November 24, 1923 - November 24, 2017
November 24, 1923 - November 24, 2017
The Reverend George F. Bourn, a veteran of World War II and longtime resident of Florida passed away on November 24, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Rev. Bourn was a very unpretentious man. If you wanted to know his cause of death, he would have shrugged and said “Whatever.” If you asked Irene, his beloved wife, she would tell you that he had a bad heart, and a host of medical conditions in detail beyond what you would get from many doctors. Although his prognosis was dire, he battled on, lived his life and his only desire was to live to 94. He turned 94 at midnight and went home to be with his Lord just 6 hours later, having achieved his goal and having survived several years beyond the experts’ expectations.
He was born to Raymond and Nettie Bourn on November 24, 1923 in Uniontown, Ohio. He grew up in Uniontown, playing baseball, basketball and football in high school. He joined the Army Air Corps after graduating high school and married his 2nd grade girlfriend, Irene Northrop, at Ft. Dix, NJ on May 29, 1943 before being shipped overseas. While serving as a radio decoder in both Sicily and North Africa he attained a field promotion to Corporal which was never documented in the celebrations following the end of World War II and was honorably discharged as a private first class. Returning to Ohio after his military service, he attended Akron University on a basketball scholarship, later transferring to play for Kent State after being benched for missing a practice to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. He earned a degree in Industrial Engineering at Kent State.
Ever the athlete he moved to Chicago to try a career in baseball and ultimately settled in Freeport to work as an industrial engineer. By virtue of his education, training and temperament, his assignments tended to be manufacturing facilities experiencing operational deficiencies He liked the challenge.
In search of warmer climes, the family moved south settling in Greenville, SC where his life took a hard right turn – into the service of his Lord as a Methodist minister. So George, Irene and daughters Pamela and Linda moved further south – to Atlanta, Georgia where he enrolled at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Serving churches in Highlands, NC and Atlanta suburbs while in seminary, concentrating on building youth programs, he still found time to take his daughters to see the local Southern league baseball team whenever his schedule would permit Upon graduation he accepted a position with the Mission Board of the Southern California-Arizona-Hawaii Conference of the United Methodist Church and the family moved again – this time to Santa Barbara, California where his engineering experience aided him in establishing and building and entire church from an empty 3 acre lot, a small Spanish style bungalow and three members – his wife and two daughters.
Achieving his goal, he was reassigned to St. Johns UMC in Tucson, Arizona where he also served as Assistant Chaplain at the Veterans Hospital in Tucson. He served also as the Associate Pastor at 1st UMC in Mesa, Arizona where he and his wife continued their work with youth programs. In 1966 he grabbed the opportunity to return to the southeast and the family moved to Florida where he served churches from Fernandina Beach to Coconut Grove; Northport to Tampa. After retirement, they resided in Leesburg, Kissimmee and Jacksonville where they were surrounded by friends and family. He was married to his “Tootsie Belle” for 74 years and loved his wife, admired and respected his daughters and cherished his 5 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren who were his heart and joy and the people he loved the most. He often said it was being around them that kept him young.
He had a wonderful sense of humor and was the consummate prankster. He had a life-long love affair with steak and eggs in earlier years and maple flavored oatmeal, fig newtons, gingersnaps, chocolate Boost and of course chocolate. It wasn’t unusual to find a trail of candy wrappers following him throughout the house. Ever a sports fan, he loved playing golf into his 70’s and never tired of watching reruns of Ohio State football and basketball games.
He is survived by his wife, Irene Northrop Bourn of Jacksonville, FL; his children: Pamela Cartwright (Frank) of Celebration, FL and Linda Wright of Riverview, FL; and by his grandchildren: namesake Georgina Lewis (Chris) of Jacksonville, FL, Christina Fountain (Rodd) of Davenport, FL, Christopher Wright (Dawn) of Austin, Texas, Shannon Pike (Aldi) of Las Vegas, NV and Heather Knight of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Loved ones that will miss their Poppy include grandchildren Jonathan Whitaker (Carolyn) of Oviedo, Florida; Amelia Lewis of Jacksonville, Florida; Christopher Lewis II of Houston Texas; Autumn Fountain of Clearwater Beach, Florida; Dylan Fountain of Davenport, Florida; namesake George Lewis and Tiffany Lewis of Jacksonville, Florida; Matthew Wright, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Michaela Wright of Phoenix, Arizona; and Max Knight of Colorado Springs, Colorado and two nephews, Robert Bourn(Alice) of Michigan and Donald Bourn (Martha) of Ohio, numerous cousins and extended family members. Loved ones that cleared the path for George were his parents, his older brother Robert Bourn, his cousins Ralph Young (Evie) and his niece Judy Stertzbach.
He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21