George Willet Tighe
April 30, 1965 – June 29, 2016
Born in 1965, George was the youngest of Laura and Ray Tighe’s eight children. When he was a little boy, George looked like Hollywood’s idea of the ‘All American Boy’ – He had curly golden hair, freckles, and the most winning smile. His eyes twinkled with mischief. Over time he lost the curls and the freckles and his hair turned white but he never lost his sense of mischief or his great smile.
Like our father, George loved the outdoors. He loved hunting, fishing and camping. Dad took George and his best friend, Kevin, hunting in southern Ohio where George bagged his first deer. He and Kevin went hunting and fishing many times over the years. They also ran trap lines and sold the pelts. George was entrepreneurial even as a boy.
George new a lot about fixing things. He loved to see how they worked – taking things apart and putting them back together. As a boy, he would sometimes proudly announce that he had “fixed” my bike – which had been working perfectly before he had disassembled it. Fortunately, he got much better at fixing things as he got a little older.
After High School, George worked for a company that renovated entire hotels. George worked his way up to supervisor and loved the work. Later he established his own business doing commercial painting. He was fearless of heights and often worked in high industrial spaces – climbing around on the scaffolding without a worry. One of the highest places I heard about was when he and his team painted the Goodyear Air Dock where the massive blimps are stored.
Later George expanded his business beyond painting and became GT Remodeling. He learned a lot about design and construction from dad, an aerospace engineer. When we wanted something made, dad often worked with us to design it – explaining the principles along the way. Then he and mom helped us build it. George also took training courses and he learned a lot on the hotel renovation job. He had a remarkably broad knowledge of tools and remodeling techniques for residential and commercial projects, including painting, carpentry, tiling, roofing and more.
George shared his father’s ability to visualize a project, design it on paper, and then bring it to life. His handiwork can be seen throughout the homes of his parents, siblings, many friends and customers. He also made furniture and decorative objects such as a small lighthouse for next to Mike and Billie’s pond. Some of George’s final projects included a new porch and ramp on our mother’s house and a lovely custom wall unit with drawers at the bottom, a built in desk, and display shelves which he made for one of his favorite doctors.
For many years George bowled in league play and his teams did very well. He really excelled at pool and won several trophies. George became one of the top ranked pool players in the State of Ohio.
Somewhere George learned to really cook – with spices and herbs that I’ve never heard of. He understood how to pick meat and loved to grill delicious ribs. If you told him what kind of meat you had, he could rattle off a detailed recipe of how to season, marinade and prepare it. He became known in the family for his baked beans. Everyone looked forward to George’s beans at family gatherings. He did cook in a restaurant for a while and perhaps he learned there. We’ll never know – we were just content to eat the food he prepared.
George was whip-smart and had a good sense of humor. He always had a funny joke or story. Many people don’t know that George also wrote imaginative, wickedly funny stories too.
All of his life, George made friends far and wide. He met many people through his activities and his work. He was the kind of guy that made an impression – either for good or bad – you remembered him. He generated loyalty from a wide circle of friends and George was fiercely loyal to his friends in return. He went above and beyond to help many people in many ways. He was often stubborn and sometimes maddening, but he was also thoughtful. He would surprise you with an unexpected gift or thoughtful gesture. Often he came up with a gift that showed how much he really understood what you liked or needed – even though he sometimes pretended he wasn’t paying attention.
One of George’s joys was playing Santa. He made a jolly Santa and kids loved it. After George’s hair and beard went white, he looked more like Santa than ever. He played Santa at the Eagles and for several friend’s children and for our family. His brother Pat’s children: Patrick and Sydney were very special to George. When they were very young, he dressed as Santa for them and they were thrilled – until one of them recognized George’s shoes and outed him. “You’re not Santa,” they shouted “You’re Uncle George!” and all laughed.
George had a great laugh and that is what many people mention when they remember him. We didn’t hear his laugh often enough these past few years as his health declined and he was in ever increasing pain. He was a tough cookie, surviving two near death experiences, but they took a toll. He suffered from COPD, and had hip and leg trouble which made it often too painful to stand or walk. They pain made him grouchy at times, but he would quickly apologize.
He moved back in with mom and dad when he came back to Ohio and provided a lot of help with dad as he became more and more frail. George continued to help mom after dad passed but George’s health limited what he could do. Despite this, he insisted on doing the grocery shopping for our mom. That was one thing he could do – using the grocery cart like a walker to steady himself.
George had a great heart, he loved his family, and cared deeply for his friends. He was smart, funny and talented. George was far from a saint – he was just human. He was our little brother and he was loved. George will be missed.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ray. George leaves his beloved
mother, Laura; seven siblings: Mike (Billie), Joe, Pat (Diane), Jim
(Nancy), Larry, Barb (Derek), and Cathy; numerous nieces and nephews;
and many good friends.
Calling hours will be held Thurs. July 7 from 5 – 8pm at
Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 Lyman, Wadsworth. A private service
will be held on Friday.