About George Fuson
The amazing man George E. Fuson had many life experiences that were incredible. He wrestled with the best, was an All-American football player, carried the Olympic torch, knew & helped John F Kennedy get elected, and worked with Bobby & Teddy Kennedy, Tom McCall, Gale McGee, and Wayne Morris on issues facing worker’s rights and health insurance. Among many things, he was proud of his labor union organizing service for the entire region of the Western United States (Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana). He was a barber, businessman, and civic-minded volunteer. He was nominated for the most outstanding man of the state of Oregon in the 70s, among many other honors. He was a graduate of Cheyenne High School and a student at the University of Wyoming and Portland State. He was a coach, mentor, and foster parent to hundreds of youth, giving them his heart, friendship and guidance.
Learning at a small age boxing, gymnastics, and wrestling from his uncle Ted Graham Sr. (Chief White Eagle) his love for wrestling and athletics affiliated him with many great coaches from Wyoming and Oregon. He was always buying uniforms, sporting equipment, and even traveling throughout the USA so those he coached could compete in state, regional, national, and Olympic competitions. He exemplified honesty, integrity, inclusivity, and taught the building of character is more important than the building of championships.
George was a consummate organizer in politics, unions, assisting in the creation of men’s basketball leagues, Clackamas men’s softball league, CCC, and Milwaukie, Clackamas & Vale’s youth wrestling and football programs. Coaching alongside some of Oregon’s greatest, Dave Abraham, PSU’s Doc Westcott, Bill Geister, and Jim Arritola. He was so proud of all those he coached that became great coaches themselves. His greatest passion was to help youth learn football, wrestling, basketball, volleyball, and track.
At every Scouting, Milwaukie JC’s commitment, volunteer event, or sports road trip right there next to him was his wife Connie Fuson providing support, food, and organization event skills. Many heard his story that he ran into her at the Rex Theater in Casper WY and chased her until they were married in 1955. It only took moments for him to tell you that he “had been chasing the same gal all these years and hasn’t caught her yet”.
A truly exceptional man with great compassion, integrity, intellect, and a great friend to all. George passed from this earth on December 5th, 2022 at the age of 87. Many people loved him and heard his loud cheers, “lectures” and stories. Innumerable youth he impacted grew up to be great men and women and contributors to society. George always acted as a lighthouse to the youth, and helped convey the vital importance of honesty and integrity. He without fail took time to talk, advise, or lend a hand to those he knew and strangers alike.
George E Fuson is survived by his wife Connie Fuson, sons Randy Fuson and Joe Fuson, daughter Sandijean Fuson, many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous foster children, athletes he coached, and lifelong friends.
The Drexel H. Foundation has started a memorial scholarship in his name for foster kids and athletes from VHS Vale high school and Clackamas High School CHS who will be chosen by Connie & his children. After he retired from coaching he volunteered his time, energy, advice, money, passion, and hard work to this nonprofit, so we want to return the favor by keeping his legacy alive for kids of the future.
About the George Fuson Memorial Scholarship
Recently, we heard an author that wrote a book called the lighthouse effect talk about this analogy he had for his life and the people that impacted him. He had 3 people who changed the trajectory of his existence. These people are the ones who that gave him his chance in the world. often in life we have effects on others we don’t even know. Of course we all have impact, we all have stories about people who influenced our existence. Maybe loved ones, family members, mentors, teachers, etc
Well for George Fuson, he was a lighthouse. He changed many lives, over 100 foster kids, over 1,000 athletes, hundreds of relatives. Why? He didn’t do this for his ego, or for money, or for any other reason but he saw needs and he was a humanitarian. George was the consummate public servant. He helped many. He was a lighthouse, turning many people’s doubts about themselves around and helping them find their new destiny. He guided folks away from the bad life, or gave them the courage to know they are better than that. He helped us all to not use the challenges or barriers in your life as excuses but instead to seek out the possibilities.
So as an applicant for the George Fuson Memorial Scholarship, we would like to hear about a time someone important in your life has been a lighthouse for you. What did they help you with? What did they say? Was simply being there enough? Please share with us a memory that has affected your life for the better.
Who can apply?
Seniors of Vale High School, and Clackamas High School
Athletes from any school
An individual that was/is in foster care
No GPA requirement