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George Edward Tolson III, age 81, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 18, 2013, at Cape Canaveral Hospital. Born in Washington D.C. on October 4, 1931, George received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1956.
As an engineer, George worked on the Navaho Missile System for North American Aviation, the Naval Weapon Service Office, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at both Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Forming the bulk of his 30 years of Federal Service, George's 23 year NASA, career spanned numerous Department of Defense missions and a variety of launch vehicle platforms including Delta, Titan, Centaur, and Ariane.
Additionally, in 1956, George was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Officer Corps and served 10 years in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserves.
A devoted father and lifelong Redskins fan, George volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Cocoa Beach Demolay, and several Cocoa Beach High School Student Activity support groups.
A Benefactor lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, George taught firearm safety and rifle marksmanship at Brevard Community College and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). George also coached the FIT Rifle Team for eight years and was an active member and leader of the Blackhawk Rifle Club, KSC Gun Club, and the Patrick Rod and Gun Club.
After retiring from NASA in 1986, George served twenty years as the NRA's Chief Referee for the National Smallbore Rifle Championship in Camp Perry, Ohio. Also in retirement, George performed participation and membership chairman duties in the Central Brevard Rock and Gem Club
George is survived by his loving wife, Lucy of 59 years; three children, George IV (Jeanne) Tolson, Pamela (Richard) Robbins, and William (Debra) Tolson; and seven grandchildren, Christopher (Trista), Jacqueline (Will), George V, Elizabeth, Katherine, Victoria, and Margaret.
The Tolson family would like to thank the staff of the Cape Canaveral Hospital and Dr. Mitchell McCullar as well as Health First Hospice and the Cocoa Beach Fire Department for their outstanding professionalism, compassion, and support during George's passing.
Visitation will be from 4 till 5 PM Saturday, with services following at Beckman-Williamson Funeral Home in Cocoa Beach.
Family requests that in lieu of flowers, please donate to Cocoa Beach Fire Department or the University of Virginia Engineering Foundation, Charlottesville VA. You may sign the guestbook at
Published in FLORIDA TODAY from Feb. 20 to Feb. 22, 2013