He is survived by a daughter, Jane Townes; a son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Natalie Townes; grandsons Ben Townes, Travis Townes, Jeffrey Townes; grandsons and granddaughters-in-law Daniel and Megan Townes, Andy and Becca Townes; and great grandson Sully Townes.
George was born in Saint Louis, Missouri to the late D. L. and Gladys Hutchison Townes. In 1933, they moved to Shelbyville where George and his dad established the predecessor of Shelbyville Pencil Company. Except years when he was on active military duty, George was an officer and manager of the company serving as president after his dad's retirement. He and his late brother Paul L. Townes developed a national market for Shelbyville Pencil Company. Even after his retirement, George was always interested in the company and the community of people connected to it. At the time of his death he held the title of President Emeritus.
Before Pearl Harbor, George was a non-commissioned officer in the Tennessee National Guard and a member of the field artillery unit based in Shelbyville. After the unit was activated at the beginning of World War II, he attended Officer Candidate School and accepted a commission in the U.S. Army. Serving as a field artillery officer in Europe, he rose to the rank of Captain and received a Bronze Star "in connection with action against the enemy in Germany." The citation stated that he "was subjected to artillery and mortar fire, but continued to supervise the laying of necessary [communication] lines....[His] aggressive leadership was invaluable to the efficiency of the battalion in the breaching of the Siegfried Line, the crossing of the Roer River, the rapid advance to the Rhine River and the support of the Remagen bridgehead." When George was honorably discharged from the Army at the end of World War II, he reenlisted in the Tennessee National Guard but soon transferred to the Tennessee Air National Guard. During the Korean Conflict, he was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. When his unit was deactivated, he continued in the Air Guard serving as senior officer on airlifts of materiel to Europe in the Vietnam era. In 1974, George retired with over 30 years of military service and the rank of Colonel.
George was civically active in Shelbyville. As a member of the Jaycees he also ran for national office. He was a member of the Shelbyville Rotary Club, project leader for construction of Shelbyville's first public swimming pool, and participant in planning construction of Bedford County General Hospital, and the city's flood control and urban renewal projects of the 1950s and early 1960s.
In recent months, George became an interested supporter of the Bedford County Imagination Library that provides free age-appropriate books by mail every month to every registered child in the county up to their fifth birthdays. Because of George's interest in this program, the family encourages friends' gifts in lieu of flowers to the Bedford County Imagination Library in care of Argie Cooper Public Library.
The funeral service will be Wednesday, September 12, 1 p.m., at Doak-Howell Funeral Home with Stephen Caine officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Shelbyville. Visitation will be Tuesday, September 11 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.