George S. Scharfe


George S. Scharfe passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, on July 24 at his home in Manchester.  He had spent the weekend doing the things he loved most: competing on the golf course and enjoying a few Rolling Rocks surrounded by his friends and family. He was a larger-than-life presence in the lives of all who knew him, and all the communities of which he was a part will feel his absence acutely. 

George was born on April 18,1950 in Mineola, NY to Charles L. and Helen M. Scharfe.  A graduate of Babylon High School, where he played football and basketball, George graduated from Clarkson College of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management.  He would forever be an optimistic and enthusiast supporter of the Clarkson hockey team.  Upon graduation, George started his career in electrical engineering that would span over 50 years.  George accepted a position with the Comstock Group in New York as a project engineer, where he worked with his father and grandfather.  George quickly climbed the ranks at Comstock, earning the position of project manager and starting the Boston office that covered the entire New England region.  Eventually, George was named President of Comstock Group where he successfully executed an IPO of the Company.

After departing Comstock, George became a partner at the John A. Penney Company, taking on the role of President and Chief Financial Officer.  George was responsible for cultivating many of the partnerships that remain intact today.  With the help of his other partners, including his brother Alan, George grew John A. Penney to be one of the premier electrical engineering and contracting companies in Boston.

George loved to build things, not only his company and all the projects they did, but also lasting friendships, and, most importantly, a wonderful family.  George met his wife Coreen when they were in 8th grade.  After spending time sailing and dating by boat, George and Coreen were married on July 8, 1972.  They spent their early married years sailing, skiing, going to craft fairs and enjoying time together.  They hosted epic parties at the family’s farm and continued to race sailboats together and to make music.  Coreen would often sing as George strummed his guitar, a hobby he continued throughout his life.  They expanded their family, welcoming the birth of surprise twin daughters, Molly and Gretchen, in 1977 and another daughter, Kirsten, in 1981.  As their family grew, their children joined them in all of their activities and added some of their own, which suited George’s active lifestyle.

The most important things to George were his family, his friends and his faith.  George’s three girls were a source of great pride, and he often could be found on the sidelines of their field hockey or lacrosse games, cheering emphatically while smoking his trademark pipe (dismissing the No Smoking sign as a suggestion only).  No field was too far away as he even traveled to Australia to watch his youngest daughter earn a gold medal in the U19 World Cup Lacrosse Competition.  Years later, Opa, as he was now called, was equally thrilled to watch his granddaughters compete in anything, whether at a high school field hockey or lacrosse game at Governor’s Academy or a weekend town basketball game in Manchester. 

Sports and competition were always a part of George’s life.  He skied beautifully, played hockey at the club level into his 40s, never missed an opening day of hunting season, and fished frequently.  Still, most of his time was spent on the golf course or the water.  George served as Commodore of the Manchester Yacht Club and was a very successful sailor.  Competing most recently in the Crocker Race with his childhood friend, Peter Tarr, finishing 3rd in their class.  On the golf course, George won a number of tournaments at Essex County Club, including the 2009 Four Ball with his partner, Doc McGarr, and two Club Championships.  He also enjoyed competing at Isleworth Country Club and Bay Hill Club and Lodge both located in Orlando, Florida.  For over a decade, he played in the MA State Father-Daughter Tournament, partnering with each twin on alternating years, which proved to be a true test of skill and patience that his daughters will now remember fondly. 

George was a leader, not just in his work life or in competitions and races, which he often won, but also in the way he gave back to the community through his volunteer work. “Scharfes build churches and schools,” he would say to his girls.  George contributed his time to the Manchester School Building Committee, served as a trustee at Governor’s Academy, and volunteered on the Building and Grounds committee at the Glen Urquhart School, where is eldest daughter is Head of School. George was also very involved in and dedicated to fundraising at Beverly Hospital. Perhaps most significantly, George participated actively in his church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lanesville, where he was a devoted parishioner for close to 50 years.

George is survived by his wife, Coreen Wallace Scharfe, and daughters Gretchen Forsyth, Molly Prinn, and Kirsten Richardson. He also leaves three sons-in-law that he was proud to have “chosen” for his daughters and treated as the sons he never had, Steve Prinn, Kirk Forsyth, and Jesse Richardson.  George was adored by five granddaughters, Katherine, Emily, Anne, Elizabeth, and Charlotte, and one special grandson, Benjamin. He is survived by his sister, Marie Jerge, and her husband, James, and by his brother, Alan, and his wife, Leigh, as well as their children, Christopher, Rebekah, and Henry.  George is predeceased by a number of golden retrievers, each of which he falsely claimed to be “well-trained.”  He will be sorely missed by his family of friends he created at the Manchester Yacht Club, Essex County Club, and Cala’s in Manchester.

A celebration of George’s life will be held at the Essex County Club in Manchester, MA on August 7th at 11:00 am.  Parking at the club is extremely limited and will be reserved for members and family.  Additional parking is available at the Manchester Essex Regional High School, and shuttle service will be available from the Manchester Athletic Club and Crocker’s Boat Yard.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Memory of George S. Scharfe to Beverly Hospital or St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. 

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