George WilliamsOur Stories - People
We have lost a special Friend with the passing of George Williams. George and his wife LaVerne joined Friends soon after we organized. He humbly was not sure they could be a members as they did not live in Forest Grove but on the family property in Williams Canyon, Yamhill County.
They soon joined and offered their immense love for Forest Grove history led to a new occupation during retirement. Both had deep roots in the Pacific Northwest and did extensive and ongoing research. That research documented not only his family, which was extensive. As a member of the Committee to Preserve the A. T. Smith Property, George wrote a detailed history of Smith’s life – all with detailed footnotes – for use by FHFG.
When George and LaVerne made the decision to move to Walla Walla several years ago, George asked me to take care of his research. I had seen much of it over the years as we worked on Forest Grove projects so I naively agreed. As the sorting for the move progressed the actual volume of material became apparent. So, I have in safe keeping a dedicated room in my home until such time as Friends has the resources to incorporate these materials into our research collection. Of added importance here is that following the move, George’s son Alan located a collection of thumb drives with electronic copies of much of the research. A local friend offered to index the thumb drives and they are in storage for use as the collection is evaluated and processed for future use.
George and LaVerne became Lifetime Members of FHFG a number of years ago and their interest did not lag when they moved. We heard recently from their daughter Marcia that they always perked up and enjoyed receiving mailings from FHFG. LaVerne remains in Memory Care unit an
d her feeling of loss and loneliness must be immense! They were a team! What a team!
Our sympathy goes out to all the family in their loss.
You can read his obituary here.
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About Mary Jo Morelli
History is one of Mary Jo's passions! Especially Oregon history and specifically Forest Grove history. Her personal roots go back to 1852, when ancestors on her mother's side settled in the Gresham, OR area. She was on the committee that drafted the letter for 'Charter' membership in Friends of Historic Forest Grove. She has been on the Board of Directors since that time and performed a variety of roles as needed by the organization over the years. Her interest with the Smith House started in 1991 when she was Chair of the Forest Grove Historic Landmarks Board. It was 10 years later that she took a phone call on the FHFG phone that led to the opportunity for FHFG to purchase the Smith House. It is the interrelationships that are found in doing historic research that really fulfill Mary Jo. Co-authoring the Images of America: Forest Grove book with Lisa Amato demonstrates the relationships that brought us to 2015! Mary Jo is now referred to as the Forest Grove Historian even though she did not grow up here!