George Sainsbury, 1925-2011

Publication Year: 2012.

George Sainsbury, 1925–2011

George Ross Sainsbury, AAC board member, chairman of Seattle Mountain Rescue, and charter member of Olympia Mountain Rescue, passed away in Bakersfield, California, on March 13, 2011, while returning from a bird-watching trip. Sainsbury was born May 9, 1925 in Longview, Washington, and graduated from the University of Washington. His greatest passions were his family, mountain search and rescue, and scouting.

His interest in search and rescue stemmed from his attempt at a new route on Mt. Rainier’s south face, during which he fell into a crevasse on the Kautz Glacier. Twenty-two hours passed before he was pulled out of the hole. Inspired by his own rescue, Sainsbury dedicated his life to the rescue of others—working with Seattle Mountain Rescue, Olympia Mountain Rescue, and the AAC to advance mountain safety.

In 1997 the AAC awarded Sainsbury the Angelo Heilprin Citation for his work in preventing mountaineering accidents in Washington State. The citation is awarded annually “to that person who has, in the opinion of the citation committee, shown exemplary service to the Club.” Sainsbury was a tireless advocate for the Club’s ideals.

He was also an important figure in scouting. He worked for a decade with the Boy Scouts of America, as district executive for the Chief Seattle Council and as executive for the Olympic Area Council. He spent another decade with the Girl Scouts, where he served on the national staff as financial adviser for Region 11.

Sainsbury is survived by his wife of almost 62 years, Mary Jane Sainsbury, and their daughter, Mary Ann Sainsbury.

Hale Melnick

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