Cover photo for George C Tolhurst's Obituary
1931 George C. Tolhurst 2024

George C Tolhurst

March 5, 1931 — May 24, 2024

Ocean, NJ

George C. Tolhurst, 93, a longtime resident of Saranac Lake, died on May 24, 2024, in Ocean, New Jersey. 

He was born in Buffalo, the son of George C. and Florence Paul Tolhurst. He is a graduate of Kenmore High School, class of 1949, where he was accomplished in the pole vault.

George enlisted in the Army in January 1951, six months after the start of the Korean War. He trained as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, and was assigned to the 325th Infantry Regiment, part of the 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg. During his three years in service he completed at least 16 jumps, earned the National Defense Service Medal, and attained the rank of Sergeant. Though George would retain a lifelong fondness for his Army experience and began many anecdotes with, “When I was in the Army…”, he elected not to continue his service, and instead accepted an Honorable Discharge to pursue further academic studies. 

George enrolled at Indiana University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, and subsequently earned a Master of Science in Education at The Canisius College of Buffalo.

He taught high school English in Newfane, N.Y., where he met and married a fellow teacher, Katherine A. King. After they wed, they moved to California, where he taught in Anaheim and Weaverville, before facing a decision between a position teaching in a remote Alaska village or another in Saranac Lake. At the behest of his expectant wife, he brought the family to Saranac Lake in 1963, where he spent the rest of his teaching career, retiring in 1993. 

All the while, George was an avid reader and outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, canoeing, alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, woodcutting, biking, tennis, sailing, swimming, hiking, stone-wall building, gardening, motorcycling. 

He is predeceased by his wife of nearly 50 years, Katherine K. Tolhurst, and survived by his children Mary Elizabeth Naegele, Christopher M. Tolhurst, Peter F. Tolhurst, Jane C. Daley, and a daughter from a previous marriage, Constance T. Richmond, as well as their spouses, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

We remember him for his wit, intellect, savvy advice, athleticism, adventurousness, adherence to commitments, frugality, and insistence that we walk rather than be driven, even in the coldest, snowiest weather with the destination all the way across town.

George's family is very thankful for the excellent care he received from Christina and her staff at Millennium Memory Care at Ocean. Their kindness, humor and patience were such that he was moved to say, "I'm enjoying old age immensely."

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Calling hours will take place from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Friday, June 7, 2024. A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 11:00 am at St. Bernard of Montjoux Catholic Church with the Reverend Martin Cline officiating. Burial will immediately follow in St. Bernard’s Cemetery with Military Honors.

Family and friends wishing to remember George C. Tolhurst may make memorial contributions to St. Bernard of Montjoux Catholic Church or St. Bernard of Montjoux Catholic School, Saranac Lake, N.Y., in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home. Family and friends may share a memory or leave a note of condolence and sign the online guest book at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of George C Tolhurst, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 7, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fortune - Keough Funeral Home

20 Church St, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Calling hours will be held on Friday June 7, 2024 from 4:00pm until 6:00pm at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, June 8, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church

27 Saint Bernard Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11:00am at St. Bernard of Montjoux Church Chapel

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, June 8, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Burial will immediately follow the Mass of Christian Burial in St. Bernard of Monjoux Cemetery in Saranac Lake in the family lot with Military Honors

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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