During World War II, Alvin George served on the 73rd Bomb Wing of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
He flew more than 30 missions over Japan as a CFC gunner on B-29s.
As a civilian, the Clarkston native nurtured his interest in the aircraft that helped the Allies defeat the Axis powers.
In fact, he collected a few.
At one time, Mr. George owned three World War II-era planes as well as a modern twin-engine plane. He belonged to the Commemorative Air Force, formerly known as the Confederate Air Force. It's a Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and display of historical aircraft.
Mr. George kept his planes stored at DeKalb Peachtree Airport. He, and other pilots, would fly the planes to events across the Southeast. As a child, Lisa George of Decatur attended air shows with her father.
"I spent my formative years at shows," she said. "Always looking up."
She also had a special responsibility.
"I was so little I could walk on the wings," she said, "so he'd let me polish the wings. He knew I couldn't do any damage."
His was a hobby that reflected the impact military service had on his life. The Clarkston High grad had to get permission from his parents, the late Leila and Eldora George, to enlist. Like most members of the oft-called "greatest generation," he had to be prodded to talk about his war service.
"This was a very young man from Clarkston," his daughter said, and all of a sudden he's in Saipan. He kept in close contact over the years with members of the bomb wing, attending reunions every year."
Around 2006, Mr. George began to show signs of Alzheimer's disease. One trait of his personality remained intact, even this past year.
"He would smile and say ‘thank you'," his daughter said. "We used to joke about how handsome he was, and he'd say ‘Yes, I am.' He didn't lose his graciousness even when he was sick."
On Monday, Alvin Theron George of Grayson died at home from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. The funeral will be 11 a.m. Thursday at the Snellville chapel of Tom M. Wages Funeral Services, which is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. George briefly attended Georgia Tech before he left school to join the military. He graduated from the Atlanta campus of the University of Georgia -- now Georgia State University -- with a business degree in 1956.
In his lifetime, he founded or co-owned several businesses in Alabama and Georgia. Most were tied to the construction of manufactured homes. At one time, he owned King George, a manufacturing plant in Leighton, Ala. He also was part-owner of a limousine service that was located in Atlanta on Spring Street.
Mr. George was a fan of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Atlanta Falcons. He attended most home games until he was physically unable.
Mr. George contributed money to the construction of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He often wondered if it would be completed before his departure. It was. And he was on hand for the May 29, 2004 dedication.
"Our family took him," his daughter said, "and we are so glad we did. It was hard on him, but he made it all the way through the dedication and a viewing of the memorial."
Additional survivors include his wife of 35 years, Jacquelin Clark George; another daughter, Amy Blankenship of Paulding County; and three grandchildren.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.