In Memoriam: A Tribute to George Glenn (1914-1971)

by Wendell Margrave

George Glenn, the founder of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, its secretary from the beginning until 1969 and Editor of its Journal, died at his home on the morning of May 9, 1971 as the result of a heart attack.

 

He was born in Accomack Country, Virginia, and grew up with the oystermen of Saxis Island, where his father was the storekeeper. He graduated from the College of William and Mary and from Tufts Medical School, and studied art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington and for seven years with Hans Hoffmann. He served as an officer in the Navy in World War II, and participated in the North African and European campaigns.

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He was a renaissance man. He combined a lively interest in almost everything with genuine achievement in many fields. He was a physician; a gifted painter, sculptor and photographer; a master craftsman in the making of musical instruments; an inspired cook; a leader in fraternal and veterans' organizations; a scholar, writer, and lifelong devotee of music. Everyone who conversed with him became aware of his way of illuminating some detail with a sudden cross-fertilization from an apparently unrelated discipline.

This insight, and this active and enormous memory, he carried over into his relations with people. He had the gift of friendship, and a wonderful way of remembering everything significant about the hundreds of people he knew.

Those who knew him best will miss him most, but he gave us all the Society, which will remain as a monument to his vision and his personal example, based on the sure knowledge that the joy of music is in personal involvement and participation.