In memory of

James George

September 14, 1918 -  February 7, 2020

Jim George has passed away, in Toronto late on Friday February 7, 2020, at the age of 101. It was in peace, with presence of his closest family. Now he is free. Many thanks for the truly impressive care and kindness given him by the staff of Sunnybrook Veterans’ Centre.

Jim, son of Dr Ruggles George and Helen Heaton, was predeceased by his first wife Carol Parfitt George, his son Graham George, and grandsons Carlo Wertenbaker and Michael George.

He is deeply missed by his wife Barbara Wright George, his children Daniel George (Karen) and Dolphi George Wertenbaker (Christian); his daughter-in-law Michele Collison George; grandchildren Simon and Dylan (Jodi) George, Damera George, and Elena Wertenbaker; great-grandchildren River and Isle, and cousins Frances Grant and Gwynneth Heaton.

Jim’s remarkably full and rich life spanned a century and the world. He was respected by many for what he did, and loved for who he was. He was educated at Upper Canada College, and Trinity College of the University of Toronto (philosophy), and was a Rhodes Scholar. A strong pacifist, and President of the Student Christian Movement, he was led by the disasters of 1940 to enlist in the Navy, surviving a torpedoing and rising to Lt-Commander and naval historian. In 1945 he entered Canada’s Foreign Service to work for peace, with postings to Greece, United Nations, NATO and France, and ambassadorial postings to Sri Lanka; India & Nepal; and Iran & Kuwait.

He had a lifelong interest in and practice of the teachings of GI Gurdjieff, respected, sought out and learned from spiritual traditions in all his postings, and worked with groups in Canada, Europe and USA. After retiring in 1977, he co-founded and headed the Sadat Peace Foundation and the Threshold Foundation. His environmental work included key roles in the whaling moratorium (1980), stopping the Kuwait oil fires (1991), and the No Weapons in Space initiative.

Jim has written several articles and three books: Asking for the Earth (1995), The Little Green Book on Awakening (2009), and Last Call (2016). In them he gives a synthesis of his life’s work: that the way to real peace is through the awakening of Humanity and respect for Life on Earth. Trinity College recognized his work with an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Letters (2007).

The Memorial service for Jim was to be held at Trinity College Chapel in Toronto, at 2 pm on Friday March 27, 2020, followed by a reception. However due to the high risk of transmission of the Coronavirus-Covid19 in large gatherings, the family has decided to hold the Memorial and reception at a later date which will be determined by public health guidelines and posted on this site.
A private visitation and remembering took place three days after his passing, as he wished, with family and a few friends at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

If you wish, instead of flowers, a donation in Jim’s memory to one of his favourite causes below, or to a charity of your choice would be welcome:
Seven Arts Study Centre: 455 Danforth Ave #119, Toronto M4K1P1 or at
Nature Conservancy Canada
Friends of the Earth Canada


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James and Jennifer Heller (Friends)

Entered February 28, 2020 from Toronto

First and foremost, Jim was a spiritual seeker. He worked tirelessly to further the teachings of GI Gurdjieff and the lineage holders of Tibetan Buddhism, principally HH The Dalai Lama. He recognized the indispensable need for humanity to awaken and did his best to bring truth and compassion to all his endeavours, particularly on behalf of the environment. The world was a better place because of Jim.

Richard D Burns (4th Way)

Entered February 28, 2020 from South Surrey

An extraordinary and timeless being. Who met other remarkable beings traveling deep into the 4th Way. Understood the permanent I.

Frances Grant (First Cousin)

Entered February 29, 2020 from Toronto

When I was about six or seven years old, I was introduced to my very handsome cousin, Jim George. He had come to visit my family and gave me a gift. It was a darling, yellow and white, china cat cream jug. This became one of my treasured possessions and started my life long feeling of deep affection for this very special person in my life. Getting to know Jim better was a gradual process as we were not in contact very often. I was intrigued by his career as a naval officer and later as a diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service. I always thought of him with great interest and respect. After Jim returned to live in Toronto I got to know him better. His interest in the eastern religions fascinated me, and sparked my interest in Buddhism. Although I was mystified by his involvement in the work of the Russian philosopher, Gurdjieff, I continue to try to understand it. Jim and I have had a few discussions about man's spiritual nature and talked about our own spiritual experiences. He helped me realize how real and special these experiences are. He was a brilliant and very gentle man. He cared deeply for the state of our planet Earth. He tried, through both his actions and writing, to urge his readers to wake up to the climate emergency we are in and to actively do something about it in order to help preserve human life. Jim will be missed by all who knew him. My sincere condolences go out to his wife, Barbara, and to his family.

Maureen FitzGerald (Sister of his daughter-in-law Karen George)

Entered March 2, 2020

I met this impressive statesman when he was ambassador to India and I was travelling there with my sister Karen who was a CUSO volunteer at the time.

william balfe (friend)

Entered March 3, 2020 from north bay

God bless you Jim!


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