George Wells Awsumb, age 74, Rome, GA, died September 7 at a local hospital following a brief illness. George was born in Champaign, Illinois on March 13, 1939, the son of the late Wells and Gwendolyn Awsumb. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from Rhodes College and received his MA in English from Emory University.
George had been a resident of Rome since 1962 when he came to teach at Darlington school. He retired from Darlington in 2009, after 47 years of teaching. While at Darlington he created and led numerous programs that gave generations of students the opportunity to learn about and participate in the arts. Mr. Awsumb founded the Darlington Players and directed a number of plays not normally seen on the high school stage. He was chairman of Darlington's English Department and created the school's Fine Arts Department in the 1970's. He also developed the school's Advanced Placement Art History class, a college-level study of art and music history. One of his most popular classes was Cinema, which explored the history of film as an art form. From 1984 through 2000 he led annual 4-day study tours to New York, where students visited major museums and attended Broadway plays. One of his fondest memories is that his three daughters, all of whom are Darlington graduates, were able to join him on these tours. During his years at Darlington Mr. Awsumb also founded the Scholar Bowl academic quiz team, which he coached for over twenty years, and served as an advisor to the yearbook, the newspaper, and the International Club.
A communicant of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, George served on the vestry, sang in the choir, acted as a chalice bearer and a lay reader, and participated in and led educational forums. George was a strong supporter and board member of the Rome Area Council of the Arts and the Rome Symphony Orchestra. He was an active volunteer for the Democratic Party and its candidates.
After suffering from heart failure, George received a heart transplant in 2001, allowing him twelve more years of doing the things he loved: teaching, traveling, and being with his family, including five grandchildren. In recent years he was an avid blogger, primarily sharing his incisive movie reviews. Through all of these pursuits he inspired others with his lifelong love of painting, music, film, and literature.
George is survived by his wife Betsy, brother Carl and sister Cathy, both of Memphis, three daughters, Catherine Nelson of Agoura Hills, CA, Elizabeth Awsumb of Memphis, and Kristin Liu of Wallingford, CT, and five grandchildren: Jay and Graham Nelson and Roosevelt, Whitman, and Emerson Liu.
Funeral services will be Saturday, September 14 at 11 AM at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Rome, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Peter's, Darlington School, or the Georgia Transplant Foundation.