A Seattle Center usher for nearly half a century, George Kumpf is still having fun
George Kumpf of Bothell has been an usher at Seattle Center for 47 years, and at age 90, he is still enjoying it.
George Kumpf lives in Bothell in a retirement place next to the senior center. Been there about seven years. He likes it OK. George turned 90 this past Oct. 12, and he's been ushering us into Seattle Center events for the past 47 years. This holiday season he's assistant head usher working "The Nutcracker" circuit. You can usually find him on the top tier at McCaw Hall and, oh heck, let's just let him tell it. He's got it down:
"I was born and raised in Seattle. Graduated the University of Washington School of Business in '41 just in time to go into service in the Navy. Went on active service the day after Pearl Harbor. Was assigned to naval intelligence in Seattle. In '42 I was a commissioned ensign in the Naval Reserve. Stayed in the Naval Reserve 27 years.
"Anyhow, I was on active duty until '46. Then in '46 I returned to Seattle and, having heard that Ford was planning to build a parts-distribution center in Seattle, I applied and was accepted as an accountant, where I worked for 30 years. I retired in '76.
"In '62, having heard there was gonna be a world's fair, I thought it'd be kinda fun to moonlight there as an usher. That was a lotta fun. One of the highlights for me was when Ringling Bros. Circus came they usually brought a full band, but they just brought a director, a drummer and a Hammond organ. They recruited the rest of the band from the local union. Ron Simon of the Seattle Symphony and I were chosen to play tuba. So we played three shows a day for three days. It was quite a thrilling experience to say you played for the Ringling circus band. I played in all the Seafair parades from '50 to '68. And also park concerts.
"So, anyhow, that went on, and one year led to another and finally it became a habit. And actually I like working with people and whatnot. I became head usher for a few years. When my wife's health declined I had to cut back, so currently I'm assistant usher. I just like meeting a lot of people and working with 'em. Ushering's become a habit, and you have to have things to take up your interest. I play bridge and cribbage and do some reading, but there's a limit to that. I like this working and meeting people.
"That gives you a rough idea of what I've been doing."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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