In Memoriam, Dr. George Ewing

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George  Ewing

George Wilmeth Ewing, 87, of Abilene, passed away Tuesday, February 9, 2010, at Hendrick Medical Center. His service will be held at 10:00 am, Monday February 15th, 2010 at University Church of Christ, 733 E.N. 10th, under the direction of Piersall-Benton funeral directors. A visitation will be from 2:00-4:30 on Sunday at the fellowship hall of the church.

Upon his birth in 1923, to Pat and Genie Ewing in Robstown, he became a 5th generation Texan. He spent his youth in various communities of the lower Rio Grande Valley, eventually graduating from Corpus Christi High School.

With the advent of World War II he found himself in the U.S. Army Air Force teaching advanced electronic/radar courses in Boca Raton, FL. In nearby Ft. Lauderdale he met Mellisse Ann Miller, the love of his life and married, March 1, 1946.

Later that year they returned to Texas, where he completed his BA in Bible and Greek, Magna Cum Laude, at Abilene Christian University in 1948. Through the years with the support of his “Lissie” and family he earned MA and PhD degrees with English major and Greek minor at The University of Texas. He spent 37 years teaching English, including chairing the Department of English with ACU.

Daddy learned to work with his father and family early in his life in order to survive the Great Depression. His love of work continued throughout his life. He advocated that “there is honor in all work, that after all we are laboring for our Master, and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” He was a good carpenter, constructing his and Lissie’s home in Abilene. Additionally he loved to preach the Gospel and did so to more than 180 groups/congregations. Most recently here at the Coronado Nursing Home.

He was a member of numerous organizations including his beloved Texas Folklore Society since 1974 where he was President (1995-96) and member of the board. He published numerous folklore articles, as well as the book, The Well-Tempered Lyre: Songs and Poems of the temperance Movement, SMU press and edited and indexed John Locke’s The Reasonableness of Christianity 1965 and still in print with the 1998 edition. In addition he wrote numerous poems, articles for Christian publications and several hymns including “Sin Sorrow of Six Thousand Years.” Great Songs of the Church ACU Press 1986. He read his last professional paper in 2005 at the Texas Folk Lore Society meeting in El Paso, “Folksy, But Devout, Bookkeeping.”

He was an eclectic man of great curiosity, whose activities included carving of wood especially custom walking sticks of all sorts, abstract paintings, rock and wood sculptures, ink and pencil drawings including his locally famous “doodles.”

George loved music of all kinds but especially vocal acappella music. He was a member of the A Club at ACU as an undergraduate, as well as a member of the A Cappella Quartet. He continued his interest in music throughout his life teaching singing schools, leading singing, and providing music for marriages and funerals.

He attributed his remarkable health (only one-half day of work lost to sickness, 1944-1992) to his varied diet and his dedication to exercise. He treasured his gymnastic performance with Ben Zickefoose. He quietly gloried in his weight lifting contest successes in 1950 (UT). His personal records at age 41 include 450 lb. squat, 525 lb. deadlift as well as a lock-out squat of 946 lbs. while he was a graduate student at UT. At age 73 he hiked 26 miles in one day!

He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and a brother. He is survived by his wife Mellisse Ann Ewing of Abilene, a son Tom Wallace Ewing (Julie) of Norman, OK, four daughters: Kathryn Ray Campbell (James) of San Antonio, Virginia Ann Whitmire (Mark) of Richmond, VA, Patricia Leigh Ewing Graves (Tim) of Austin and Stephanie Hope Ewing of Norman, OK and a grandson he raised as a son, Jason Tobias Ewing of Houston, TX. In addition he is survived by a sister Nina Sawey of Victoria, TX, sister-in-law Beth Ewing of Tupelo, MS and a brother-in-law Andrew Samo of Corpus Christi, TX, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Additionally, grandchildren April (Donnie McBride), Darcey (Clay Segers), Jonathan (Leslie Ewing), and Kevin Ewing (Tom’s children),

Sunshine (Shawn Stanek) and Brooke (Page Cole) (Kathy’s daughters), Brie and Elizabeth Whitmire (Virginia’s daughters), Courtney and Erin Graves (Patricia’s daughters), Jason and Chris Ewing (Stephanie’s sons).

Great grandchildren include Christy, William, and Joshua McBride (April’s children), Mycah Segers (Darcey’s daughter), Luke, Graham, and Blair Ewing (Jonathan’s children), Kirby and Campbell Stanek (Sunshine’s children), Bo and Jet Cole (Brooke’s sons).

Donations may be made in honor of Dr. Ewing to the Mellisse and George Ewing Vocal Scholarship Fund, Department of Music, Box 28274, Abilene, TX 79699 or to a charity of your choice. Condolences can be offered to the family online at

This obituary appeared in the Abilene Reporter News on February 12, 2010.

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