George Moergeli Jr. passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 28, 2021. Born in Auburn, WA on March 13, 1925, George was the eldest child of George and Willie (Blessing) Moergeli Sr. Raised on a farm in Enumclaw, he graduated from Enumclaw High School in June 1943 and promptly entered the Navy. He served on the USS Neosho, a fleet tanker, and the USS Stokes, an attack transport, both of which served in the South Pacific during World War II.
Upon discharge from the Navy in 1946 and with the aid of the GI bill, George attended Central Washington College where he met Maxine Lower Weed of Snohomish, WA. They were married in March 1949. George graduated in August 1949 with a degree in education and started his first job teaching sixth grade in Auburn. He continued his education at the University of Washington, receiving a Master of Education degree in 1954.
George had a lengthy career in the Auburn School District: he was appointed principal of West Auburn Elementary in 1952, and principal of Auburn’s junior high in 1954 where he oversaw the design, construction and opening of the new Cascade Junior High in 1967. He became principal of Olympic Junior High in 1971, then principal of Gildo Rey Elementary in 1973. This latter assignment meant a great deal to George as the school was named after his first boss, mentor, and long-time fishing buddy.
George and Maxine started a family with the birth of their first child, Katherine, in December 1949, followed by son Keith in July 1952 and son Dean in October 1953. They raised their family on a small farm in Auburn where they grew vegetables, fruit trees, dahlias, and small farm animals. George raised more vegetables than the family could possibly eat and enjoyed giving his produce to family and friends.
Active in his community, George was a founding member of the Auburn Rotary Club. Both he and Maxine were frequent volunteers at Rotary fund-raising events. For his dedicated service to the community, George was recognized as “Auburn Man of the Year.” He also received the distinguished Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary International in appreciation of his significant assistance to better the understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world. Upon moving to the Gig Harbor area, George continued to participate in community events, including the Gig Harbor Midday Rotary Club.
George loved to teach, whether it be his grandchildren or a neighbor asking how to raise oysters. He enjoyed giving freely of his knowledge and wisdom to anyone who asked. He was an avid fisherman, farmer, and outdoorsman who was curious about the world and never stopped learning.
After 30 years George retired from teaching and school administration and started a painting company. He fully retired in 2002, then moved with Maxine to their beach property near Key Center, WA in 2004. He enjoyed raising oysters, gardening, smoking salmon, and watching sunsets from the deck.
George is survived by his wife of 72 years, Maxine; their children Katherine (Moergeli) and Randy Hanna of Puyallup, WA; Keith Moergeli of Gig Harbor; and Dean and Cookie (Roberts) Moergeli of Gig Harbor; four grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; sister Claire (Moergeli) Almquist of Bellevue; and brother Miles Moergeli of Enumclaw. He was preceded in death by his brother Eddie Moergeli of Enumclaw.
In lieu of flowers the family requests considering donations to the Rotary International Foundation or the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.
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