On Sept. 15, family members, friends, colleagues, and local community members gathered at the Port Townsend Elks Club to remember the long and full life of George Huntingford Sr., a local legend in …
On Sept. 15, family members, friends, colleagues, and local community members gathered at the Port Townsend Elks Club to remember the long and full life of George Huntingford Sr., a local legend in the Chimacum valley and the longest serving commissioner in the history of Jefferson County.
George ran for Jefferson County Commissioner in the second district in 1946. Elected at the age of 28, he was the youngest commissioner in the state. According to his son, Dan Huntingford, George Sr. believed in door-to-door campaigning, and loved to talk to people.
“He had a few pithy sayings, one being: ‘You can learn something from anyone, if you just take a moment to talk to them,'” said Dan Huntingford. “And indeed he just loved to talk to people. It didn’t matter if you were the waitress serving lunch or the president, he’d talk to everyone just the same.”
Among his accomplishments during his years serving the county, George Sr. was proud of helping build the bridge to Marrowstone Island and having a road built to Kala Point, which opened the area up for development.
George Sr. also served as president of the Washington State Association of County Commissioners in 1964. Dan Huntingford recalled a time when George Sr. was invited to the association's national convention in Washington D.C.
“Instead of flying back, we drove back in our Oldsmobile Sedan with four of the six kids, so we had a car full,” Dan Huntingford said. “That was quite a trip, driving across the country like that.”
While Dan Huntingford remembered getting to meet President and Ladybird Johnson on that trip to D.C., he also recalled that having a county commissioner for a father meant that dinnertime often got interrupted by work.
“The phone rang a lot,” Dan Huntingford said. “It was pretty regular that we’d sit down for dinner and dad would go off to talk on the phone. But he always loved to talk to people so I don’t think he considered that an imposition.”
As for his constituents, members of the community in Chimacum knew they could count on George Sr. to always hear them out.
“He was a really selfless person,” said Gail McNealy, who lived next to George Sr. and his wife, Sally, for many years on the Egg And I Road in Chimacum. “He wasn’t egocentric at all. He lived it instead of talked it.”
According to McNealy, George Sr. would stop by their house to “make sure everything was on the up and up.”
George Sr. served as a county commissioner for 22 years, completing his last term in 1972. But even after he stopped serving as a county commissioner, George Sr. was in the business of helping people.
“That was just his nature, to help people. To be a servant to people, all his life,” Dan Huntingford said. “Even after he was out of office, he was an auctioneer. He did auctions for the Rotary and the East Jefferson Rotary … And I know he did auctions for Kiwanis club and Chimacum High School as well.”
A third generation Chimacum resident, George Sr. was always proud of his roots, according to Dan Huntingford. His favorite part about Chimacum was always the people, and he always made sure everyone from the community felt welcome.
“He was always really proud of being from Chimacum,” Dan Huntingford said. “Anything dad was involved with, everyone was welcome. ‘The more the merrier’ he always said.’”
George Sr. died at Port Townsend on Aug. 18, 2018. He was 101 years old.