Murphy Funeral Homes


George Crosby Towner Jr.

January 23, 1931October 25, 2021

George C. Towner, Jr. died peacefully on 25 October 2021 at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, Falls Church, VA. Born January 23rd 1931 in Baltimore, Maryland to future VAdm. George C. and Margaret Towner, George lived the life of a Navy child, moving variously from coast to coast. He was the second of three children, having an elder sister Peggy, who died as a toddler, and a younger sister Patricia. His mother died in 1937, but his father soon remarried to Elizabeth Engesser of New York City. George was child of 10 living in Honolulu HI when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and he often recalled the experience of blackouts and randomly fired anti-aircraft shells landing around their home. In April 1942, the family left Hawaii for Montana to stay with George Sr.’s parents in Fort Benton, remaining in Montana until the family moved to Rochester after the war.

George graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and having participated in Army ROTC was sent to Korea and officer in the 48th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division. To his good fortune, the conflict ended while he was enroute, and he spent the better part of the next 9 months along the newly established Demilitarized Zone (DMZ.) Upon his return, George attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1956. Upon passage of the bar exam, he took a position with the Arlington, Virginia law firm of Simmonds, Colburn, Culler, and Damn, where he would become a partner and practice civil law for the better part of the next 65 years. Over the last 15 years, George Jr. also served as a Hearing Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia, resolving administrative disputes, facilitating negotiations, and issuing legal decisions.

In 1956, he met and fell in love with his sister’s housemate, Clara Fitzpatrick of Plattsburgh, New York, and in August 1957 the couple were married. They had 5 children: George III (1958,) Martin (1959,) John (1960,) Matthew (1965,) and Elizabeth (1969). George was a dedicated and responsible husband over 52 years of marriage, especially caring for Clara daily over many years of prolonged illness. Together they were active members of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, where George served numerous roles on Church development and finance committees. Over his more than 60 years in Arlington and Northern Virginia, George, Jr. was an impactful community leader helping shape the face of the region through a wide range of service.

One of the true pioneers of Virginia soccer, George Jr. founded the Potomac Kiwanis Soccer Club in 1969, and served variously as President, Treasurer, Coach, and Club Manager. In 1970, he helped to found the Arlington Soccer Association, serving as an officer and until recent years a Board member. Today the Association, has 5,900 players and 540 teams.

George was also elected President of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) in 1982, serving until 1985. He also served as US Youth Soccer (USYSA) Sub Regional Director, USYSA Regional Director, and on the US Soccer Federation (USSF) Board of Directors. He has held numerous committee chairmanships with both USYSA and USSF, and wrote a weekly soccer column for the Northern Virginia Sun.

For his service, George Jr. received the Arlington Interservice Club Council’s “Man of the Year” for youth soccer development (1970), the Virginia Parks and Recreation Society’s award for “Outstanding Support and Achievement for Volunteer Services” (1973) and selection by Better Sports Club as the Arlington “Sportsman of the Year” (1989). He was inducted in the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001.

George was a longtime supporter of Arlington and Northern Virginia parks, serving as chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission throughout the 1970s. He further represented Arlington to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority from 1979 to 1997, where he served a tenure as Director in the 1990s. Under his leadership, the Park Authority successfully advanced numerous park bond initiatives that have contributed greatly to the local and regional park system we enjoy today. In 2008 George earned the Bill Thomas Park Service Award in 2008, the highest honor given to Arlington Park and Recreation volunteers. He continued serving on the Arlington County Sports Commission until 2016. Over the last decade, George has lived at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, maintaining a modest legal practice, making many dear friends, and actively involving himself in resident affairs. He also became increasingly involved in the Princeton Class of 1952 alumni group, serving in various leadership roles, and attending class gatherings. He served recently as the group’s treasurer and ran its newsletter.

George Towner, Jr. leaves behind his 5 children, 8 grandchildren (Bryn, Patrick, Zachary, Zoe, Aileen, Natalie, Clara, and Rachel,) and one great grandchild (Reese.)


  • Visitation

    Friday, November 5, 2021

  • Visitation

    Friday, November 5, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Saturday, November 6, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, November 6, 2021


George Crosby Towner Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Edmund Walton

November 23, 2021

George was a long time friend, and a law partner. We practiced in the Simmonds firm for about ten years. George was a highly respected member of the bar and an excellent trial lawyer for many years. He was always available to a young lawyer with a question and always had the best answer. He was a "class act" in all respects!


November 4, 2021

Princeton, N.J.
November 3, 2021
To the Family of George C. Towner, Jr.
For the Funeral Mass of George C. Towner, Jr.
St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church
1901 North Randolph Street
Arlington VA 22207

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This Class wants you as his family to know that the Class grieves also with you over the death of George C Towner, Jr. on October 25, 2021. His participation in the Class was so extensive that we find it hard to imagine its existing without him. He and his wife Clara attended every Reunion and mini reunion over the long alumni decades. His service as a Class leader is long and its scope steadily increased. He was elected Treasurer of the Class in 2012. Since then he prepared financial statements and reports for meetings of the Class Executive Committee three time each year. In 2014 he also assumed the role of Class Secretary. He wrote the Class Notes describing the Class activities and summarizing correspondence from Classmates for publication in each issue of The Princeton Alumni Weekly. For reports these he carried on an extensive correspondence with Classmates. The number of these reports over those decades also defies accurate listing.
George took the leadership role in developing several other Class services. One is creation of the Class website, and making major improvements to it.That required years of collaboration with the Class consultant Reunion Technologies. As another example, he compiled a detailed catalogue of all the scholarships established, facilities donated and other gifts by Classmates to the University over the life of the Class. These just illustrate the dedicated life George gave to the Class. They cannot really explain why he was our dear friend and why we will miss him very much
Please accept this statement of our highest regard for George and also our deep sympathy on his death.

Sincerely yours,
Class of 1952

George M. Aman III, Class

Steve Spangler

November 4, 2021

I celebrate an amazing life and wish you comfort in your memories.

George was essential in the creation and operation of the Arlington Soccer Association. Each weekend over 6,000 children ─ girls and boys ─ now play soccer in Arlington and Falls Church because of George's leadership.

I worked many years with George in the ASA. I knew him first when I was a coach. He then supported me in starting the Teen Soccer Club and then worked with me when I was ASA president. He was a friend and an advisor.

Photo: George Towner, Mac McLaughlin, Mary Bevis, Steve Spangler

Dawn Schaefer

November 3, 2021

I'm so sorry to learn that Mr. Towner has passed away. I worked with him for many years in his capacity as a hearing officer. He was a brilliant, fair-minded man with a sharp wit and solid sense of judgment. I will miss working with him and hearing his stories of his time at Princeton and in the army.

My condolences to his family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Morgan Brooke-Devlin

November 3, 2021

George was a respected and important member of the Virginia Hearing Officer's group. He was kind, often amusing, and when he contributed to discussions or made suggestions he was thouhtful and insightful. He will be greatly missed by all. May he rest in peace.

Elizabeth Ganley

November 1, 2021

In 1972 our son Christopher came home and said he wanted to play soccer. he was in the first grade . my husband Richard Ganley said what kind of sport is that . when we picked him up at the back of Jamestown field the coach George Towner approached us and said hello and introduced himself . my husband said to George let us know if we can help. we might’ve been in the house 15 minutes and the phone rang it was George he had an assignment for Dick. would he coach the 14 and under girls he did not know a thing about the sport. And so our involvement with soccer began. It was George who got it all started Now he , Mac McLaughlin ,and Richard Ganley will have a good time reminiscing about soccer
Betty Ganley

Marta Cahill

November 1, 2021

I am one of the many (hundreds?) of people who met George through ASA. His time, dedication, and knowledge about youth soccer, and Arlington Parks & Recreation, was inspiring. George made incredible contributions to the Arlington community on so many fronts. It's the end of an era, and he will be missed.

Jeff Covel

November 1, 2021

In 1973, George recruited me through an ad in the Washington Post to coach in the Arlington Soccer Association, and ASA youth soccer became part of my life for the next 43 years in numerous capacities including a decade as the club manager for the Potomac Kiwanis soccer club George founded. Thank you George for making Arlington Youth Soccer such an important part of my life. You helped shape so many young lives in Arlington and will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.

Paul Heer

October 30, 2021

As a longtime friend and colleague of George's son Matt, I met George and Clara on several occasions. It was clear to me that they were an extraordinary pair with a loving family. I had not been aware of the amazing breadth of George's career, or of all he did for Arlington (where I lived for 25 years), especially its parks. And I was always impressed that he never fully retired from his legal practice! I offer my deepest sympathy to George's family, as they celebrate his life and his reunion with Clara and with God.