Note: The following letter appeared in the May 13, 1999, issue of The News-Item following the death of George McFee. The author resubmitted it in recognition of this year’s 50th anniversary of WKMC-TV.
To the editor: We called him Boss — which was really funny, I guess, because he wasn’t anybody’s “boss.” I think maybe this was not so much because he looked down on us with discipline and authority, but because we looked up to him with respect and admiration.
We celebrated George McFee’s life at a memorial service at the First United Methodist Church in Mount Carmel on Wednesday, May 5, 1999. Repeated many times during the service was the fact that George had a tough time saying “No” — if he even knew the word at all. As a result of this sterling virtue, any student with a creative interest was most welcome in Boss’s world.
Throughout the many years I’ve known him, I never recall beginning a project by hearing him say, “I only need eight students, or nine, or 10.” Instead, if you needed a place, Boss found you a place. Then he went on to move you around in the place until he uncovered your strengths. And THEN he went on to nurture those strengths. Ah, a mentor’s work is never done.
George McFee gave me the help and encouragement I needed to continue my art education at his alma mater, Kutztown State College (KSC). He seemed to think I would thrive at KSC. Apprehensively, I tried it. Successfully, I did it.
Throughout his many years at Mount Carmel Area, Boss told a lot of kids that they could do a lot of things. They tried and they did it, too ... and not one has forgotten the person who planted the seed — the teacher who, with no time to spare, gave us all the time he had. We who were fortunate enough to cross paths with George McFee will continue to reap the benefits of this relationship all the days of our lives. There will always be a special “connection” among the people who make up several decades of Boss’s “crew.”
I trust that in the years ahead, many of his unfinished plans and dreams will be realized through those he instructed in the school and in the community he loved so very much.
Although George no longer walks among us, he continues to live inside those whose lives he has touched along the way. Lucky for us he left behind, through his example, the values he cherished and so generously shared. God has blessed George McFee and he, in turn, has blessed us all. His legacy is the wealth of his optimism, his creativity, humility, ambition and inspiration — and it’s best that we listen and take heed because, after all ... he is the Boss.
George Ann Novak-Katchick
Mount Carmel Area Class of 1972