Reading Melanie Drake’s article brought back fond reminiscences of my friendship with George. I met George when he first assumed his Grinnell presidency. I became SGA president the same year, 1979–80. I had a weekly “chat” with him regarding students, the campus, and whatever was on our minds. As Melanie expressed, George was always interested and present.
Melanie also mentioned the great sense of humor George had. I can attest to that, too. When I first met George, I was a bit nervous and unsure how to address him. After I had referred to him at least a half a dozen times as “President Drake,” he looked at me with his friendly smile and said in his easygoing voice, “Well President Kramer, you can call me George. And if it’s okay with you, I’ll call you David.” The tension immediately disappeared, and we had plenty of laughs after that.
George was a great man who lived life to its fullest, while giving so much back. Most of us could never fill his shoes, but at least we had the opportunity to meet and attempt to emulate a man who shined as a humane, intelligent, hardworking, service-oriented human being affecting so many people in so many positive ways.
Thank you, Melanie, for reminding us of what a great man your father was. Thank you, George. May you rest in peace.