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George Gilbert Musgrove

George Gilbert Musgrove, of 1426 Cole Avenue Rock Hill, South Carolina, passed away at his home on March 28, 2020.  He was seventy-five years old.

George was born January 27, 1945 in Mansfield, Nottingham, England to Mavis Musgrove, nee Wilcockson, and George William Musgrove.  The two met and married while George W. was stationed there with the U.S. Army during WWII.

Raised in New Haven, Connecticut, George graduated from West Haven High School with honors, earned his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from Yale University, and his Ed.D. with a specialization in Administration and Political Systems in Urban Education from the University of Massachusetts. Along the way, his anti-war and Black Power activism earned him a 90 page FBI dossier and a cache of entertaining stories.

George made his career in city government, leading agencies through times of crisis or reorganization.  After a stint in the New Haven Human Resources Administration, he traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to helm the Department of Social Services during the socially turbulent crack epidemic.  In Norfolk, Virginia, he was tasked with reforming a Department of Human Services shaken by years of leadership instability and rank and file discontent.  In Oakland, California he left his position as Assistant City Manager to create a blueprint for turning around the city’s troubled public schools.  A hard-charging reformer, he likened his approach to a “fever”: “…to improve service, to make the system work, to change, to take risks… My impatience is when people have not caught that fever.”

George brought this same intensity to his personal pursuits. From high school well into his forties, he was a bruising basketball player, using determination and hustle to maximize his 6’1”, 200-pound frame.  Said one old friend of George’s game, “he was never shy about throwing his elbows around.”  An avid collector – and lover of a good deal – George prowled the swap meets, flea markets, and antique shops of every town he called home.  He packed his house with African art for decades before pivoting to hand-knotted rugs and East Asian sculpture.

But he could relax too.  George spent his free time wrestling with his children, reading sci-fi novels, or watching (absolutely horrible) B movies.  A talented cook, he made sumptuous pots of gumbo, racks of ribs, leg of lamb, and kept his guests rapt with his masterful storytelling skills and wicked sense of humor.

In the early 2000s, he retired and relocated to his wife’s hometown of Rock Hill. There he evolved into an avid gardener and landscaper, planting scores of palmettoes, expanding his vegetable garden, even building a rock “pier” into the lake behind his home.

George is survived by his wife Barbara Jean Musgrove and their son Craig Musgrove of Rock Hill, and his children Taura Musgrove and George Derek Musgrove (Michelle), of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. respectively, from his first marriage to Margaret Musgrove.  Predeceased by his parents, he is survived by his sister Althea Vivian Norcott (Flemming) of New Haven, his aunt, Adeline Grant of Los Angeles, California, his uncle Eric Wilcockson of Mansfield, and many nieces and nephews, cousins, in-laws, and friends. These last nine years, George was “Pop Pop” to his grandsons George Walker Musgrove and John Freeman Musgrove, who drew him to the nation’s capital just about every other month.

For the past decade George spent much of his free time working on behalf of his fellow members of the Serenity Club of York County. “The Club” became his home away from home; its members, his family.

Schedule of Services:

Services was held at the Robinson Funeral Home, 534 Hampton St., Rock Hill, SC 29730, on Friday, April 3 at 11am.

To share your feelings or pictures of George please post to his Facebook page.

Memorials

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that mourners donate to the Serenity Club of York County, or The Poor Peoples Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival.  George served as a volunteer for the first Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, and the new incarnation of the campaign was the subject of his last Facebook post.