George E. VanValenGeorge Earl VanValen, of 45 Cayuga St, Trumansburg, passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at the age of 82.

Born in Closter, New Jersey on May 25, 1929, George was the son of the late Ethel and George H. VanValen.  A lifelong resident of Trumansburg, George graduated from Trumansburg High School with the class of 1947.  Following graduation, George attended Ithaca College, obtaining a degree in Physical Education.  He was inducted into the United States Navy and served on the aircraft carrier USS Leyte from 1951 thru 1953. 

Upon his discharge from the Navy, George accepted a position teaching physical education at the Worcester Central School, where he also coached football, basketball and baseball.  In 1955, a career change brought him back to Trumansburg to work with his father at New York State Electric and Gas as a chemist for the newly built power plant, Milliken Station.  With teaching still on his mind, George continued pursuing his master’s degree part time at Cornell University, majoring in the sciences. In 1957 he left Milliken to return to teaching, his true calling in life.   George spent the next 30 years as an earth science teacher at his alma mater, Trumansburg Central School.

Following retirement, he stayed busy working as a bus driver for the school district, proctoring exams at the Cornell Law School, and working at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home.

While teaching in Worcester, George met his future wife, Chloe Parker.  They were married August 28, 1954, starting a 57 year marriage that would bring three children and their spouses, eleven grandchildren, and countless friends into their lives.  Throughout the years, George seldom went very far without being approached by someone saying “Mr. VanValen, you probably don’t remember me.”  This is truly what he was most proud of, his interactions with both young and old alike.

George is survived by his wife, Chloe VanValen of Trumansburg; three children, Deborah (Tim) Gatch, John (Gretchen) VanValen, George (Pam) VanValen; eleven grandchildren, Sarah and Nathan Gatch, Katie, Jonathan, Kara and Quinn VanValen, Ryan and Aidan DeBolt, and Taryn, Ally and George Ian VanValen; one sister, Dorothy (Bob) Scott; two nieces, Trudy Ives and Susan Vasaturo and a nephew, Tom Scott.

The family will be present to receive friends on Friday, February 24, 2012 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St, Trumansburg.

Funeral services will be celebrated at the Trumansburg United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Dr. Jeff Losey officiating, at 12:00 pm on Saturday, February 25, 2012.

Prayers of Committal with a Military Honors Tribute will follow at Grove Cemetery.  At the conclusion of the cemetery services, the family invites friends to gather for a reception at the Trumansburg American Post #770 on Seneca Road.

The family asks those who wish to make a contribution in George’s memory to kindly consider the American Legion Post #770, P.O. Box 456, Trumansburg, NY 14886, Hospicare of Tompkins County, 172 East King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 or The Trumansburg United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 628, Trumansburg, New York 14886.