COLUMBUS — George David Remington, former publisher of the Billings Gazette and Helena Independent Record, died peacefully on June 11, 2019.
George was born in Anaconda, on Dec. 27, 1925, to George and Alma Remington. He graduated from Anaconda High School and joined the Army Air Corps near the end of World War II as a Flight Officer, training to be a navigator. After the war ended, George attended the University of Montana, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1950. In 1951, George married Lorraine Kurfiss, also a UM journalism graduate, and the newlyweds moved to Honolulu for six years, where George worked as a reporter for United Press International (UPI) and the Honolulu Advertiser. Their son David was born in Honolulu in 1954.
After living briefly in California, George and Lorraine moved to Helena in 1959, where George became state manager for UPI. He then went to work at the Helena Independent Record as an investigative reporter for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. He rose through the ranks at the newspaper to become editor and then publisher. In his role as publisher, he oversaw the newspaper’s modernization of its printing system and adoption of one of the first newsroom computer systems. Daughters Leslie and Larisa were born in Helena in 1959 and 1968, respectively. In 1976, George became publisher of the Billings Gazette, a post he held until his retirement in 1986. Through his career as a journalist, George became well acquainted with Montana political leaders of both parties, who often sought his perspective and — less successfully — his support. In 1992, George received a Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Montana, honoring his extensive contributions to Montana journalism.
After retiring, George and Lorraine moved to the log home they built at the Yellowstone River breaks near Columbus. George enjoyed maintaining the ponderosa pine woodland surrounding their cabin, taking long walks with his beloved dog, Charlie, singing in the choir and leading discussion groups at the Columbus Community Congregational Church, and visiting his children and grandchildren. George and Lorraine moved back to Billings in 1997 but continued to spend long weekends at their cabin for the next 15 years. An avid and accomplished skier throughout his life, George hit the slopes at Red Lodge Mountain every week during winter until 2010.
George always approached life with a wry sense of humor, provoking lively conversations among family and friends. He cultivated in his children and grandchildren an interest in public and world affairs and the importance of treating all people fairly regardless of background or status.
George was preceded in death by his wife Lorraine after 66 years of marriage in 2017. He is survived by his son, David (Kathy), daughters Leslie O’Leary (Bob Hull) and Larisa (Jamie) Willrett; grandchildren Jeremy (Amy) and Bethany (Carlos Monreal) Remington, and Justis, Olivia and Sawyer Willrett; great-grandchildren Daniel and Bridger Remington; and several granddogs.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Columbus Community Congregational Church in Columbus.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the Committee to Protect Journalists or Columbus Community Congregational Church.