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Col. George Woolsey, 1915-2010

He taught for 15 years at San Marcos High School, where he was a driving force behind fundraising for its stadium complex

Col. George C. Woolsey died Aug. 7, 2010, after a brief illness. He would have been 95 years old on Aug. 13.

Col. Woolsey retired from the U.S. Army on June 30, 1961, after 22 years of active service. Commissioned in 1939, he served as commander of Army units from platoon to regimental size. He served in the Philippines during World War II and in Korea during the “police action” there, commanding the 3rd Bngade, 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Col. George C. Woolsey
Col. George C. Woolsey

Between those two assignments, he served as an adviser to the Greek Army under President Harry S. Truman’s plan in a unit made up of American, British and Greek officers and enlisted personnel. This group was readying Greek Army divisions to expel Communist partisans who were trying to take over the country.

In 1956, he was assigned as professor of military science at UCSB.

After his retirement, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at UCSB and then taught at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara for 15 years. Woolsey labored those same 15 years raising funds to build the stadium complex at San Marcos High. He was also the driving force behind the Vietnam War Memorial Plaza at that stadium, organizing candy bar sales for its construction.

Woolsey is survived by his wife, Mildred; three sons, G. Thomas, J. Raymond and Gregory A. Woolsey; a daughter, Raymie Tindle; two stepdaughters, Barbara Sorem-Hughlett and Kris Lynn; 13 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Woolsey joined the Military Order of World Wars in 1975 and for 15 subsequent years was the sustaining force in keeping the Santa Barbara Chapter alive. He served as chapter commander for three years, served as an officer in the order’s Region XIV and was a general staff emeritus of the order’s national headquarters.

Woolsey fought long and hard, though unsuccessfully, to retain the Junior ROTC program in Santa Barbara. He has been a staunch supporter of the ROTC program at UCSB. His service to his community and to the Order earned him the honor of having the chapter name changed to the Colonel George C. Woolsey Chapter. He was also honored with the order’s Gold Patrick Henry Award and with the Eagle Award, for a donation to the society’s Endowment Fund by the Chapter Companions in Woolsey’s name.

A memorial service will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Elks Lodge, 150 N. Kellogg St. in Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, donations in Colonel Woolsey’s name may be made to the “Scabbard and Blade” and sent to the Military Science Department, Building 451, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.

Arrangements entrusted to McDermott-Crockett Mortuary.

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