REEDVILLE—George William Frayne III, longtime resident of Reedville, artist, film maker, graphic designer, watercolorist, model maker, museum curator and director, World War II bomber pilot, model train enthusiast, writer, University of Michigan fan and loving husband and father, passed away December 9, 2017, just two weeks shy of his 96th birthday.
George was born December 23, 1921, in Yonkers, N.Y. He was an altar boy in Grace Church in New York City and graduated from Jamaica High School in 1940. He attended the Pratt Institute of Art where he met Katherine Jones, his future wife. George enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. He became a B-24 bomber pilot and served in North Africa and Italy.
After the war George realized he could support his young family by working as a graphic artist, thus began his life-long, never-ending career as a multifaceted artist.
George and Katherine formed Frayne Associates in Brightwaters, N.Y. For over 35 years they worked together on all manner of projects, including commercial art, promotional materials and films. Among their most rewarding projects were those for the United Nations. That work took them around the world and endorsed their shared belief that the world could be a better place.
George and Katherine were avid boaters and members of the Bay Shore Yacht Club in New York. Love of the water is reflected in George’s artwork. He was a prolific watercolorist and his subjects always included boats and seascapes. His forte, however, was his drawing. He was a virtuoso draftsman and could render anything. He developed his own whimsical, signature cartoon format. His creativity was abundantly clear at his one man show this November at the Northumberland Public Library in Heathsville.
Once “retired,” George devoted his attention to museums—always by the water—first at the Long Island Maritime Museum. When he and Katherine moved to Reedville in 1994, George volunteered to help at the then new Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. With his knowledge and experience George was able to take a fledgling start up and turn it into one of the gems of the Chesapeake. He created the museum’s exhibits, was instrumental in establishing the popular Northern Neck Railroad and organized the operating committees. George worked as the museum director voluntarily until the museum could afford to hire someone else. George was committed to the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum for over 23 years and was aptly bestowed the title director emeritus.
George also participated in the upstart of the Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern Foundation in Heathsville, as well as the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington. He was never without a project or 10. In recent years, love of the Chesapeake and American history inspired George to write numerous articles for local publications.
In addition to his “itchy hand,” as he referred to it, he was a copious reader and passionate sports fan. But most importantly, his life’s work resulted in countless friendships, which he treasured most dearly. We will all miss his obstinance, his wit, the banter and debates, and inexhaustible enthusiasm.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine; his son, Christopher; and his sister, Janet Sercombe.
He is survived by his son, George W. Frayne IV and his wife, Susan; his daughter-in-law, Sandra Green; nieces, Patricia Allen, Jennifer Bell, Wendy Sercombe and Kathy Peterson; and nephews Steve Arnold and Chip Sercombe.