T. Dennis George
T. Dennis George, 78, died July 27, 2017 near Issaquah where he lived after retiring from many years of law practice in Seattle. Dennis was born to patient parents Ted and Leone George on August 3, 1938 in Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula iron mining town of Ironwood.
Following a highly social, but otherwise feckless performance in high school, Dennis was accepted as a "right to try student" by Northern Michigan University, Marquette, which had a policy of conditionally accepting Upper Peninsula youth who had yet to show promise. At Northern, Dennis experienced a dramatic awakening and, to use Upper Peninsula terminology, he buckled down.
Northern was a place of significant beginnings for Dennis. Primarily, it was at Northern that Dennis met good looking Carole Fossitt, who was to be his wife. At Northern, Dennis enjoyed being a solid student, serving in leadership roles in student government and establishing long term friendships. It was also there that Dennis developed the idea that two of the most difficult and satisfying things a young man could do were to be an Officer of Marines and a lawyer.
Carole and Dennis were married in an Upper Peninsula blizzard on February 18, 1961, and then made their way to Camp Pendleton where Dennis reported for his first assignment as an infantry officer with the Fleet Marine Force. Life in their Oceanside beach house was short-lived. Dennis shipped out to the Far East and Southeast Asia for a year and Carole went back to Northern to finish her degree. Upon return to civilian life, Dennis enrolled in the University of Wisconsin Law School, attending on a Carole scholarship, and finding that the study of law and serving as an editor of the Law Review were arduous pleasures.
Following graduation from law school, Dennis and Carole moved to Seattle where Dennis began practicing law with the Helsell Fetterman firm, a larger firm of the day, which was rich with talented and ethical lawyers who were good models for a developing lawyer. A decade later, Dennis and several adventurous colleagues decided to continue their practice of law with their own firm, George, Hull, Porter & Kohli. Dennis practiced in Seattle with these colleagues for another almost twenty-five years, representing clients mostly in business litigation and court room work, and engaging in federal bar association affairs, including a turn as bar association president.
This enjoyable work ended when Dennis accepted an invitation from a persuasive long time good friend and client to help him convert a small private biotechnology company to an ongoing public company in order to properly develop a worthwhile cancer therapy. This was an exciting four-year adventure that resulted in a hopeful promise for mankind, and great personal satisfaction for Dennis. During this period, Dennis conceived a collaboration for cancer research between his biotechnology company and his place of significant beginnings, Northern. This collaboration has a legacy at Northern that today includes an important brain cancer research project.
After biotechnology, Dennis turned to a combination of law practice and teaching, with Northern giving him his first opportunity as an Executive in Residence, teaching in Northern's School of Business. Other teaching assignments were at the UAE Academy in Abu Dhabi and in the University of Washington outreach program for international business professionals. After retiring from general law practice, Dennis turned to a modest schedule of consulting and arbitrating business-related cases.
As Dennis' professional work was developing, other, more important work was occurring. Sons Ted and Paul were born to Dennis and Carole who raised them following the "Three Bs" principle-keeping them "bushed, busy, and broke." This entailed years of hands-on involvement with the boys, including a heavy dose of competitive team sports, mostly soccer. As part of this activity, Dennis shared with Ted and Paul his own playing and socializing over many years with a fine group of men and role models, who were Dennis' teammates in the Madison Park Rainstorm Soccer Club. Dennis was very grateful for a good wife whom he could help to raise the boys to become men of good character and useful citizens.
Dennis and Carole last moved from their long-time home in Kirkland to the Timber Ridge at Talus retirement community in Issaquah where Dennis was active in community affairs, where he served a turn as president of the Resident Council, and where his life was enriched by many new and interesting friends.
Dennis' last thoughts included reflection on just how lucky he had been throughout his many years.
Dennis is survived by Carole, his wife of 56 years, son Ted (Kristi), son Paul (Carmen), grandson Caleb, sister Pat Neeley and special nephew Tom Taylor (Marilyn).
Please make remembrances to Northern Michigan University Foundation or a college scholarship fund.
A memorial celebration of Dennis's life will be held at 2:00pm, Sunday, August 6, 2017, at Timber Ridge at Talus, 100 Timber Ridge Way, Issaquah, WA 98027.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 2, 2017.