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George Edwin Histed

December 20, 1936 - April 17, 2018


Before the break of dawn on April 17, 2018, "King George" closed his eyes and peacefully slipped into Gods waiting arms.
 
George was born on December 20, 1936, to Emily Louise and George Albert Frances Histed in the Wimbledon section of London, England. He had not yet reached his third birthday when his father, along with thousands of other fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, was called away to fight against the German Nazi's in WWII. Suddenly, the young boy was thrust into the role of "man of the house". During the autumn of 1940, he and his mother sheltered in the London underground for fifty-seven consecutive nights as air raid sirens sounded warnings of incoming bombers. Rats, "so big even the cats ran away from them", scurried through the tunnels and left George with a permanent unease around rodents. He recalled his father coming home twice during the six long years of fighting with each visit resulting in the birth of a baby sister (Pamela in 1940 and Margaret in 1944).
 
Because of the war, George had never attended school and, at the age of nine, could not read or write. He used comic books as a learning tool and was fortunate to have a teacher who recognized his ability to quickly absorb his lessons. This same teacher assisted George in obtaining a scholarship to Rutlish Grammar School. (A few years later, Rutlish would welcome a student by the name of John Majors, future Prime Minister of England.) George left Rutlish in 1955, passing O level exams in seven subjects: French, general science, math, English language, English literature, geography, and history. These exam results were good enough to get him into London School of Economics where his business acumen was cemented.
 
He was conscripted into the Royal Air Force where he served a short tour of duty in Singapore before returning to England to work as an air traffic controller at Wyton Air Force base. His love of sports spurred him into trying his hand at rugby with an R.A.F. squad only to quickly discover the R.A.F. boys played "down and dirty" so he turned his interest to 'football' or what Americans call soccer. He played on various soccer teams from 1955-1966 and was paid a small amount to play for Batterson Football Club hence qualifying him as a professional.
 
George began his business career as a salesman for Remington Rand Corp. even though his mother was convinced salesmen were destined to failure and for several years she told friends and neighbors her son was a civil servant and his business trips were really secret government missions. In reality, he was a master salesman with a brilliant business mind who was to live or work in fifty-seven countries reaching from Australia to the African Continent, from Central and South America to Canada, from Scandinavia to Eastern and Western Europe, and from the Far East to the Middle East. After forty years in the workplace, George retired in 1994 and moved to Salem, Oregon, where he took out his American citizenship.
 
More important than all the business successes were the many times he reached out and touched the lives of people around him. Company CEO’s and warehouse workers were treated with the same wit and acts of kindness. Perhaps because he taught 'special' words from the Queen's English to many of his golfing buddies they elected him president of Illahe Country Club. He served Meals on Wheels to the needy and volunteered as treasurer of the Riverfront Carousel Board of Directors for the last three years.
 
He leaves behind a saddened family who will forever adore him. Sisters, Pamela Parker and Margaret (Ray) Ward, daughter, Sarah (Gurdip) Shergill, sons, Robin (Stephanie) and Derek, grandchildren, Audrey, Sebastian, McKenna, and Jacinda, former wife, Jackie Hartley Histed and his wife of thirty-eight years, Mira. His son, Mark, was waiting at the 'Gate' to welcome Dad.
 
A private graveside service will be held on Sunday, April 22. A memorial to honor a life well lived will be held at Illahe Hills Country Club on Tuesday, May 1 st, at 2:30 p.m. Come prepared to share your stories of this exceptional man.

 

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With all the places on earth George traveled, maybe his mother was right?  He was really on a secret mission---to make the world a better place.  I admire so many things about George but the first one coming to mind is the way he could explain the most complex issues so anyone could understand. The Carousel Board will miss not only George's wit and guidance but also the clear and concise financial reports he prepared with such care. If you are one who called George friend or family, you are fortunate indeed.