On July 17, 2023 family and friends gathered at the Gananoque Golf and Country Club to celebrate the life of George Newton Hood, who died in Kingston, ON, on June 30, 2023, at the age of 67. George grew up in Milton, ON, and spent every summer on the St Lawrence River, with his Hood/Horlick cousins, at the Hood family cottage on the Gananoque Golf Club front.
As a kid, George explored the River by oar, paddle, sail, and in the family’s cedar strip boat with an 18hp outboard motor, going anywhere on the River that a tank of gas would take him. His last and favourite boat was his beloved Lyman. George looked forward to being on the River in any season. He made lifelong friends with his summer gang along the Golf Club front and with many islanders in the Admiralty Group.
George was a graduate of Queen’s University (Arts’78, MPA’81) and The University of Western Ontario (MA’82).
George’s MA thesis from Western, entitled: "The Federal Government and Land Expropriation: a Case Study of Pressure Group Politics in the Thousand Islands Area 1982", provides an overview of an era, perhaps forgotten by many, but which at the time was extremely important to all Canadian island owners.
The thesis reviews the success of the Thousand Islands Area Residents’ Association (TIARA) in opposing an attempt by the Canadian federal government to expropriate land for an expansion of the St. Lawrence Island National Park in 1975-76.
George concluded that “The Thousand Islands Area Residents’ Association was able to utilize a complex lobbying strategy, heretofore reserved for institutionalized interest groups. This was because of the group’s considerable human and financial resources, as well as a result of the nature of the federal expropriation power especially where national parks are concerned.”
Susan Smith, Editor of TI Life, explained that without TIARA’s success, the Canadian islands had been destined to be turned into a wilderness park. She praised George Hood’s work saying, “It was the first record of how and why this period of local history is so important. George conducted personal interviews and reviewed government documents, as well as compiling relevant literature and newspapers as secondary research. All combined to give historians valuable information.”
Following graduation, George worked in government in Saskatchewan (Finance; Intergovernmental Affairs; VP, Souris Basin Development Authority), before moving back to Kingston and the Islands. Soon after, he began his university leadership.
George served as an Associate VP Research at Queen’s and then as Vice-Principal Advancement (1998-2006). It was during this period as well that he provided a legacy that touches the local area, for he led the university’s biggest capital campaign, the Campaign for Queen’s, which raised $262 million in support of infrastructure renewal and expansion. He also led the Queen's SuperBuild Growth Fund effort, whereby the University secured $52 million in provincial government funding.
George was community minded and applied his skills and experience in various endeavours, which included: helping a variety of political candidates in municipal, provincial, and federal elections; serving on the board of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation; assisting with fundraising for many Kingston area community projects; and helping individuals in their careers in any way that he could.
However, his family will remember that George loved the St Lawrence River first and foremost: “Cold and fresh in the spring with the breaking ice tinkling like crystal chimes; grey, angry, and turbulent in the violent thunderstorms of summer; reflective and almost somnolent in the fall with the silence broken occasionally by the crack of a duck hunter’s gun; and white and frozen and still in the winter.” [Ruth Hood Horlick]
And that is where George asked that his ashes be spread. He is survived by his wife Debbie, daughter Mallory and her husband Rob Lakin, and son Cole and his wife Kelsey Hood. And, like so many special islanders who in their lifetime have given so much to so many, he will be remembered.
By Jonathan Horlick, Oak Bay, BC
Jonathan Horlick is George Hood’s cousin. He and his other cousins, Andrew, Allan, and Simon Horlick spent part of every July with George at the Hood family cottage near Gananoque.
Editor’s Note: My connection with George Hood includes my appreciation of his Master’s Thesis, a copy of which George graciously gave me for my research library, and it has been reviewed many times over the years. In addition, he was my “boss” when I was at Queen's. In that capacity, he was my favourite individual so many times, over my seven years, and of course, at other times . . . he was my boss! To this day, both sets of memories bring a smile to my face.
Please click here if you are unable to post your comment.