- About Us
- Our Services
George J. Valentine, 84, of Ashland died Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2008, after a lifetime of contributions to the Ashland community. George is survived by his wife of 57 years, Margaret "Peggy" Valentine, his daughter Ellen (Brian) Donnelly of Towaco, NJ, his son Kevin J. (Suellen) Valentine of Ashland, his daughter Kit (Mark) Gallaway of Ashland, and his son Terry (Nancy) Valentine of Medina. George had ten grandchildren; (Caitlin Donnelly, Chandra (Adam) Clinger, Alex Valentine, Samuel J. Valentine, Hannah Valentine, Kelly (Steve) Durig, Megan Gallaway, Greg Gallaway, Oscar Valentine and Joe Valentine and two great-grandchildren; Caleb Clinger and Olivea Durig. He is survived by his brothers, William of Peachtree, GA, and Robert of Ashland.
George was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on July 8, 1923, and graduated from Pittsburgh's Westinghouse High School in 1941 where he earned two letters in basketball, three letters in track and one letter in soccer. During World War II, he was in the United States Army Air Force in the European Theater, piloting his Yellowtail P-51 in the Spittin' Kitten squadron. Following his distinguished military career, he enrolled in Muskingum College and lettered all four years in basketball and track. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and later earned a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
George was hired by Ashland High School in 1949 as a teacher and coach and worked in the Ashland City School System until 1967. He taught history, social studies and government and coached track and field, football, basketball, cross country and golf. He served as Athletic Director from 1954 to 1967. While he was the AHS head basketball coach (1954-1961), his 1960 team set the best offensive record in AHS history. As a golf coach his team won consecutive conference championships during all four years as well as nine district or regional championships. George helped found the Cardinal Conference Athletic League and was the first president of the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Association.
He left AHS to join the National Golf Foundation in Chicago as the Director of Marketing and Research, and later returned to Ashland as Associate Director of Admissions at Ashland (College) University, where he coached golf and cross-country for five years. His college golf teams included an individual national champion, two All-Americans, and four NCAA Division III championships. His 1972 team finished eighth in the nation. In 1978 George was hired as Head Golf Professional at Brookside Golf Course and was a popular group and individual golf instructor. He started Brookside's Junior Golf Program and developed many fine golfers, a number of whom played for him as he again coached the AHS golf team from 1977-1985. As an active member of the National Golf Foundation Education Division, he conducted golf clinics for the foundation for many years, and he taught at Duke University's summer golf program for twenty-six years. He has published numerous articles for the Coaches Clinic, the Ohio High School Athlete, and the National Golf Foundation's Coach's Guide.
In 1983, George qualified for membership in the PGA of America. He was inducted into the Ohio State High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame, the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of an Honorary Alumnus Award at Ashland University. George remained active in the sports community following his retirement at the age of 80 by writing a golf column for the Ashland Times-Gazette, teaching private golf lessons, conducting golf classes at the Ashland Y, and providing radio commentary for the AHS basketball games as recently as February 28. Last summer, he celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Courthouse Golf League at Brookside Golf Course.
George was an active member of St. Edward's Church and numerous community groups, including the steering committee for the fundraising drive for the Community Stadium. In the last several years, he demonstrated his continuing interest in history by speaking to schools and community groups about his experiences as a fighter pilot during World War II.
A funeral mass will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 7, 2008 at St. Edward's Catholic Church with the Reverend James Cassidy presiding. Burial will be at Ashland Cemetery.
Friends may visit with the family from 2 - 4 p.m. or 6 - 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, 2008 at the Heyl Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: The George J. Valentine Memorial Scholarship Fund established for graduating Ashland High School students. Donations should be sent to 2520 Foxwood Drive, Ashland, OH 44805