George Lester Usher Jr. was born in Portland to Lester and Delsa Usher. He attended Kennedy grade school and graduated from Jefferson High School. He was attending college at Linfield, working on a Pharmaceutical major when WWII broke out.
In 1942 George enlisted as a Naval Aviation Candidate. He was trained in Walla Walla, WA, and Corpus Christi, TX. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After being stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina George married his Portland sweetheart, Phyllis Knapper. George was assigned to the 13th Marine Bomber Squadron (VMB 13) in the south pacific. He flew many bombing missions in a PBJ (B-25) often flying missions at night over neighboring Japanese occupied islands. He was awarded several medals, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses for his successful missions.
At the conclusion of the war, George joined the Portland Fire Bureau in 1947 as a Fire Fighter. He was soon assigned to a fire boat. He was appointed Harbor Pilot in 1964, after being recognized by civil service for attaining the highest grade (98.7) on record. He was assigned to Fireboat 2, the David Campbell, and retired in 1981 after 34 years of service. In 1949 fellow military pilots urged George to join the USAF Reserve where he again began flying. In 1952 he was called to active duty due to the Korean Police Action. He moved his family to Tacoma WA, where he was stationed at McChord AFB for two years, retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 1981 as a Major.
He and fellow firefighters built a family home near Glendoveer golf course after returning to Portland and the Fire Bureau. There he and Phyllis raised their two beautiful daughters, Nancy and Susan. After retiring, George and Phyllis traveled to all parts of the world, including China, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. They spent every January in Maui, HI. George was an avid hunter and fisherman. Hunting season found George and his brother, Ronald in the Wallowa Mountains, where they kept the family supplied with venison. Fishing season, he was on the Willamette catching the elusive salmon. He continued fishing with his neighbor, Don into his late eighty's.
In 2008 George and Phyllis moved to Avamere Assisted Living Community near Claremont Golf Course. Phyllis passed away in 2009. They were married 66 years. After a fall George was moved to a memory care facility in Beaverton. He passed away with his family by his side on November 18th. He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis; his brothers, Arthur, and Ronald. He is survived by his daughters, Nancy Neville (Larry), and Susan Cooper (Chris) of Birmingham, AL; five Grandchildren, and four Great Grandchildren. A full military and Fire Service funeral will be at Willamette National Cemetery on Tuesday, November 26 at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Toy N Joy Makers.