J. Don George (“Pastor George”) was born on January 10, 1937, in Brownfield, Texas, the son of Assemblies of God ministers, Roy F. George and Jimalee Scott George. Pastor George was married to Gwen Rogers on June 11, 1957, in Abilene, Texas. He died on October 15, 2020 in Irving, Texas.
Pastor George entered full-time Christian ministry in 1955, traveling and preaching Gospel Crusades in churches across America, 1955-1960. He was ordained as a Minister with the Assemblies of God in 1960. From 1960-1972, he served as Senior Pastor of Assemblies of God churches in Plainview, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
During the decade of the ‘60s, Pastor George served as Senior Pastor of the First Assembly of God in Plainview, Texas. During the “Plainview Years,” he and his young wife, Gwen, rejoiced in the birth of their two lovely daughters, Valerie and Vanessa. Sadly, Vanessa died at age seven, following a massive cerebral hemorrhage in her second-grade school classroom.
In 1972, Pastor George became Senior Pastor of Calvary Church in Irving, Texas, and served continuously in that position for more than 45 years. On January 1, 2018, he transitioned into the role of Pastor Emeritus of Calvary Church and served in that position until his death.
Pastor George graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. He did additional studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and the University of Texas at Arlington. He was awarded the Doctor of Divinity Degree by Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1994.
Pastor George led Calvary Church in Irving, Texas, from being a small neighborhood church of fewer than 100 people, to become a large mega-church of more than 10,000 active members during his 45 years of service as Senior Pastor. He gave leadership to three multi-million-dollar church construction projects in three locations in Irving. Through Pastor George’s popular radio and television ministry, and through his many American and foreign Gospel Crusades and speaking engagements, Calvary Church became known and loved by tens of thousands of people across the nation and around the world.
Pastor George’s overseas ministry was legendary. He preached often to major crowds at large churches, public auditoriums and in open-air arenas. He preached to audiences numbering more than eight million people just outside of Lagos, Nigeria. He preached at many special events in Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia, China, the Middle East, Latin American and South America.
In addition to his personal and pastoral ministries, Pastor George was often called upon to assist various ministries at the International Headquarters of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri. For 16 years he served as an Executive Presbyter for the Assemblies of God. At other times he served on the ministry boards of Evangel University, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Assemblies of God World Missions, Assemblies of God US Missions and the Southwestern Assemblies of God University. He was honored by the Assemblies of God with the “Pillar of Faith” recognition by the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and was elected by the General Council in session as an honorary General Presbyter for life.
In addition to his diverse responsibilities in other areas, Pastor George always found time and energy to serve his local community in Irving, Texas. He was a 40-year member of the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. He was an active participant in the Henry Holmes Forum each Wednesday morning at the Las Colinas Country Club. Pastor George was a past president of the Irving Minister’s Association and was also a past president of the Irving-Las Colinas Rotary Club. He had a perfect attendance record for the weekly Rotary meetings for more than 43 years and was honored by Rotary International with the Double Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Pastor George delighted in his social and recreational pursuits while out of the pulpit and away from the local church. For 25 years he owned, managed and operated a 200-acre, West Texas cattle ranch (“The Double G”) in Graham (Young County), Texas. His ranch abounded with fine cattle and an abundance of wildlife. He often attended and participated in the Graham Cattle Auction each Monday at noon.
Pastor George, an avid golfer, frequently competed in charity golf tournaments in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area as well as at well-known golfing meccas such as the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Pebble Beach Golf Club in Carmel California. For 18 years he served as Producer and Commissioner of the annual J. Don George Golf Tournament at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. His namesake golf tournament raised and gave away approximately $200,000 to various missions projects around the world. Pastor George took delight in winning a three-day golf tournament against his close golfing friends Tommy Barnett and Daniel T. Sheaffer at the “Mother of All Golf Courses” in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Pastor George loved to take road trips with his friends on his Honda Goldwing Motorcycle. He rode his motorcycle through all 48 states in the Continental United States. On one trip, a “prayer odyssey” around the borders of America, he travelled on the backroads as close as possible to the border. He rode his motorcycle more than 13,500 miles in 31 days, and prayed over every state, city and county he passed through. Pastor George frequently stated, “In all my bike riding for some 40 years, by God’s grace, I never put a scratch on me or my motorcycle.”
Along with his other pursuits, Pastor George was a dedicated long-distance runner. He regularly ran the Cowtown Marathon in Ft. Worth, Texas. In 1991, he ran the New York Marathon, 26 miles and 285 yards, through all five boroughs of New York City. The day following that marathon he let it be known to the nation, by appearing on “Live! with Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee” TV Show, that he had competed against 25,000 other runners from around the world who came to New York to run in the marathon.
Pastor George lived his life in dedication to Christ’s call that he received when he was just a child. He has said on many occasions that his greatest earthly treasure is Gwen George, his devoted wife of 63 years. He cherished his family of three children and six grandchildren. He is remembered and loved by his daughter, Valerie Jones and her husband, Kerry Jones: his son, Roger George; and his son, Rodney George and his wife, Kim Owen George; and his grandchildren, Lesley Jarboe and her husband, Michael Jarboe; Lacey Cunningham and her husband Cody Cunningham; Austin Jones and his wife Emily Jones; Justin Jones and his wife, Lupita Mendez-Jones; Grant George; and Lizzy George.
There was a Celebration of Life on Thursday, October 22 at 1 pm at Calvary Church, 4401 N. Highway 161, Irving, Texas. Interment at Oak Grove Cemetery in Irving. The service was live-streamed online at Live.calvarychurch.cc