March 14, 1926 ~ September 16, 2011
Chief George Pierre
March 14, 1926 – September 16, 2011
It is with great sorrow to announce the passing of Chief George Pierre of the Colville Indian Reservation, Washington State. George passed away at 7:57 on the evening of September 16, 2011, in Redondo Beach, California, where he resided for nearly 30 years. Family and friends were by his side at the time.
George was born in Chesaw, Washington, as son to Chief Edward Pierre, an Okanagan Chief, and Mary Theresa Pierre, a medicine woman. He had five siblings; four brothers William Pierre, Abraham Pierre, John Pierre and Edward Pierre and his sister Ellen Moses who survives him. George quit school in the eighth grade to help on the family ranch after his father went temporarily blind. At the age of 16, he volunteered and enlisted in the US Marine Corp at the onset of the Pacific War during WWII. After active combat duty, George returned to Orville, Washington, then later graduated in one year from Broadway High School, Seattle.
George was a proud WWII veteran and the recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds received in action at the Battle of Tarawa as a Private First Class. He was among the early units of the US forces that landed ashore the South Pacific Island. While serving as Company Runner for the L/3/2 Command (2nd Marine Regiment – 3rd Battalion), George received an enemy sniper bullet to the left side of the head and a bayonet through the arm on November 20, 1943. This impaired the motor area of his brain, leaving the right side of his body partially paralyzed. George lay on the battlefield for a long time before someone finally noticed he was still alive. He was taken to the hospital ship, endured a long recovery, and to his disappointment never returned to active combat duty. George was honorably discharged from the Marine Corp in May 1944. His motto was "Semper Fidelis", Always Faithful, and he remained patriotic and devoted to his country throughout his lifetime.
George was an inspiration to all who knew him. Despite his physical disability, he excelled as an author, politician, businessman, and television and movie screenplay writer. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts in Political Science from Loyola University in 1950, an Associate in Arts in Social Sciences from Chaffey College in 1951, a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California in 1954, and was a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the University of Washington thereafter. On September 16, 1982, George was conferred the degree of Juris Doctor from the American College of Law.
While at Loyola University, California State politics interested George and he organized the Loyola Democratic Club. This interest intensified after graduation and in 1952 he was approached to run for the State Assembly. In 1954, during the California Lieutenant Governor campaign, George was Assistant Campaign Manager, Director of Public Relations, and published the campaign newsletter. In 1955, George was nominated to the Judgeship of Colville Court in Washington State. In 1960, he was a candidate for the US Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1963, George was the installed Chief of the Colville Confederated Tribes after his father's death. In 1964, George was elected and served one term in the House of Representatives for Washington State.
As a businessman in the 1960's, George organized the "All American Indian Week" at the Los Angeles fairgrounds, an annual powwow and Indian arts and crafts market. During the 1970's, he owned and operated the "Chief George Pierre Trading Post" at Del Amo Mall in Torrance, California.
As an author, George published American Indian Crisis in 1971 and Autumn's Bounty in 1972. In television, he was a screenplay writer for the children's drama series "Daktari" that aired on CBS between 1966 and 1969. In 1982, he received an honorary Charter Membership from the Cinema--Television Alumni Association by the University of Southern California. As a writer for movies, George completed several screenplays, namely: Autumn's Bounty, To Bear False Witness, The Good Samaritan, The Sins of Venus, Sandpoint, and The Last Indian War.
Furthermore, George was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marine Corp League, the American Legion, the Adventurer's Club of Los Angeles, and the Writers Guild of America.
George overcame formidable physical challenges and led his life by way of example. As his legacy, he developed the "Chief George Pierre, Colville Confederated Tribes Charitable Trust" intended for charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes related to the higher education of Colville Tribes' youth. Always a gentleman, always a smile and always a friend, he will be sincerely missed. God bless your soul, George, and may you rest in peace.
In honor of George, a memorial service is planned for 12 noon on Saturday, October 1, 2011, at 124 Sapphire St, Redondo Beach, CA. A formal ceremony will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in November TBA. Please contact his niece, Tracey Pierre, for further information at 206--724--8879. No flowers please.
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