It's not everybody who can say they were in the company of a giant. George was not only physically imposing, he had a will to do better things in life and he not just shared that will, he imposed it. Cartierville was always a good boating club but George came in and literally pulled the club up by its boot straps. He started not only a new regime of training but a new philosophy of sport. He brought in the new large paddles which some said would harm the paddlers. Only by the weight of the trophies we won. He gave us a new style of paddling which meant we lifted the paddle back at the end of a stroke rather than swung it. We went from "give me a dozen" in the war canoe to "give me a series" which meant a dozen strokes then a dozen more. I don't think the war canoe lost a race after that. I was comforted to hear that George spent his golden years in a place he loved. He certainly worked hard for and deserved his reward. My sympathies go out to all the family.
I just wanted to share this with you all. I paddled for Cartierville Boating Club from 1957 to 1967 and have kept in contact with some of the paddlers since then.
At first my father Joseph didn't want me to spend the summer going back and forth to the club (about 10 miles), however George came to our house and persuaded him to let me go (he could sell fridges to Eskimos); George picked me up (and 4 other young paddlers from Roxboro) and returned us for each practise session and regatta.
George was an inspiration and helped develop my character and personality by his ethics and values; and I was not alone. When i think of George I recollect the influence that your rugby coaches and especially Paul Horne had on you boys.
it is not often you come across a person who is larger than life, George was one of those rarities.
Rolf Kinskoffer Victoria, B.C.
George revolutionized the Sport of competitive paddling in North America.
Upon returning from a visit to Russia to witness their training programs, George implemented two major changes:
explained that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line, he had us lifting our paddles as opposed to the traditional way of swinging them; then, to add injury to our muscles, he decided that 1 'scoop' of the paddle was better than 2.
To achieve this he introduced the wider paddle. He had quite a few doubters. Did it work? Count the Burgees!
We're talking about the mid-fifties here. He would film our practises, and even volunteer to take our wet running shoes, buns & jerseys home to Roxboro to dry up in what must have been the only clothes dryer in the area.
George instilled a lot of values for us to carry forth into our futures and was always there to assist in our career paths. He led me to Danny Gallivan who got me started on a lengthy, successful career. I personally thanked him for that at Danny's 70th party bash. He was so taken aback by my comment that he called one of his sons over to hear a repeat of my appreciation. A toast to Gentleman George, "Paddles Up"!
I was introduced to MRA through George and shortly afterwards, attended the funeral of the founder with him and another business man in Allentown PA. And MRA was part of my life for a number of years, George was truly a great man.
Tom Babcock B.C.
I remember George Bossy well, a very powerful presence, he came to the
Maritimes to promote and teach canoeing in the 50ties and left an impression on all of us here.
Dieter Schroeder Dartmouth N.S.
I'll bet, active to the end. What an unforgettable person, one who has had an enormous influence on my life and whom I will never forget.
Wayne Thatcher California
Thanks, for forwarding this Gazette obituary of George. What a legacy he's left! An amazing individual!
Tom and Sybil Hennebury
Sad news, made Cartierville the club of the 50's and 60's.
George Wallace Montreal
Sorry to hear. He was my first paddling coach and was definitely a huge influence on my life.
George won the Canadian Single Canoe Championship at 1000 meters in 1951, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959. He also won the 10,000 meter Singles championship in 1954. He won the North American singles championship in 1958 and won Junior Tandem in 1954 with his brother Leo.
He represented Canada at the Olympics twice: in Helsinki in 1952 and again in Melbourne in 1956 where he finished 8th in the finals.
He will be remembered for his fierce battles with another Canadian Olympian, Don Stringer from the Lachine Racing Canoe Club.
George was our head coach who, because of his leadership skills and strict training methods, was able to build the Cartierville Boating Club into a dynasty that won the overall aggregate 'burgee' at the Canadian Championships 9 straight years (1957 -1965). The Cartierville Club became so dominant from George's efforts that the Club would get almost as many points at the Canadian Championships as all the other clubs combined.
Bob Kay Ottawa
It's hard to believe that George has passed away. He was a wonderful motivator stressing clean living, no smoking, drinking even dark soft drinks. He certainly shook up paddling in Quebec and Canada with the way he built the Cartierville Boating Club into a dynasty that lasted for decades. As a teenager I needed my life structured, if only for the paddling season, (training stopped for me after CCA). But I remember George saying that what we learned then we would remember and draw on for the rest of our lives. That is so true.
I would like to be at the wake but doubt if I can make it. Maybe.. Thanks George, for everything.
Although many of us, as did I, knew and respected George for his paddling career and association with Cartierville Boating Club, there was another George that less of you knew. He was an avid passionate supporter of youth football especially in the West Island. Through his many well placed contacts, one notable being Ted Workman, George ran a very successful Juvenile football program in the West Island during the early 60's with a team named the North Shore Knights. I was one of the fortunate players to be involved in the program along with my brother Tom. George instilled a work and training ethic in his players that was inspirational to say the least. He treated al of us like young adults not kids and thus allowed us to realize our full potential as players and young men. George ensured that we had the best of equipment and coaching available at the time. He was able to supply us with both home and away uniforms and practise equipment that was state of the art at that time for a professional team let alone a group of 16 and 17 year olds. He was able to get many of us invited to a special camp put on by the Montreal Alouettes where young players were showcased to a number of US college scouts. His commitment to a providing a very professional and moral environment was to be commended.
This was a side of George that was not very public but another example of the type of man he was.
Thanks very much all of you for your warm sentiments. This was such a shock to us as he seemed in such great shape spiritually physically, mentally and emotionally. He did suffer a heart attack but it was the fall and head trauma that was the actual cause of death on Monday afternoon at 3pm (Hour of Mercy).
All of his children are down here now (except Tatiana who remained home to coordinate funeral arrangements in Montreal ) and we just viewed his body. We are having a brief funeral ceremony here tomorrow on the eve of All Souls Day (It is called Day of the Dead here in Mexico and is a big religious holiday). George loved the Mexican people and the simplicity of life down here in San Jose del Cabos.
We will then transport his body to Montreal and are tentatively planning for a wake in Dorval on Friday evening and a funeral on Saturday at St. Joseph de Lac where he will be joined with Pat .... and lastly a reception to follow at Tatiana's home.
We would love to have as many people as possible to make the effort to get there for the celebration of his great life where we can share "George" stories and try to understand the 'essence' of this wonderful and yet complex man.
David P. Bossy