Greensburg man passed down love of trains to future generations

August 23, 2018

Robert “Rob” George was a hard worker with a penchant for collecting trains.

“He loved trains. I mean, he built an addition on our house as a kid -- for his train room. He had 300 or 400 of them,” said one of his daughters, Rebecca Lukas, 57, of Cleveland.

Robert E. George, 82, of Greensburg died Tuesday, July 31 after a battle with blood cancer.

Born April 27, 1936 in Vandergrift, he was the son of the late Malcom L. and Nelle Martin George.

He graduated from Vandergrift High School in 1954, which preceded today’s Kiski Area High School. After high school he attended Grove City College, where he met his surviving wife of 59 years, Mary Lu (Magarrall) George.

The couple moved to Greensburg shortly after marrying, where they began a family and Mr. George landed a job as a teller at First National Bank. He worked there until he retired as the Greensburg branch’s vice president of operations in 1998. (The bank changed names to Southwest Bank in 1998.) He earned a degree in business from the University of Pittsburgh in 1978.

Mr. George became a member of the Train Collector’s Association in the early 1960s, around the same time he started the job at the bank and served in the Army Reserves. The admiration for model trains was shared, his wife said.

“We went to TCA meetings and met friends through TCA. We just had thoroughly an enjoyable time together based on trains,” Mary Lu George said. “I had some trains of my own and they belonged to Rob as soon as we married. I knew he would take good care of them, and he did.”

Keith George of Latrobe will remember his father’s work ethic and commitment to family.

“I think he would have loved to have worked for the railroad but he was committed to his family, to take care of them,” Keith George said.

Karen M. Lynch , another daughter, agreed.

“He knew that if he left his banking job to work with the railroad that it meant traveling and maybe not having money to pay for things that we needed growing up,” said Lynch of Greensburg.

Her parents passed along their passion for trains to their nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Lukas said.

“A couple of the boys and girls that look at trains now and go, ‘Oh, this is so cool.’ It’s part of his legacy to the grandkids,” she said. “All nine of them got one train out of his collection.”

Mr. George was also an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church, a member of Greensburg Masonic Lodge No. 225 and the Rotary Club of Greensburg.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Lu (Magarrall) George, and his four children, Robert Keith George and his wife, Karen Louise; Rebecca Lukas and her husband, James; Karen Melissa Lynch and her husband John III, and Jennifer Sorenson and her husband Ted.

He is also survived by his five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

There will be no public viewing. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 18 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1120 Harvey Ave., Greensburg. Services will be handled by Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home in Greensburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to UPMC Senior Communities Benevolent Care Fund, 896 Weatherwood Lane, Greensburg.

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