George Washington Habel Jr., 99, died peacefully on Monday, March 16, 2020, at Dogwood Terrace in Henrico. Born on March 4, 1921, in Norfolk, Va., he was the son of George and Hawes Habel of Arrington, Va. George took great pride in his Nelson County heritage as a grandson of Judge Thomas Penn and Samuella Hawes Coleman Fitzpatrick. He was raised on the family's Kingswood and Belfield farms. George was predeceased in October, 2019, by his wife of 70 years, Rachel; and his siblings, Tom Habel and Virginia Paulsen. He is survived by his children, G.W. (Cindy) of Durham, N.C., and Mary Ann Boyd (Don) of Richmond; grandchildren, Melissa Habel, Matt Habel (Teri), Lauren Habel (Maggie), Jake Boyd, and Megan Nichols (Casey); and seven great-grandchildren. George left Nelson County High School and the family farm for Virginia Tech in 1938. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets and an ROTC engineering student. After the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the United States Army in 1942 and was assigned to the 66th Topographic Engineering Company. For the invasion of North Africa, he was one of 15 soldiers with security clearance for the campaign mapping detail. He served three years in Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. After the war, George worked for the Virginia Department of Highways mapping and building new roads across the state. He began working with computers as early as 1965 and was credited with many innovations in the Aerial Survey department where he was a photogrammetric engineer. He retired in 1986 and worked as a consultant until he was seventy. His hobbies were building and flying radio controlled model airplanes, gardening and repairing all things electrical and mechanical. George and Rachel lived in their West Lawn home for 58 years, an anchor of contentment, hospitality and love for their children and grandchildren. George was a loyal member of Trinity United Methodist Church for 62 years and the Adult Fellowship Sunday school class. The family wishes to thank the staff and residents of Dogwood Terrace, where Rachel and George lived since 2015, for their love and kindness. A graveside service will be held later in the Spring at Trinity Episcopal Church in Arrington. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Trinity Foundation, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond, VA 23229.
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