George Elliot Lough

August 3, 1919 ~ November 19, 2017

George Lough, the only child of Jacob and Onda Lough, was born at home in the Wallingford district of Seattle on August 3, 1919 and passed away, from natural causes, at his home in Vancouver, on November 19, 2017.

He met his future wife, Jean Tharp, while soda-jerking at his father's drug store, the Fremont Drug Company, in 1939. Having excelled in ROTC at the University of Washington, George discovered his passion for military life and joined the Washington National Guard at the age of twenty. Shortly after Pearl Harbor day, his coast-artillery unit was activated, and, before long, George completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the army. Thus began his 20-year adventure in active military duty, the latter part of which was spent in commanding ground-to-air missile defenses. Throughout his 56 years of retirement from the army, George delighted in telling the story of his promotion, in 1961, from major to lieutenant colonel, just two months prior to his last day of service. Having found leadership and management to be his long suit, George undertook a second career, in the federal civil service, starting out as purchasing agent for the Mt. Hood National Forest and retiring from the Bonneville Power Administration as head of its procurement section, in 1981.

When off duty, George often turned to the solitude of Olympic National Park, where he and members of his family spent time in the backcountry on an annual basis. He was particularly proud of the fact that he and his son, Jim, spent a week backpacking deep into the mountains or along the wilderness coast every year, for 30 years.

George contributed to the Clark County community through his support of Jean's groundbreaking advocacy for the mentally ill until her passing, after more than a decade of mental-health work and 54 years of marriage. After Jean's passing, it was obvious that George was not destined to remain alone, and in 1996, he tied the knot for a second time, with Paulie Hibbs, also of Vancouver. During their twenty years together, ending with Paulie's passing in 2015, George and Paulie traveled to many remarkable destinations in the United States, Europe, and North Africa and even undertook a 30-day circumnavigation of South America, exploring many exotic ports of call.

During the last couple of years of George's life, he became increasingly dependent on the wise counsel and devoted service of his daughter, Vicki, her husband, Neil, and the extraordinarily attentive and compassionate staff at the Van Mall Retirement Community.

George Lough is survived by his daughters, Norma Lough and Victoria Chambers, his son, James Lough, granddaughter, April Chambers, son-in-law, Neil Chambers, who was by his side at the last moment of his life, many loving nieces and nephews from Jean's side, and two exceptionally devoted friends, Reg Kaiser and Jim Lipscomb. His ashes will be interred next to Jean's at Willamette National Cemetery, and a private celebration of George's life will be arranged with Jean's nieces and nephews, in the Puget Sound area, sometime in the coming weeks.

George was especially supportive of the Wounded Warriors Program and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Please sign his guest book at:

Published in The Columbian on Nov. 26, 2017