Yale University

In Memoriam

George Humphrey

Here are three remembrances of George Humphrey, who died on November 26, 2012.


Cleveland Plain Dealer

November 29, 2012

George Humphrey
1964 graduation

GEORGE MAGOFFIN HUMPHREY, II died Monday, November 26, in Sarasota, Florida, where he had been wintering from Cleveland. He was 70. He is survived by his wife, Patience, daughters, Mary Humphrey (David Humm) and Sandra Brinn (Matthew); brother, Watts (Sally); grandchildren, Hanna and George, step-children Ben Jerman and Rebecca Hardiman and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother, Louise Ireland Humphrey, by his father, Gilbert W. Humphrey and by his twin sister, Margo Bindhardt.

George was beloved by his family, his many friends, and his devoted caregivers. He was a true gentleman — modest, thoughtful, and kind with a wry sense of humor. His life was one of service to others. As one friend said upon the news of his death, "we shall never see his like again."

George Humphrey
recent photo

Widely respected as a quiet leader and a moral force for the many Cleveland organizations which he served, he was generous to a fault and had a great many passions, including music, history, the French language, and a good party.

George was born in Cleveland. Following his years at Hawken School in Cleveland and The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, he attended Yale University, graduating in 1964. He was captain of the freshman and varsity football teams and was awarded the Mallory Prize, given "to that undergraduate who, on the field of play and in his life at Yale, best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition."

He received a J.D. from University of Michigan Law School in 1967, then joined the Marines and retired with the rank of captain in 1970. His time there, in service to his country, was always a source of quiet pride. In his business life, he served in many capacities at the Hanna Mining Company, with which his family had long been associated, including five years in London as Hanna's European representative. Leaving Hanna in 1984, he was for a time an executive recruiter for Russell Reynolds Associates in their Cleveland office. He then chaired Philips Container Company from 1987 to 1994 and was president of the plastic extrusion company Extrudex from 1990 until 2006.

George's philanthropic involvement in the Cleveland community was extensive. Continuing a long family legacy at University Hospitals, he joined its Board in 1980 and the broader University Hospitals Health Systems Board in 1987. He was vice chairman of both institutions from 1988 to 2004 and served as chairman and co-chairman of its Board Development Committee. George's many contributions to UH included his leadership of a capital campaign, begun in 1991, which raised $61 million. This extraordinary effort was, at the time, the most successful fundraising achievement in the hospital's history. In 1999, George was honored with the Samuel Mather Award, the hospital's highest philanthropic recognition, the same award given to the entire Humphrey-Hanna-Ireland family in 1992. His nearly 27 years of service at UH were also acknowledged on his retirement in 2006, when he was named its first Lifetime Director and a major challenge grant and chair were established in his honor.

George also served as a trustee of Case Western Reserve University and chaired the CWRU School of Medicine fundraising campaign in the 1980s. He was a long-time member of the Board of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and University Circle, Inc., and served as chairman of Cleveland Scholarship Programs.

George became a volunteer at United Way in 1978 and from 1993-2006 chaired its Ten Plus Executive Committee, the organization's flagship major-gifts program. His connection to United Way dated to his childhood in the 1950's, when he accompanied his mother on horseback around the farms in Hunting Valley to collect donations for the then-named Community Chest.

An avid golfer. George was a member of both Pepper Pike and Kirtland Country Clubs. Throughout his life, George was a keen quail and duck hunter and relished his time at the family hunting estate near Thomasville, Georgia. Always a country music fan, he taught himself to play harmonica in his late 40s. At his 60th birthday, at the Union Club of Cleveland, George happily played "The Orange Blossom Special" with his idol, country music harmonica star Charlie McCoy.

A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Boulevard, Cleveland Heights on Thursday, December 20, at 1:00 p.m. A reception will follow at the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, 7620 Old Mill Road, Gates Mills. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in George's name to University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland Scholarships Programs, or United Way of Cleveland.



November 28, 2012

George M. Humphrey II was the last Hanna kin at Hanna Mining Company

George Humphrey
1984 photo

After several years of illness, the prominent executive and philanthropist died Monday while wintering in Sarasota, Fla. He was 70.

Descended from notables on both sides, Humphrey was a leader at several local businesses and nonprofits, including University Hospitals.

He was gentle and courtly but liked to have fun. He hunted quail on horseback in Florida, played harmonica with country star Charlie McCoy and bought a famous pub in Dublin.

"He traveled his own path," said John Pyke, retired Hanna general counsel. "He was self-motivated, an independent thinker, very disciplined and a very good businessman."

Thomas F. Zenty III, chief executive of University Hospitals, said, "George Humphrey and his family have done so much for this community in so many ways."

Humphrey, a fraternal twin, grew up on his family's Hunting Hill estate in Hunting Valley. His father and his namesake grandfather led Hanna Mining in Cleveland, and the grandfather was also U.S. treasury secretary under President Dwight Eisenhower. His mother, Louise Ireland Humphrey, was a leading fund-raiser and kin to U.S. Senator Marcus Hanna, the mining company's namesake. Her son was sometimes mistaken for the unrelated George Humphrey of Euclid Beach Popcorn fame.

He learned about charity in childhood, riding with his mother on horseback to collect for the Community Chest. He attended Hawken School, Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and Yale University. He captained Yale's football team, played center, and won the school's Mallory prize for representing "the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition."

He earned a law degree at the University of Michigan, served stateside with the Marines, and became a captain.

He spent many years with Hanna Mining, then a leader in iron and more. The business had roots in the 1840s, and Marcus Hanna turned it into M.A. Hanna & Co. in 1885.

From 1972 to 1976, Humphrey lived in London and represented Hanna Mining in Europe. Back home, he rose to company director and senior vice president for sales. He worked out long-term contracts to stock European steelmakers with iron.

In the early 1980s, a much-headlined struggle took place for control of Hanna. Humphrey left his job there in 1984. The company eventually stopped mining and became part of PolyOne in Avon Lake.

Humphrey became a local director of the Russell Reynolds executive recruitment business. He chaired Phillips Container Co. in Cleveland from 1987 to 1994. He was president of Extrudex, a plastics business in Painesville, from 1990 to 2006.

In philanthropy, Humphrey was vice chairman of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and of University Hospitals Health Systems from 1988 to 2004. In 1991, he led a $61 million capital campaign for UH. In 1999, he won the hospitals' highest philanthropic honor, the Samuel Mather Award. In 2006, he became UH's first lifetime director. That year, officials named a challenge grant and a chair for him at the UH Neurological Institute.

Humphrey chaired the Cleveland Scholarships Program, now College Now Greater Cleveland, and the Ten Plus Executive Committee of the local United Way, which succeeded Community Chest . He was a trustee of other nonprofits, including Case Western Reserve University, where he led a medical school campaign.

He golfed at Pepper Pike and Kirtland country clubs. He lived in Gates Mills for years and finally Bratenahl. He had an estate in Miccosukee, Fla., on Georgia's border, near several other prominent Clevelanders.

He also had a home in Dublin, Ireland. In 2000, he bought a pub there made famous by novelist James Joyce and restored its historic name, Kennedy's.

Humphrey liked country music and taught himself harmonica. During his 60th birthday party at the Union Club, he played along with Charlie McCoy.

Survivors: wife, the former Patience Ryan; daughters, Mary Humphrey of Virginia and Sandra Brinn of Pepper Pike; step-children, Ben Jerman of Ireland and Rebecca Hardiman of South Orange, N.J.; two grandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and a brother.

Memorial service: 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at St. Paul Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights.

Contributions: University Hospitals, Institutional Relations and Development, P.O. Box 74947, Cleveland, OH 44194-4947, or College Now Greater Cleveland, 50 Public Square, Suite 1800, Cleveland, OH 44113, collegenowgc.org/give.

Remembrance by Bill Manuel '64

November, 2012

Accurate terms to describe George have included moral force, quiet leadership, and similar. Add confidence in his ability — strongly disciplined — goal oriented. He did not push himself so much for perfection; he pushed for constant improvement. These traits were both readily evident and to the core. There was no separation between the public and private man, at least that I ever saw. George learned or decided early that family heritage means responsibility more than privilege. He was loyal to friends and institutions alike. He got the work done and then partied. He wanted to have fun and he wanted us all to have fun with him.

So my fondest memories cover a wide range. We shared the duty as soloists in Hawken's sixth grade Christmas pageant. He got to sing O Holy Night; I sang something obscure. We spent many afternoons together not riding horses but sometimes putting up fences at hunter-jumper events. He was quick with laughter and celebrated friendships enthusiastically.

Another favorite time was the summer before heading to Yale. His mother provided a Plymouth station wagon, worn but sturdy, for us to see The West. We began with a month working at the Hanna nickel mine in Riddle, OR. Remember: work first, then play. Then off to see Hoyt Wilson's family in Warm Springs, OR, followed by a swing through the west and many of the National Parks. I learned a lot of country and western lyrics, a new genre for me. My high point was the Grand Canyon, especially a day hike from the north rim to the Phantom Ranch, finishing by starlight. This was before anyone knew to carry water. For balance, George showed me the Sugar Bowl (a.k.a. Tulane stadium).

We had good years at Yale. Vietnam loomed, the battle for civil rights unfolded large. We preceded hippies and LSD; we missed free love and SDS (student power). We had lots of sports, both played and watched, e.g. the NY Giants with Tittle, Huff, and Gifford.

Our worlds grew apart after Yale. But Christy and I managed to share good times with the Humphrey family in Newport, London, and Cleveland. There were always Labrador retrievers.

In summary, knowing George has been a blessing and a pleasure. I wish his family and especially Sandy and Mary joy and satisfaction in their father's legacy.