George Vernon (“G.V.”) Singleton, 90 of Zanesville died at 4:43 PM Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the Genesis Healthcare following a brief illness. He was born March 24, 1927 in Trinway Ohio the son of George Thurman Singleton and Iva Clay (Smedley) Singleton. He grew up on Wayne Avenue in Zanesville, and attended Pioneer Elementary School and Lash High School.
He began his employment career on Wayne Avenue mowing grass “for a candy bar and a bottle of pop,” and throughout his life he applied his strong work ethic to a variety of jobs, including working on his uncle’s farm, assembling Chance-Vought F4U Corsair fighter planes in the Goodyear blimp hanger in early World War II, dishwasher at his father’s restaurant, survey rodman during construction of the Zanesville Municipal Airport, brakeman with the B&O railroad, bartending at Steak n Stein, and finally as a loyal 34-year employee of Armco Steel in Zanesville.
In 1944, George joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17 to “fight those bastards that bombed Pearl Harbor.” He underwent basic training at Parris Island, SC and Camp Pendleton, CA, shipping out to join the Sixth Marine Division first to Guam then as a part of Operation Olympic, the planned invasion of the Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu. The dropping of the atomic bomb caused his division to be diverted to Tsingtao, China where the “Striking Sixth” not only accepted the surrender of local Japanese forces but also prevented the communist forces from advancing on the city. G.V. always stated that his experiences in the service had a profound impact on his life, and he was a proud Marine to the very end. Semper Fi.
G.V. was a man of many talents - master gardener, acclaimed winemaker, and community activist. At his garden along the Muskingum River in Morgan County, he produced incredible quantities of peas, onions, lima beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, and squash, which he shared with family, friends, charities including Christ’s Table, and strangers who would stop to seek gardening and other advice. He was true to his family name, as “Singleton” derives from an Old English word meaning “farm in the burnt clearing.”
He made wine in the traditional manner in his home basement from a variety wild and domesticated fruits, stomping the fruit (this task was usually performed by his eldest daughter), adding yeast and sugar, fermenting the must in stone crocks, and aging it in wooden casks. (Taste testing was usually performed by his youngest daughter, sometimes before going to school.) The fruits of his vintner prowess were highly sought after at Christmas time, and his blackberry wine in particular was believed to possess many medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties.
G.V. was also involved in local politics as mayor of Durant, OH (usually running unopposed) and President of the local chapter of the Manure Movers of America. As a community activist he led a successful petition drive to pave the southernmost portion of the Old River Road, saving scores of travelers from the scourge of potholes.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Patricia Ann (Holmes) Singleton who stuck by him in thick and thin, including when he gave her the family’s first color T.V. set - a black and white Zenith model that he painted pink with leftover nursery paint. He is also survived by daughters Sheryl (Glenn) Ferris of Clearwater, FL and Shannon (Bill) Dickens of Romeo, MI, son George William (Bill) (Debbie) Singleton of Germantown, TN., and niece Staci Sigrist of Spartanburg, SC. Although he had no college education, George was most proud of the six college degrees earned by his three children. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Katie Ferris, Michael Ferris, Kaitlyn Singleton, Connor Singleton, Rachel Dickens and Sean Dickens, all of whom inherited his strong work ethic and wicked sense of humor.
He was preceded in death not only by his parents, but also his brother Jack and stepsister Mary E. (Betty) Sigrist. The family will have a Celebration of Life service on March 24 at his beloved cottage to include full Military Honors, planting of peas and onions in the garden, consumption of food and alcohol, and sharing of stories of George’s full life.
The Bryan & Hardwick Funeral Home, 2318 Maple Ave. Zanesville is in charge of the arrangements. To share memories and condolences with George’s family please click on the Guest Book link on this page. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Salvation Army. (G.V. stopped giving to the Red Cross in World War II because their nurses would only dance with officers, and he was only a Private First Class).