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Dr. George Evans "G.E." Light

1964 - 2019
Dr. George Evans "G.E." Light Obituary
Dr. George Evans "G.E." Light, age 55, died peacefully with his family, from complications of congestive heart and kidney failure on June 18, 2019 at North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo, MS. He was born April 26, 1964, the beloved only child of Dr. Robley J. Light and Jeanne K. Light in Tallahassee, Florida. A brilliant Light, who gave love thoughtful gifts, subtle humor and joy to many, has been extinguished. G.E. (so named by his first teacher, Dena West Oppenheim, Scotsdale, AZ, who continued to write him through 2019) graduated as Valedictorian and National Merit Scholar in 1981 from Maclay School, Tallahassee, FL, where he was president of both the National Honor Society and Key Service Club. As "lucky 13A", captain of Maclay's team in the first Tallahassee Democrat Regional Brain Bowl, he led his team to first place while being the landslide top individual scorer. The reward was a team trip to Mexico's historical sites. Dr. Light received the perfect Christmas gift on December 24, 1980 at age 16 when the postal service delivered his acceptance letter of Early Action Admission to Harvard University. Graduating in 1985 Magna Cum Laude with a degree in History and Literature, he was a John Harvard Scholar, varsity club swimmer and reporter for the Harvard Independent newspaper. Dr. Light later served as a Harvard admissions interviewer in Mississippi. An early and voracious reader, G.E. collected children's literature and was honored at Harvard to lunch with Maurice Sendak. The SOS to his Florida Mom had the author's "Where the Wild Things Are" fed-exed overnight to be autographed by Sendak for his collection. Music of all varieties from Beethoven and Bach to the Beatles gave him much joy from age 7 when he began piano study with Andre Nosco, competing at Florida State University in District Honors and Master classes. At age 11, he was selected to the Boys Chorus to perform The War Requiem by Benjamin Britten with the Atlanta and Tallahassee Symphony, conducted by Robert Shaw. At Maclay he was named twice to Florida All-State Chorus and Reading Chorus. His eclectic music interests led to volunteering as a DJ and musical shows at college campuses later: at University of York (England), while he was on a Rotary International Fellowship, at KZSU Stanford University, where he received his PhD in English as a Shakespeare scholar, and as a faculty member at Mississippi State University (WMSV) with a Sunday evening blues and jazz show. He was a regular volunteer at the MSU annual Ragtime Festival. "I cannot keep from singing, my life goes on in endless song." G.E. was known for his kind, thoughtful ways and service to his colleges and communities. In Starkville, MS, he chaired and coordinated "Casserole Kitchen" with several mainly downtown churches, serving meals to anyone in need as well as MSU international students. The Casserole Kitchen group received the Mississippi Governor's Award for Community Faith Based Service. Elected to the faculty senate early in his MSU career, he served as faculty chair of the library committee, was a faculty representative to give lectures at area high schools, and was named by an MSU president to be a faculty mentor to a presidential scholar. Dr. Light also taught in MSU's Summer Study Abroad at King's College (London) where he created a Shakespeare course entitled "From Page to Stage". Dr. Light's writing career began at the early age of 11 when he won National Public Radio's Nova Competition with his story. "The Sun Spot Mystery". He has been featured in the Stanford Magazine and has published in literary scholarly journals as well as writing a quarterly column, The Spotlight, for the duration of Catfish Alley, a regional Mississippi magazine focusing on theatre, music and illuminating places and persons of the Columbus/Starkville area. Dr. Light's formal schooling began in 1970 at the Anglo-American School in Stockholm Sweden where he wrote a daily journal and introduced his classmates, mainly embassy children and visiting research scholars' families, to the America tradition of Halloween trick or treating at the Wenner-Gren Center Residences for International Visiting Scientists. His father was doing biochemical research there. In 1976 G.E had another international experience in Freiburg Germany where his father was an Alexander Von Humboldt Senior Scientist Awardee. A competitive swimmer medalist from age 7, G.E. swam with the SSV Freiburg team and Coach Cimpirek (German Olympic diving coach) entered him to swim a frigid 1500 meter Lake Titisee race, winning 2nd place at age 13. G.E. loved the mountains at his family North Carolina home, "LightSide on the Lake", Lake Junaluska, where for 30 years he celebrated birthdays, holidays and special events with family and friends. This mountain love began when he attended Camp Rockmont (Black Mountain, NC) at 7 and later at music/handbell conferences at Montreat. A faithful Presbyterian from his baptism in 1964 at "Old" First Presbyterian (1832), Tallahassee, Florida, he was always participating in the music programs as he did at First Presbyterian (USA) in Starkville. Dr. Light's life is reflected in his travel memorabilia collection of books, bunnies, hats and tee shirts to his hot tea mugs. A memorial service for Dr. Light will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2019, 11 AM at Trinity Presbyterian Church (USA), 607 Hospital Road, Starkville, MS 39759, officiated by the Reverend Ron McDougald, interim minister First Presbyterian (PCUSA). In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Dr. Light's memory to the MSU Libraries, 395 Hardy Rd, P.O. Box 5408, Mississippi State University, MS 39762-5408, or to Casserole Kitchen, First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), c/o Vicki Schramm, 110 Kingston Court, Starkville, MS 39759. A celebration of life will be held later at an undetermined date in Tallahassee, Florida. "The awesomeness of life, of being, is inexhaustible. It can be realized in an instant or a lifetime." -Dr. Kirk Schneider
Published in Starkville Daily News on June 25, 2019
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