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After living an incredibly full life, George Saul Covel, 92, left this world peacefully accompanied by the sounds of his favorite classical music.
He was born on January 13, 1932, 18 minutes after his twin sister, Glorya, in Brooklyn, NY, to the late Julian (Cohen) Covel and Lucie (Crilly) Covel. He was predeceased by both of his sisters, Glorya Covel Smith and Doris Covel Harrison.
George graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, NY and attended the esteemed Julliard School of Music and Hofstra College.
After a serendipitous meeting at a block party in Watertown, NY, George married the love of his life, Joan (Boroweic) Covel, in 1952 at Camp Gordon in August, GA, and they enjoyed 70 years journeying through life together before her passing earlier this year. Some of their best times together were traveling, with a trip to Korea and China being among their favorites, especially experiencing a visit to the Great Wall of China.
As a member of the greatest generation, George proudly carried the distinction of Korean War Veteran in the US Army and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. He was honorably discharged and received The Korean Service Medal with one bronze star, The National Defense Service Medal, The Good Conduct Medal, and the United Nations Medal. During his retirement years, he was a local member of the Korean War Veterans Association, and he also contributed as a National Director. As well, George served in the National Guard finishing his military career as a Master Sergeant. One of the highlights of his golden years was receiving the honor of placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery during a Patriot Flight tour this past October.
Following in his father’s footsteps, George enjoyed a storied career as a court reporter. Over the years, he worked for NY State in the Department of Labor, Court of Claims and Supreme Court. He taught shorthand reporting, worked for several private firms, had his own freelance reporting business, and recorded the proceedings at numerous Grand Lodge of Elks conventions around the country. During these years he served as President of the NYS Shorthand Reporters Association. Perhaps some of the most memorable reporting was done at the United Nations when George recorded Khrushchev and Castro speeches, among other world leaders, in addition to time working at the White House during the Ford administration. He took great satisfaction in providing for his family through his accomplished career which gave his beloved wife the opportunity to stay home and raise their family which was their greatest joy.
Beyond his professional achievements, George was a man of ever-changing interests. He reveled in woodworking, fly fishing and fly tying, dabbled in photography, hunting and speed skating, and spent a few years enjoying long-distance bike riding, celebrating his 60th birthday with a 150-mile ride. His 70th decade saw him refereeing youth ice hockey, and all throughout his adult life, he played pinochle and poker. Well into his 80s, his passion for history led him to take classes at Skidmore College.
The one constant in George’s life was music which he composed, played, and performed throughout his life. He took to the tuba in high school and continued playing in the NY National Guard 42nd Infantry Division Band, the 1st Army Band, and the 8th US Army Band in Korea. He then went on to become the principal tuba in both the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Lake George Opera Orchestra. George and his wife, who played the accordion, founded a German band called The Hoffbrau Six, along with four other musicians, who all donned authentic German clothing and entertained audiences across NY, MA and New England. He also founded another side gig he named The Brass Consort, a brass quintet which played everything from Bach to the Beatles at weddings and other ceremonies.
George is survived by his five children: Sharon Quinones (Pedro), George Covel Jr. (Valerie), Judith Buck (Bill), Sarah Atkinson (William), and Ruth Michaela McAlonie (Matthew) along with grandchildren Bonnie, Jessica, Jamie, Lucy, Rita, Emma Rose, Benjamin, Samuel, and Jack; eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.
The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the hospice staff and caregivers who provided extraordinary, compassionate, and comforting care to George and his family during his final days.
Calling hours will be held from 10:00 am to 11:30 am on Friday, January 26,, 2024, followed by a funeral service at 12:00 noon at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY. Interment with military honors will be held following the service at Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd., Schuylerville, NY 12871.
The family suggests with gratitude donations to Patriot Flight, Inc., PO Box 13776, Albany, NY 12212-3779, or Community Hospice, https://www.givetocommunityhospice.org/donate/, two causes close to George’s heart.