Wasley nears a century of fun, family, mischief
By Dixie Redfearn
(The Union Newspaper, Mar 17, 2007)
George Wasley was a hellion as a kid. And now, just days away from turning 100, he still gets a twinkle in his eyes when he recounts his youthful exploits. Wasley was student body president at the now-defunct Nevada City High School. He still remembers the principal sternly admonishing him one day: "Darn you, George! You make it hell for me around here!"
There were a variety of ways Wasley drove the principal crazy. Once, he left his chemistry class with a smelly test tube full of something foul and tipped the liquid into the school radiator. The ensuing odor was so bad they had to close the school and send everyone home. Wasley fondly remembers the time he dumped carbide into the toilet at school. "It brings everything to a boil. ... There was water all over the floor," Wasley said from the cheery room at Highgate Senior Living he shares with his wife of 73 years, Anita.
After one of his infamous pranks, the principal told Wasley he had to resign as president of the student body because he was setting a bad example for the other students. "I was a very mischievous student, and since I was ASB president, the principal would always throw that up to me," Wasley recalled. "One day (after a prank), he came into the classroom and said I had to resign." Wasley looked the principal in the eye and said, "My students elected me as president, and president I will be." The classroom broke out in applause. Wasley turned to the principal and said, "That was your answer. I will not resign."
In addition to being a lifelong prankster, Wasley has other accomplishments to his credit, including his three children, nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He was one of nine children born to the family in Grass Valley - he had seven brothers and one sister. Wasley and his sister, Lil, are the only two siblings left. Wasley used to work in the gold mines around town, earning $3 a day. He was also a carpenter, tree feller and a builder.
Some of the projects he worked on were the Golden Center Freeway, Nevada Union High School, Alta Sierra Country Club, Miners Hospital and buildings in Glenbrook Basin.
He also quite an athlete and received two scholarships after high school: One to Chicago University for athletics and another to University of Nevada-Reno for academics. He couldn't accept either one, however, because he was needed on the family farm.
But education was important for Wasley, and he was proud to be the first of his brothers to graduate from high school. Although it was against his father's wishes, Wasley made sure his younger brothers all went to high school before working on the farm. Jerry Wasley, 67, one of George's sons, said he attributes his father's long and happy life to "Living hard, working hard, playing hard and strong family beliefs." A big family party for Wasley will be March 24, although his actual birthday is the 25th. And the next party will be Sept. 9, when George and Anita celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary.
Wasley with family photos in the background in his room at Highgate Senior Living. He turns 100 on March 25 and a family celebration is planned the day before. (The Union Newspaper, Mar 17, 2007).
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