoyed biking, walking and golfing. He had a group of friends he golfed with for many years that included a trip to Myrtle Beach. He had a passion for history and enjoyed reading about US and World history. His home was filled with history books. George loved the coast of Maine and traveling when he could. He was a member of The Edge for many years and liked working out and swimming. He loved watching sporting events at the University of Vermont. He lived across from the athletic fields for 30 years and would enjoy walking across the street to watch a high school playoff game or UVM event.
George had a strong faith. He was a member of the First Congregational Church for 63 years. Singing in the choir during his youth, learning to shoot a 22 in the basement and traveling by ship to Europe with the Travel Institute were just a few of the many memories with the church. He attended Sunday services for many years with his sister Liz or special friend Libby, as well as holiday services. Christmas Eve service was always a favorite. Recently George asked to go to a church service. He had not been to a service in over a year due to COVID and his failing health. We were able to arrange for him to attend the August 15th service at the Church with the help of the Arbors staff.
George was a member of Washington Lodge, FAAM.
George was devoted to his family and friends. This was a theme throughout his life. George was a single parent that raised his son and daughter while working between IBM and the VT National Guard. He was always there for his children and did not miss a school or sporting event that involved them. For 10 years, George visited his mother weekly while she resided at Birchwood Nursing Home. He also made regular visits to a dear friend who was a resident at The Arbors for many years. When I spoke to the family of her passing, they stated George was one of the few who continued to visit over the years. He enjoyed visits with his former mother-in-law, Ellen Hayes, and would always bring her a strawberry cake. George’s pride and joy were his grandchildren. He helped care for his grandsons, Tyler and Austin, before they were old enough to attend kindergarten and would have his granddaughters, Mikayla and Anna during school vacations and summer breaks. He enjoyed going to the movies, the Echo Center and Colchester Point. He loved spending time with them. He rarely missed a soccer game, hockey game, ski race, softball game, baseball game, lacrosse game, concert, school function or birthday party. He traveled the state of Vermont and New Hampshire for games and school activities. He was the best grandpa. He was always patient and kind and he made the most of every minute with them. Grandpa George was such an important part of all their lives and will be missed dearly.
George is survived by his son; Chris Passage, his wife Ellen and granddaughters Mikayla and Anna; daughter Sarah Larocque, her husband Toby and grandsons Tyler and Austin; sisters Beverly Peronace and Liz Miles, her husband Jon; special friend, Libby Ivy; niece, Hannah Miles; nephews Richard Peronace and family; Stephen Peronace and family; Michael Peronace and family; and close friends Penny and Ron Wheatley.
George is predeceased by his parents, his brother-in-law Richard Peronace and dear friend Jen Morris.
A special thank you to all his caregivers - Flora Green, Synergy Homecare, Bayada and the staff at the Arbors; and to all his friends and family for their love and support.
A celebration of life will be held on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 11:00am at the First Congregational Church on South Winooski Avenue in Burlington. Those wishing to pay their respects are asked to wear a face covering. An outdoor gathering will take place immediately after the service with graveside burial at Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in his memory to the First Congregation Church, 38 South Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401 or to the North Country Honor Flight, PO Box 2644, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
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