Soon after word of George McClure’s death spread through IEEE-USA offices in Washington, I sent an email to Greg Hill, managing editor of IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer, asking him how was going to replace all the stories George wrote for us on behalf of his fellow IEEE members. His one word response says it all:
George Franklin McClure, 79 on his last birthday, comes about as close to irreplaceable as any IEEE volunteer can be. His dedication to working on IEEE-USA’s behalf was unparalleled. When he accepted a task, he did it to the utmost of his ability.
“George would not do a job if he didn’t think he could do it well,” 2007 IEEE-USA President John Meredith said on the first of May from his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. “That was one thing that set him apart from other volunteers. I’m really going to miss George.
“He’s one of the top 1 percent of volunteers I’ve worked with in IEEE.”
I worked the closest with George on the IEEE-USA Communications Committee and the IEEE-USA Career & Workforce Policy Committee. Whenever he would make a point or a presentation at one of these meetings, you knew that the information he was sharing was thoroughly researched and culled so that everyone would be in a better position to make sound decisions.
And I never saw him get upset at someone who presented opposing information. Instead, you’d see a smiling face and hear a kind word. I can still picture him kind of tilting his head when he agreed with you, saying “well that’s right.”
“He never tried to embarrass anyone or dominate a conversation during meetings,” Meredith said. “When he had issues that were a little more subtle and potentially embarrass someone, he would just go over and privately [talk to that person]. He wasn’t trying to push his agenda, mind you, just trying to point out there was some additional information that you might not be aware of.
“George did it in such a nice way. He truly was a gentleman.”
A Master Communicator and Leader
Abby Robinson, speaking from her home in Atlanta, remembers George chairing the Communications Committee when she attended her first meeting in Oct. 2005.
“His leadership is probably the No. 1 thing I think of when I think of George, that and his institutional memory,” said Robinson, who chaired the committee in 2009-11. “He was around for a long time and had many years to contribute. He knew a lot of technical things and a lot about how the organization worked.”
George served as technology policy editor for Today’s Engineer and government relations editor for the publication you are reading. He has the most extensive archives of Today’s Engineer articles of anyone. His 89 stories from Feb. 2001 to March 2012 helped keep readers up to date on a wide spectrum of technologies, policies and career-oriented subjects. http://www.todaysengineer.org/archive/search-results.asp?author=McClure
“Anything tech policy-related or technology or trends in technology, all that stuff, there’s a gaping hole now; there really is,” said Robinson, who serves as IEEE-USA in Action member services editor. “I don’t know how we’re going to fill in for the kind of content he provided on a regular basis.”
Georgia Stelluto, editor-in-chief for IEEE-USA in Action, knew George’s abilities well. She worked with him on the Communications Committee and various editorial boards since 1989. His death touched her deeply.
“Knowing and working closely with George was always such a true pleasure,” Stelluto said in an email. “He was a gentleman and a scholar. His dedication to IEEE-USA and IEEE, and his preparation, research and writing for all of our various publications went far above and beyond the call of a volunteer’s duty. He was a person and volunteer of the highest caliber.
“I will always remember George ” and miss him.”
A native Floridian and resident of Winter Park, George earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Florida in electrical engineering. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, taught at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and spent 30 years working in Orlando for the Glenn L. Martin Co., (later Martin Marietta and now Lockheed Martin). He was so humble about his technical accomplishments that it wasn’t until after his death that I found out he was an IEEE Fellow.
Meredith, also a former Navy officer, found a compatriot in George, whom he thinks he first met in the late 1980s.
“We had IEEE interests in common, and we liked to swap Navy stories,” Meredith recalled. “And he always had some really neat perspectives on investing. I found him easy to approach, and I came to respect him immediately.”
An Extraordinary Volunteer
George’s IEEE volunteer activities spanned more than 50 years. Locally, he chaired the IEEE Orlando Section and Florida Council, and organized PACE leadership training for Region 3. Beside the aforementioned committees, George served on or chaired, among others, the IEEE Life Members Committee, the IEEE Foundation, the IEEE Individual Benefits and Services