Community activist J. Paul George dies Former prizefighter played prominent role in Hayward politics, commerce for 50 years By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER
For more than five decades, J. Paul George was the crusty voice of business and commerce in Hayward, proud of pointing out political shilly-shallying that he claimed discouraged investments and misused taxpayers' money.
People paid attention to George, a pugnacious ex-prizefighter who managed three Hayward shopping centers, was a Hayward school district trustee in the 1960s and 1970s, and was honored as Hayward Lions Club Distinguished Citizen of 1973.
He died Saturday, Jan. 1, 2005, of pneumonia in Sonora, where he had moved from his longtime home in the Fairway Park neighborhood of south Hayward. He had turned 90 on Dec. 29. "Dad was able to have cake on his birthday, but then he just went to sleep on Saturday," said Kelley George of Twain Harte, one of George's two surviving sons.
The quiet end was in contrast to George's busy career of personal and professional achievements which started when George, a Washington state native who won national collegiate and Golden Gloves championships, came to Hayward in 1956 after careers as a police officer, loan company manager, shipyard supervisor, car dealer and importer.
In Hayward he teamed up with developer Oliver Rousseau, who built, among other things, the Fairway Park and Southgate shopping centers. He managed both before going to the Southland shopping center, which he managed from 1967 to 1980. In "retirement," George worked six days a week as a real estate broker until suffering a stroke 18 months ago.
George belonged to numerous civic organizations and championed the proposed Foothill Freeway as a 1992 Hayward City Council candidate, one of the few campaigns he lost dur-ing a half-century of civic activities in which his forceful personality and persuasive manner helped make him a success.
George was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Phyllis, and three sons. In addition to his son Kelley, he is survived by another son, Mike Liddiard of Stockton; a brother, William George of Hayward; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
Services have not been announced. Donations to Children's Hospital Foundation, 747 52nd St., Oakland, 94609, are preferred.
Call Karen Holzmeister at (510) 293-2478 or e-mail kholzmeister