George M. Humphrey II
George Magoffin Humphrey II died Monday, November 26 in Sarasota, Florida, where he had been wintering, from Cleveland. He was 70. He is survived by his wife Patience, daughters Mary Humphrey (David Humm) and Sandra Brinn (Matthew), brother Watts (Sally), grandchildren Hanna and George, stepchildren Ben Jerman and Rebecca Hardiman and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother, Louise Ireland Humphrey, by his father, Gilbert W. Humphrey and by his twin sister, Margo Bindhardt.
George was beloved by his family, his many friends and his devoted caregivers. He was a true gentleman - modest, thoughtful and kind with a wry sense of humor. His life was one of service to others. As one friend said upon the news of his death, "we shall never see his like again." Widely respected as a quiet leader and a moral force for the many Cleveland organizations which he served, he was generous to a fault and had a great many passions including music, history, the French language and a good party.
George was born in Cleveland. Following his years at Hawken School in Cleveland and The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, he attended Yale University, graduating in 1964. He was captain of the freshman and varsity football teams and was awarded the Mallory Prize, given "to that undergraduate who on the field of play and in his life at Yale, best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition."
He received a J.D. from University of Michigan Law School in 1967, then joined the Marines, and retired as Captain in 1970. His time there, in service to his country, was always a source of quiet pride.
In his business life, he served in many capacities at the Hanna Mining Company, with which his family had long been associated, including five years in London as Hanna's European representative. Leaving Hanna in 1984, he was for a time an executive recruiter for Russell Reynolds Associates in their Cleveland office. He then chaired Philips Container Company from 1987 to 1994 and was president of the plastic extrusion company Extrudex, from 1990 until 2006.
George's philanthropic involvement in the Cleveland community was extensive. Continuing a long family legacy at University Hospitals, he joined its Board in 1980 and the broader University Hospitals Health Systems Board in 1987. He was vice chairman of both institutions from 1988 to 2004 and served as chairman and co-chairman of its Board Development Committee. George's many contributions to UH included his leadership of a capital campaign begun in 1991, which raised $61 million. This extraordinary effort was, at the time, the most successful fundraising achievement in the hospital's history. In 1999, George was honored with the Samuel Mather Award, the hospital’s highest philanthropic recognition, the same award given to the entire Humphrey-Hanna-Ireland family in 1992. His nearly 27 years of service at UH were also acknowledged on his retirement in 2006 when he was created its first Lifetime Director, and a major challenge grant and chair were established and named in his honor.
George also served as a trustee of Case Western Reserve University and chaired the CWRU School of Medicine fundraising campaign in the l980s. He was a long-time member of the Board of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, University Circle, Inc. and served as chairman of Cleveland Scholarship Programs. George became a volunteer at United Way in 1978 and from 1993-2006 chaired the Ten Plus Executive Committee, the organization's flagship major gifts program. His connection to United Way dated to his childhood in the l950s when he accompanied his mother on horseback around the farms in Hunting Valley to collect donations for the then-named Community Chest.
For many years, George served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Pebble Hill Foundation, Thomasville. He was President of the foundation from 2004 to 2007.
An avid golfer, George was a member of both Pepper Pike and Kirtland Country clubs. Throughout his life, George was a keen quail and duck hunter and relished his time at the family hunting estate near Thomasville, Georgia. Always a country music fan, he taught himself to play harmonica in his late 40s. At his 60th birthday at the Union Club of Cleveland, George happily played "The Orange Blossom Special" with his idol, country music harmonica star, Charlie McCoy.
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Boulevard, Cleveland Heights on Thursday, December 20 at l:00 p.m. A reception will follow at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, 7620 Old Mill Road, Gates Mills.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in George's name to University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland Scholarships Programs, United Way of Cleveland or the Pebble Hill Foundation.