George Harry Huntingford(1917 - 2018)

George Harry Huntingford died at Port Townsend on August 18, 2018 at age 101 years-and-one-day. George was born August 17, 1917 in Center at the family homestead. His grandfather John Huntingford left the British Navy and in 1871 established the Huntingford homestead, as the earliest families began to settle in Chimacum Valley.

George was third generation to live in Chimacum Valley with his off-spring, his great-grandchildren within Jefferson County as sixth generation.

George was the fourth of six children born to John William and Caroline Frejd Huntingford. At eight years George lived and worked several years for his aunt, Annie Huntingford McGuire. He attended school by day, helped milk 28-30 cows morning and night, and was paid a dollar a week. Some nights the millworkers from Port Ludlow would come by for some of Annie's home brew, and the phonograph wound up for a jig. When tipped to wash the dishes, he'd make more money off the mill workers than milking the cows.

George graduated from Chimacum High School in 1937, where he played sports and served as senior class president. His family had begun construction of a home to replace the original homestead house, when his father in 1938 lost his life. George then began work of several years to help repay the loan for the new house. One job was in Redmond where he milked 75 cows for a beginning salary of $50 a month, with $45 sent home to help his mother to lower the debt.

During this period, he worked at Crown Zellerbach in Port Townsend and saved enough money to apply to an auctioneering school in Decatur, Indiana. He sent the $56 fee to enroll. He had second thoughts, got a full refund, and became a self-taught auctioneer. He auctioned for countless estate sales and benefits for groups such as the Rotary and Kiwanis.

As a young graduate while attending a Chimacum High School basketball game, he had occasion to meet a new first-year teacher, Sara Doub, a graduate of College of Puget Sound (U P S). George offered Miss Doub a ride home, as well as a couple of his friends. He drove all the way to Dabob to take the friends home, then circled back with Miss Doub to take her home the long way to Chimacum. They were married months later in August, 1941 at the Doub family home in Tacoma.

George and Sally raised six children, whose birth years were 1942-1955. They bought in 1946 their own dairy farm, across from the Huntingford homestead. George established a fine herd of registered Guernsey cows, later Holstein cows.

In 1946 he ran for Jefferson County Commissioner. When elected at age 28, he was the youngest commissioner throughout the state. He believed in door-to-door campaigning. While campaigning and after being elected, he made visits to meet with the people of the west end of the county- the Hoh, Clearwater and Bogachiel area. He claimed that he never mentioned his opponent or said anything against an opponent. He made a policy of going home from campaigning only after talking with a pleasant person, someone who he figured would vote for him. He served as county commissioner for 22 years.

As his oldest son, George W with his wife Sharon in 1961, began farming alongside George, changes came to the farm. In 1969 they added a new four-stanchion milking parlor. With confidence in George W on the farm, George was able to fully pursue leadership among the Washington State Association of County Commissioners and in 1964 was elected to serve as president of the state association.

George's ability to tell a good historical tale was strengthened by his habit as a journal-writer. He kept a daily journal from 1947 when he took office as commissioner until 2016. He continued with pleasure in rereading various years and always remarked at how busy he and the family had been. He wrote of Grange meetings; he and Sally were members of the Washington State Grange. He was a member of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and served as president. He served on the Soil Conservation Board when it was first organized. He wrote of entertainment- square dancing with Sally, the Elks Labor Day picnic, the annual Rhody parade. He wrote of treating family at the Chimacum Café, and of giving his garden rhubarb for pie to the airport Spruce Goose Café.

With pride in his Chimacum roots, George served in 1954 as the first president of the newly formed Chimacum High School Alumni Association and held perfect attendance for the annual CHS Alumni reunions. In 2017 he was honored as an 80-year graduate. He also took pleasure in being acquainted with his neighbors; as the old left, the new were welcomed. He and the family have been grateful for the many recent kindnesses extended by neighbors in his care. George resided at the family home until the end of July, 2018. The family would like to express its thanks to Kathy Juarez for at home care, Jefferson Healthcare through its hospital and hospice, and Life Care Center of Port Townsend.

George was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Sally, by four of his five siblings, Irene (Morris) Hodgdon, Dave (Ruth) Huntingford, Grace (Leonard) Bartlett, Bob (Phyllis) Huntingford, his brother-in-law Herman Schweizer, and his grandson, Jonathan L. Huntingford.

George is survived by his sister, Frances Schweizer, Sally's remaining sister, Elinor Doub Busby, his six children, George W. (Sharon) Huntingford, Fran Gunn, Judy (Ron) Baum, Harriet (Mike) Lynch, Dan (Louise) Huntingford, Howard Huntingford.

He is survived by grandchildren: Wally (Crystin), Chris (Alisa), Chimacum; Sarah (Micah) Port Townsend; Forrest (Aimee), Danielle (Rufino), Emily, Seattle; Frank (Holly) Cheney; Laurel, Woodinville; Jon, Bellingham; Matthew (Courtney) San Antonio, TX; Caroline (Maurice) Calabasas, CA; Margaret (Gustavo) Brasilia, Brazil; Marybeth (Dave) Poznan, Poland, 19 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held September 15, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge #317, 555 Otto Street, Port Townsend with a potluck reception following. All are welcome to attend and celebrate George's life. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a memorial gift be considered to either the Chimacum Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 554, Chimacum, WA 98325; or to the Jefferson County Fire District #1, Firefighters Association, c/o EJFR, 24 Seton Road, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Sept. 9, 2018