George John Pinyuh|
George John Pinyuh, 81, passed away on February 20, 2013 after a brief illness. He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on January 26, 1932 to George and Mary Pinyuh, emigres from the former Yugoslavia.
George was known from his start with the Washington State University (WSU) Cooperative Extension Service in 1976 until well after his retirement in 1994 as "the Voice of WSU" by a vast audience in Western Washington. As WSU Cooperative Extension Agent in Urban Horticulture for King and Pierce Counties, he also headed up the Master Gardener Program in both counties. His work included teaching scientific gardening methods researched at Pullman and the Puyallup Research Station to enthusiastic Master Gardeners in classes all over the state. He was also instrumental in sparking the founding of the Bellevue Demonstration Garden and continued to give talks there well into his later life.
George's "Jersey style" combined with a unique sense of humor was perfectly suited to rapidly and accurately transmitting his encyclopedic knowledge of nature, plants, soils and gardening via weekly television and radio presentations and articles published in eight different newspapers. He routinely answered telephone calls from the public long after working hours.
George received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History from St. Peter's College (University) in 1953, a Master of Arts (MA) in Education from University of Michigan in 1961, and a BA in Horticulture from Oregon State University in 1976. He volunteered to serve and became Sergeant First Class in the US Army in Korea and Japan (Ordnance) from 1953 to 1956 and continued his military career in the US Army Air Force Reserve into the 1960s.
At the WSU commencement ceremonies in May,1993, George received the President's Faculty Excellence Award for public service. He was recognized for his enormous success at teaching through the various media and having created at least 250 garden information tapes accessible by telephone. He had also trained nearly 1000 of the state's master gardeners, helped develop a wheelchair accessible garden, and assisted in encouraging WSU and the University of Washington (UW) to cooperate in developing space for a laboratory for the public to bring horticulture samples to be examined and diagnosed by Master Gardeners within the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.
From his early youth on, George studied philately, specialized in postal history; he was a numismatist, interested in detailed history of coins; an expert in the history of military firearms; a devoted student of herpetology (he especially loved turtles); a skilled race car driver, and most especially, was a devoted grower and collector of broad-leafed evergreens. He always wanted trees and shrubs to be allowed to grow to their maximum. Several examples on his Kent acre were record-breakers. His Chilean Fire Tree bloomed bright red every May and was a four-story hummingbird heaven.
George is survived by his wife of 51 years, Susanna Finton Steiff Pinyuh, daughters Marianne Pinyuh and Laura Pinyuh, granddaughters Ruby Derovan and Adele Derovan, sister-in-law Claire Meisel, brother-in-law William Trainer, and cousins Dorothy Novak and Samuel Pinyuh. He was predeceased by his sister Marian Trainer in 2009.
A military ceremony will be held in April with inurnment at the Tahoma Military Cemetery in Covington, Washington, on Thursday April 18, at 2:00 PM (14:00 hours). A Memorial Celebration of George's Life will take place in June at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.
Instead of flowers, donations would be appreciated to The Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State (contact Christine Bailey, President at firstname.lastname@example.org); Washington State University CAHNRS; University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH); CUH Botanic Garden; The World Wildlife Fund; the Nature Conservancy; the Red Cross; the Salvation Army, or any
Published in The Seattle Times on Apr. 7, 2013