Arizona's Trinity Cathedral Dean Emeritus Richard George to be remembered at May 9 service

May 6, 2010

The life and varied ministries of the Very Rev. Canon Richard Maurice George Jr., dean emeritus of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix in the Diocese of Arizona, will be celebrated at a Sunday evening service.

George, 79, died May 5 after a brief illness. "Dean George's health deteriorated suddenly over the past week," according to a notice posted on the diocesan website. "The doctors were simply not able to get out ahead of the breathing problems that developed."

George, whose ordained ministry spanned at least 55 years, was designated dean emeritus upon his 1994 retirement as Trinity Cathedral Dean by then-Bishop Robert Shahan of Arizona.

He continued to serve as chaplain to retired clergy and their spouses, and in 2006 Bishop Kirk Smith asked him to serve as interim dean.

Known as a fly-fisherman and woodworker, George was born Dec. 20, 1930 in Belvedere, Illinois. He met Mary Turner at Grinnell College in Iowa where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1952. They married June 12, 1954.

He earned a master of divinity degree from Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, in 1955.

He was ordained to the diaconate on June 18, 1955 by Bishop Suffragan Charles L. Street of the Diocese of Chicago and to the priesthood Dec. 17, 1955 by Bishop William L. Essex of the Diocese of Quincy in Peoria, Illinois.

He served several congregations in Illinois: as a canon at St. John's Cathedral in Peoria in the Diocese of Quincy (1955-1957); rector of St. Richard's Church in Chicago (1957-1962) and as dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in Peoria from 1977-1984.

He spent 16 years in Wisconsin congregations, serving as rector of Church of the Holy Communion, Lake Geneva (1962-1967), and as associate rector (1967-1969) and rector (1970-1977) of Christ Church, Whitefish Bay.

In 1984 he moved west to Arizona to become senior associate for pastoral care at All Saints' Church in Phoenix. Bishop Joseph Heistand appointed him in 1994 as the 11th dean of Trinity Cathedral, where he served until his retirement, according to the cathedral website.

He was named an honorary canon of the Diocese of Arizona in 2006.

In addition to his wife, Mary, survivors include four children and six grandchildren.

The service is planned for 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 9 at Trinity Cathedral, per George's request. Bishop Kirk Smith will officiate.

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