Posted 10/12/12 – Dozens turned out last Saturday night at the Lodge in Sierra Madre to help George Maurer and his family celebrate his 90th birthday. Friends and family from as far away as Arizona, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania were treated to a lasagna, ravioli and eggplant parmesan dinner catered by Villa Italia, a PowerPoint show about George’s life, several family created “JibJab” e-card videos, including one “starring” a very limber, long black haired George roller disco dancing, and a delicious cake created by George’s neighbor Ernesto Rojas, a pastry chef at the Pacific Palms Resort, featuring a re-creation of George’s golf cart, complete with photos of George.
George Alfred Maurer was born in Burlington, NJ, on October 5, 1905, to George and Jenny Maurer, their middle child. He attended Burlington High School (in a truly wild coincidence, one of his schoolmates was my father, John Coburn). Living just blocks from the Delaware River, George enjoyed sailing as a young man, so it’s not surprising that shortly after graduating high school, he joined the Navy to serve his country during WWII, in 1943.
The following year, he married his sweetheart, Mary, in Norfolk, VA, and they remained married until her death fifty-nine years later. George shipped out shortly after the wedding, and undertook training as a diver in San Diego, while Mary stayed in Philadelphia and waited for his return. It was during this time in San Diego that George fell in love with California, and hoped someday to bring Mary west with him. George was discharged in 1945, and in 1946, they finally got to honeymoon in New York City.
In 1951, at the age of 29, George moved with Mary to a home in Pennsauken, NJ, that had been built by family and friends. He was able to walk to work at the local paper “The Community News,” following in the footsteps of his father, who had been a linotype operator and editor of a local newspaper.
George and Mary had four children, daughters Mikki and Linda, and twin sons, George and Bill. Mikki, Linda and Bill were at the party, son George passed away in 2009. The family later moved to Covina, CA before settling in Sierra Madre. George worked for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the Pasadena Star News before being hired at the Sierra Madre News, where he worked for nearly thirty years.
George served for thirty years as a volunteer firefighter, eleven of them back east, and nineteen years with the Sierra Madre Fire Dept. , and was instrumental in bringing the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) service to the Sierra Madre department, as well as helping to raise money to purchase the City’s first ambulance.
George has served three times as Mayor of Sierra Madre during twelve years on City Council. He also chaired the Senior Housing Committee and spent time on the Planning Commission.
George is a longtime member of Sierra Madre Kiwanis, and for several years was the only person ever to also serve with the Sierra Madre Rotary Club. He has been honored by the CA State Senate, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Sierra Madre Little League, Pasadena City College, Arcadia Methodist Hospital, the American Heart Association, and others. He was named Citizen of the Year by the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce in 1974, and currently sits on their Board of Directors. When the City began honoring volunteers, organizations and City employees with their “Sierra Madre Honors” awards, in 2006, George received the first lifetime volunteer award, which has ever since been called the “George Maurer Lifetime Service Award.”
After dinner, the crowd sang happy birthday to George, after which he spoke briefly, thanking the crowd for being there, and adding that “…you’ve made my day, and a good start for the next year,” (see video below).
We join all of George’s friends and family in wishing George a very happy 90th birthday.