George Wells Awsumb

March 13, 1939September 7, 2013

George Wells Awsumb, age 74, Rome, GA, died September 7 at a local hospital following a brief illness. George was born in Champaign, Illinois on March 13, 1939, the son of the late Wells and Gwendolyn Awsumb. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from Rhodes College and received his MA in English from Emory University.

George had been a resident of Rome since 1962 when he came to teach at Darlington school. He retired from Darlington in 2009, after 47 years of teaching. While at Darlington he created and led numerous programs that gave generations of students the opportunity to learn about and participate in the arts. Mr. Awsumb founded the Darlington Players and directed a number of plays not normally seen on the high school stage. He was chairman of Darlington’s English Department and created the school’s Fine Arts Department in the 1970’s. He also developed the school’s Advanced Placement Art History class, a college-level study of art and music history. One of his most popular classes was Cinema, which explored the history of film as an art form. From 1984 through 2000 he led annual 4-day study tours to New York, where students visited major museums and attended Broadway plays. One of his fondest memories is that his three daughters, all of whom are Darlington graduates, were able to join him on these tours. During his years at Darlington Mr. Awsumb also founded the Scholar Bowl academic quiz team, which he coached for over twenty years, and served as an advisor to the yearbook, the newspaper, and the International Club.

A communicant of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, George served on the vestry, sang in the choir, acted as a chalice bearer and a lay reader, and participated in and led educational forums. George was a strong supporter and board member of the Rome Area Council of the Arts and the Rome Symphony Orchestra. He was an active volunteer for the Democratic Party and its candidates.

After suffering from heart failure, George received a heart transplant in 2001, allowing him twelve more years of doing the things he loved: teaching, traveling, and being with his family, including five grandchildren. In recent years he was an avid blogger, primarily sharing his incisive movie reviews. Through all of these pursuits he inspired others with his lifelong love of painting, music, film, and literature.

George is survived by his wife Betsy, brother Carl and sister Cathy, both of Memphis, three daughters, Catherine Nelson of Agoura Hills, CA, Elizabeth Awsumb of Memphis, and Kristin Liu of Wallingford, CT, and five grandchildren: Jay and Graham Nelson and Roosevelt, Whitman, and Emerson Liu.

Funeral services will be Saturday, September 14 at 11 AM at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rome, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Peter’s, Darlington School, or the Georgia Transplant Foundation.


George Wells Awsumb

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Matthew Barnes

September 24, 2013

I can honestly say that Mr. Awsumb's cinema class was the only course I remember from my days at Darlington (ok, maybe AP Biology is another). He taught with passion and had a great way of connecting with his students. Even though I had not seen him in years I regret his passing. A truly great man!

September 16, 2013

Dear Betsy......I was so sorry to hear about George. It has been a long time since I have seen or talked to you.....we moved from Rome in '93. However, I remember the days at St. Peter's as being very special knowing you, George, and the girls. My daughter, Joan-Marie, has two children now....time flies! Please know that you and the family will continue to be in our prayers. May God continue to give you comfort and peace during this time. Blessings......
Joan Burns - Albany, Georgia

Lauren Wilbanks

September 15, 2013

Sad to hear of the loss of Mr. Awsumb. It was a blessing being in his Cinema class. He was a great teacher. It's a sad day for Darlington and Rome. My thoughts and prayers are with Betsy and the entire family.

Brian Bland

September 14, 2013

Betsy and family: just learned of George's passing. It was always a pleasure to talk with him -- he was a gentleman and a thinker. Please know that Jeanne and I share your sorrow.

Robert Goldberg

September 14, 2013

So sorry to hear of George's passing. 'Mr. Awsumb' was by far my best teacher. His breadth of knowledge and passion were inspiring. He was a creative and nurturing teacher who taught the most meaningful subjects of them all - the humanities. Only he had the humanity to do it properly. George could talk eloquently about everything from Monty Python to opera. He meant a lot to me - and I know to so many others too - and I wish Betsy and the whole family strength through this sad time.