George Woodbury Jr., 81, passed away Thursday, June 27, at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, after a brief illness.
Born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, the son of George Sr. and Kathryn Woodbury, he followed a path that would bring him and his family to Missoula, Montana, where he spent 32 years as a chemistry professor at the University of Montana, and later to Lopez Island where he and his wife lived from 1998 to 2018.
George earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Idaho in 1959 and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1964, before becoming a postdoctorate fellow at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. It was during a college summer break, while working as a boatman in Glacier National Park, that George met his bride to be, Carolyn Anderson, who was working as a cashier in the Many Glacier Hotel.
George distinguished himself at the University of Montana as a researcher, teacher, published author and leader, eventually rising to chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1995-1998. He served on and led many committees, and was selected as chair of the Faculty Senate. Though a physical chemist by trade, George became an expert on the biochemical process of fermentation as an enthusiastic brewer of beer and wine. His best batches were shared with his friends (as were the others).
George was an elite masters marathoner, skillful gardener, lethal recreational crab fisherman, accomplished home chef and avid sailor. He and Carolyn spent many days sailing on Puget Sound and beyond, venturing as far north as Glacier Bay, Alaska, aboard their 30-foot motorsailer Lionheart.
In addition to Carolyn, his wife of 59 years, George is survived by his sister Kat, his daughter Joan, his son David, his six beloved grandchildren and a horde of relieved crab on the floor of Fisherman Bay. A memorial service will be held later in the year at Center Church on Lopez Island.