January 28, 1927 – January 24, 2021
George Edward Metz passed away in his home at Inland Point in North Bend January 24, 2021, four days before what would have been his 94th birthday.
George was born in Farmington, New Mexico on January 28, 1927, son of Edward “Frank” Comanche Metz, born 1888, and Lillie Louisa Kitchens-Ariola, born 1889. He grew up in the cattle country of the Rocky Mountains in the small town of Yampa, Colorado. He served his country in WW-II as a signalman on a Navy aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. Following his service he went on adventures in the Yukon Territories and then settled in Anchorage, Alaska, where he established the first neon sign company north of Seattle.
Alaska is where he met his wife, Geraldine Elizabeth Corbett, shortly before relocating to Orange County in Southern California, where he established The Metz Company neon sign contractors in Santa Ana and constructed the first building in the Irvine Industrial Complex. He was responsible for designing and building the iconic rotating Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets that graced that chain's locations in the early years, among many other classic 'Mad Men' era neon signs in the LA area.
Tiring of the 'Rat Race' in Los Angeles as he called it, he purchased a cattle ranch in Glade Park, Colorado, and relocated the family in 1969. For seven years he endeavored to earn a livelihood in the traditions of the Old West, in the process learning how hard the cattle business is for relatively meager financial rewards. He returned to developing real estate in the Grand Valley and in 1976 converted a Greyhound bus into an RV and spent the bicentennial year on the road with his wife and son Mark touring the US, Mexico, and Canada.
Returning to Grand Junction he remodeled a home in the rural Redlands neighborhood and operated a retail Western Wear store for several years during which he amassed a sizable collection of cowboy boots and hats. Once Mark was off to college in Boulder they downsized to a smaller home where they lived until they left Grand Junction.
George always loved the Southern Oregon coast, having spent a summer in Bandon as a child with his mother and siblings in a house overlooking the harbor. In 1990 he purchased a building site on the dunes overlooking Devil's Kitchen beach where he built a home of his own design. They resided there in Bandon peacefully watching the waves until making the big decision to downsize in 2010 which unfortunately coincided with a decline in Geraldine's health. Upon her passing in 2011 he let go of the property and settled into a cottage at Inland Point in North Bend where he lived quietly with his dog Duke.
George was a talented artist and collector, leaving behind a remarkable collection of oil paintings and Remington sculptures. He was also an architect, glassblower, avid reader, and devoted family man. He generously supported the Providence Children's Hospital in Portland as well as making significant contributions to the Bandon Public Library and the Coos Bay Animal Shelter. Independent, intelligent, and articulate to the end, he will be sorely missed.
George is survived by his two sons, Mark, age 58, of San Pablo, California, and Randel, age 65, of Chiang Mai, Thailand. He was the grandfather of Mark's two daughters, Geneva, age 13, and Isabelle, age 31, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. George was the youngest of six siblings, all deceased. His half-brothers and sisters were Beatrice, Clyde, and Arthur, and he had two full sisters, Dorothy and Margaret.
Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131. Friends and family are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com