East Longmeadow- George Wegman, 97, of East Longmeadow passed away on May 8, 2019 at Renaissance Manor, Holyoke after a brief hospitalization.
George Wegman was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on October 29, 1921, the son of Edward Wegman and Anna Hyde Wegman. He married Eleanor Vezina in May 1942 at Grace Chapel, Springfield. He worked briefly for W.F.Young before leaving for training in the Army Air Force. He served during WWII as a staff sergeant and was shot down in a B-17 bomber over Italy on Valentine’s Day, prompting George to observe that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as you never know what will happen”. George spent the next 18 months as a POW. He was force –marched to several prisoner of war camps and, in at least one instance, was placed in solitary confinement. He credited the experience with helping him to become a man. He was only 21 at the time.
Honorably discharged in September 1945, George returned to his job at W.F. Young and worked there until his retirement over forty years later. George’s ability to lead his W.F. Young team, as well as to innovate and create machinery on the spot, made him invaluable and a much loved member of the W.F. Young family. He was a positive supervisor and an effective manager. Long after his retirement, he still counted as friends and was often visited by, members of his team and the W.F. Young family. George and Eleanor lived in East Longmeadow, raising their two children, William and Pamela and becoming valued members of the community, with George installed as a Deacon at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He and his wife enjoyed playing tennis and were avid golfers with Eleanor capturing numerous awards for her skills and abilities on the course. In 2002, Eleanor the love of George’s life passed away. George maintained the family home in East Longmeadow, traveling to Rangeley, Maine during the summer to visit his children and grandchildren who love him dearly and hope to one day be like him.As time went on, George suffered from degenerative eye problems. He eventually moved to Assisted Living, staying for a number of years at The Reserve in East Longmeadow. Here George brought the full effect of his positive attitude, his gentle and innocent wit and his magic on the harmonica to his neighbors. The phrase will always ring in our ears, “everyone just loves George” and everyone did. When his daughter Pam asked for “Life Advice” he smiled gently and whispered “Smile and be kind to everyone”. There is no doubt that his “secret of life” was George’s operating philosophy and his way through the world. Everyone touched by his generous and gentle life would agree.
In addition to his wife, Eleanor, George was predeceased by his brothers Everett, Walter, Harry, Hugh, David and sister Dorothy Wegman Pirog and by his grandchildren Jennifer and Zachary Milano. He is survived by his son William Wegman, daughter-in-law Christine Burgin and grandchildren Atlas and Lola as well as his daughter, Pamela and her partner Ernest Gurney, and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his devoted grandniece LeeAnne Herrick, her husband Ray, son Chad and daughter Jamie and by his long-time caregiver, Maria Croteau as well as all the staff and friends at The Reserve. A celebration of his life will be held at The Reserve at East Longmeadow on Saturday May 18th at 1:00 o’clock p.m.In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in memory of George be made to the charity of your choice.Assisting the family is Forastiere Smith Family Funeral Home, East Longmeadow. Please visit www.forastiere.com to offer a personal memory or note of condolence.