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George Victor Guittard Sr.


1923 - 2020
George Victor Guittard Sr.
December 24, 1923 – March 23, 2020
Resident of Cupertino, CA
A member of the Greatest Generation – George passed to Heaven on March 23rd at age 96. Born on December 24, 1923 in Cavite, Philippines/U.S. Naval Station Sangley Point. Son of Francis Victor Guittard and Madeline Decker, George and his 7 siblings lived the idealistic life of American civilian ex-pats in the Pacific. During the WWII Japanese invasion of the Philippines- George-age 18, his father and two of his brothers - were imprisoned by the Japanese for over three years in the Santo Tomas internment camp in Manila which held over 3,500 Allied civilians. A master storyteller until the end of his life – George would vividly recall and tell stories of life and survival as a prisoner of war. Liberated/rescued by General Douglas MacArthur and his forces in February 1945, George would often say his rescue day was the happiest day of his life and he forever treasured freedom and the joy of living after his wartime experience.
Upon repatriation to the U.S. he attended University of California Berkeley and was a member of the Cal baseball team and Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC.) During this time, he met the love of his life Ruth Kinney also a survivor of the Philippines WWII experience. George was a working student while at Cal and proposed to Ruth on his break at the Chevron gas station on Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. They were married on July 4, 1950 and made their home in Richmond, Ca. Still a student at Cal, he was commissioned to serve as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the Korean War. After his return from Korea, he continued in the Army Reserve and retired as a veteran and Colonel in 1985. In his early career, George held positions at Metals Disintegrating, and Shell Development in Emeryville, CA. For over 30 years he was employed by Alza Corporation and Johnson & Johnson as a Chemist Pharmaceutical Research Scientist. A specialist in drug delivery, he held over 34 U.S. patents with Alza for his research applied to drugs such as the motion sickness patch Transderm-Scop and Tagamet used by many today. George would "retire" and then get called back to work on new research projects. Retirement officially came at age 85.
George loved his family and is survived by his wife Ruth and children George Guittard Jr., Larry Guittard (Robin), and Nancy Guittard-Flores (Gary) and grandchildren Lauren Guittard and Claire Guittard. He was quiet and humble yet strong and unflappable. He loved travel: Yosemite camping, France and Germany were favorites. A resident of Cupertino for 48 years he was head usher at St. Joseph Catholic Church for many years and a long time donor at the Stanford Blood Center, a member of the Retired Officers Association and BACEPOW (Bay Area Civilian Ex-Prisoners of War org.) He was an alumni of both Cal and San Jose State University. George was also a Giants baseball fan, an unofficial car mechanic, and loved music and good food. He could be found cooking Spanish paella in the kitchen with Ruth, growing grapes, playing guitar or hosting big holiday events with Ruth for their children, friends and relatives.
His wife Ruth, Family, Faith, Honor, and Resilience were the beacons of his long life. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Bay Area Civilian Ex-Prisoners of War (BACEPOW) Organization Attn: Scot Doolan, 765 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708. note "in memory of George Guittard", American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) or the American Stroke Association (stroke.org).
Private service due to shelter in place at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Los Altos, Ca. A celebration of George's life will be announced to family and friends at a later time.View the online memorial for George Victor Guittard Sr.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Mar. 26, 2020
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