After an illustrious career as an entrepreneur and world class water ski champion, "Banana George", born George Alfred Blair (January 22, 1915) in Toledo, Ohio to Roy Robert and Georgia Gotshall Blair, died peacefully at home age 98 on Thursday, October 17, 2013. George was the brother of Laurel Blair, the Museum's founder, always devoted and supportive of Laurel's passion for collecting, preserving and sharing the magic of lithophanes.
He attended Miami University in Ohio and in 1939 married Dorothy Spies of Detroit. Together they raised their four daughters (Donna, GeeGee, Carrie and Robin) in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Predeceased by Dorothy, he is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 40 years, JoAnne Blair of New York City, as well as his four daughters and four grandsons and several great grandchildren.
While Banana George was a very successful businessman in banking, baby photography and even mosquito abatement among other things, barefoot waterskiing was his passion and he indulged it well into his 90's! His first experience on water skis was at the age of 40 after recuperating from surgery due to a back injury- he said in an interview that the experience was like being born again! His list of world records and Guinness records is long- he is the only person to have skied on all seven continents. A memorial scholarship has been established in his name by The American Water Ski Educational Foundation (ASWEF). Donations can be made to "The George Blair Ambassador of Skiing Scholarship" and sent to 1251 Holy Cow Rd., Polk City, Florida, 33868
All of us connected to The Blair Museum of Lithophanes are grateful to Banana George for his passion, enthusiasm, philanthropy and support- truly a life lived to the fullest - an inspiration to all! He and JoAnne and his family have honored the Museum and its founder, brother Laurel Blair, by helping to maintain the world's largest collection of lithophanes housed in the only Museum in the world devoted solely to this special art form.
A quote from Banana George; "Don't wait for the next thing to happen, make the next thing happen!" Thank you Banana George, for always making things happen, you will be missed!!!