GEORGE ALBERT BEAN (1933 - 2016)

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  • "Dear Barbara, I am so sorry to hear about George's passing...."
    - Ben Lee
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  • "Want to express my condolences for such a passionate..."
    - T WALKER
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    - Jonathan Dinman
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BEAN GEORGE ALBERT BEAN George Albert Bean, 83, born April 3, 1933, died peacefully in Annapolis on August 25, 2016, after a long and successful battle with heart disease. Born in Hempstead, New York, George was the son of the late James Horace Bean and Hannah Elliott Bean. At 15, George discovered his lifelong love of plants while working at Hicks Nursery in Hempstead. The experience eventually inspired George to attend Cornell University as a botany major. George''s college career was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army in 1953 and 1954. After graduating from Cornell in 1958, George went on to receive his Masters and Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1963. After graduation, George settled in Adelphi, Maryland, where he had a brief stint with the federal government as the lawn doctor at the White House during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In 1968, George began his 47-year career as a professor of plant pathology and cell biology at the University of Maryland. In 1978, he moved from Adelphi to Annapolis, where he lived the rest of his life. George''s research focus at the university was the toxic fungi and molds that occur in foods and feeds. During his final years of teaching and research, George became an authority on medicinal plants. To the end of his career as a professor, George remained passionate and utterly unjaded about teaching undergraduate students. A great believer in young people, George was inspired every semester by the talent, curiosity, optimism, and essential goodness of his students. A man of great passion and many interests, George loved his Terps (especially hoops!), good food and wine, not-so-good beer, politics, sailing, and music-from Beethoven to Sinatra to U2. At age 78, he went to his second U2 concert with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law, and generally rocked out. Too old to love U2? Too old for a U2 concert? Not George. Probably his greatest passion of all, and the one he passed on to every one of his family members, was travel. In his work and personal life, George visited dozens of countries and loved them all. When traveling, George had an amazing knack for striking up conversations with locals, invariably engaging them with his easy, confident manner, good humor, and urbanity. In this way, over many years, George was a wonderful ambassador for our country. (In fact, on a recent trip to Peru, George charmed the actual U.S. Ambassador at a Christmas night gala.) It was while traveling on a six-month sabbatical at the University of Glasgow in Scotland that George met the great love of his life. On Guy Fawke''s Night on November 5th, 1975, George literally saw fireworks on his first date with Barbara Slack, a visiting English post-doc student. Two years later, Barbara immigrated to America to become George''s wife and the center of his orbit for the next 38 years. Though a slight man, George leaves a gaping, unfillable hole in the life of his family. We will forever miss his humor, intelligence, loyalty, his love of his dogs, his passion for life, and his incredible ability to always look forward to the next day, to the next destination. His love and support for his family were constant and unwavering, even at those moments when we weren''t sure we deserved it. He was our biggest fan, and had total belief in us. We are all determined to make good on that faith. George is survived by his wife Barbara Bean, Ph.D., M.D., daughter Kathryn Bean of Palm Beach County, Florida, son Casey Bean and his wife Min Zhu of Lima, Peru, son Adam Bean and his wife Diane Koch of Pittsburgh, PA, and stepson Shaun Slack and his wife Dionne Slack of London, England; grandchildren Lily, Lewis, Nina, Camden, Sophie, Madeleine, and Austin; sister-in-law Gail Bean of Centereach, New York, niece Andrea and nephews Elliott and Christopher of Long Island, New York. George is preceded in death by his brothers Elliott Bean and James Bean, his first wife Shirley Tuthill, son Timothy, and his all-time favorite four-legged companion Finnegan. A celebration of life for George will be held on October 16, 2016 at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD, 21413 time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship is being created in George Bean''s name at the University of Maryland. Scholarship donations will be gratefully accepted via the George Bean Scholarship Fund c/o Lasting Tributes Funeral Care, 814 Bestgate Road, Annapolis, MD, 21401.

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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 28, 2016
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