YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Mr. George Everett McCollum was born on July 10, 1928 to Carrie Lee and Roy McCollum in the small town of Reidsville, North Carolina. He was number six of their seven children: two girls and five boys. He had a relatively normal childhood until he reached the age of five. The family had been attending a week-long church revival and at the last day he stared longingly at the revival’s pianist as he played the final strains of the closing song. When asked if he wanted to play the piano, he nodded his head but instead of hoisting him up onto the piano bench, the pianist laid hands on him and prayed he would be given the gift of music. That prayer was answered by God and the gift was discovered in George the next day when his parents awoke to the sound of someone playing their parlor piano with the skill of a seasoned maestro. Without the benefit of one lesson, George could play the piano!
Word soon spread about the young boy who could play the piano like a professional. An evangelist who was visiting Reidsville from Youngstown, Ohio asked his mother if she could take him with her back to Youngstown to play during a revival there. His mother agreed but insisted on accompanying him. While in Youngstown his mother became very ill and was sick so long the rest of the family joined them there and eventually they made Youngstown their home. By the age of 12 George was giving piano lessons to the children in the neighborhood and that led to a thriving private teaching career that spanned four decades.
Everett married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Helen Bargainer (now deceased) in 1953 and soon after joined the United States Army. He served much of his time in Germany as a corporal. Once he was discharged in 1957, he attended Youngstown College and received his bachelor’s in 1957 and his Master of Arts at Westminster College in 1964.
He taught music at Volney Rogers and West Junior High, then became the assistant principal at Hillman Jr High and later became principal of The Rayen School and South High School before retiring from the Youngstown City School system in 1976.
Everett has played for New Bethel Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church, Beulah Temple United Holy Church and served as choir director for the Mahoning United Methodist Church for 31 years. He was a member of the Youngstown Kiwanis Club, serving as youth service director in 1980 and was a member of the Charlotte chapter. The joy of his life has always been sharing the gift of music with young people both as a schoolteacher and through private lessons.
Everett answered the call of his Heavenly Father on Monday, April 13, 2020.
He leaves to cherish his life and legacy, four children, Connie Goode and Karen Rodgers both of Matthews, North Carolina, Evette Williams of Youngstown and Lisa Collins of Orlando, Florida; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, other family and friends.
Besides his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by four brothers, Roy, Jr., Earl, Odell and Ernest McCollum and two sisters, Thelma Blunt and Marian Fuller.
There will be private services for family only. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
Arrangements handled by L.E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.
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A television tribute will air Thursday, April 23, at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.