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Cumby Family Funeral Service
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GEORGE H. URBAN


1922 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
GEORGE H. URBAN Obituary
URBAN
GEORGE H.
Was born September 29, 1922, in Pittsburgh, PA, to John and Mary Urban. He grew up as a child of the Great Depression on the South Side of Pittsburgh, near the steel mills, where he worked in the chemistry labs during college. After graduating from South High School, he started at the University of Pittsburgh, meeting his future wife and life-long love, Nellie Urban. During his freshman year, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force, becoming a Second Lieutenant, because, he said, he was the only guy in the squad with ROTC training- two weeks. Mr. Urban served in the 367th Bombardment Squadron of the 8th Air Force, as a navigator, flying missions based in North Africa, Sicily, and England. Photos from those years show a dashing young man in tailored uniforms, cultivating a Clark Gable-style mustache that he kept throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Pitt, and married Nellie on February 2, 1947. In addition to his B.A., he received an M.B.A. from Pitt while pursuing a career at Westinghouse in Beaver and Pittsburgh, PA. In 1970 he accepted a position with the Panama Canal Company as Chief Industrial Engineer, rising to Director of Canal Operations, the position from which he retired in 1986. For 16 years Mr. Urban was responsible for modernizing and restructuring how the canal was run, in the process training a generation of Panamanian engineers to handle the myriad details of the locks and waterways. He was also instrumental in negotiations to transfer the canal to the government of Panama, receiving several commendations for his efforts. After retirement, he and Nellie lived in Abingdon, VA, Mt. Vernon, OH, and River Landing at Sandy Ridge, where he pursued his hobbies of stamp and coin collecting, and was active in the Rotary Club and other civic organizations. Mr. Urban is survived by his son, Michael (Liz Urban); and daughter, Patricia (Edward Schortman); and his three beloved grandchildren, Jane Urban, and Aeleka and Hayden Schortman. His service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, January 31, 2014, in the chapel of CUMBY FAMILY FUNERAL SERVICE, in High Point, NC, with Reverend Thomas P. Norris, O.S.F.S. officiating. In lieu of flowers, please remember George by contributing to Alzheimer's and dementia associations for research. Online condolences may be made through www.cumbyfuneral.com. Goodbye, Dad and Granddad- we will miss you.
Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Jan. 29, 2014
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