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  • Abby King

The Legacy of George Grow

photo by Bob Vaughan
Educator, advocate, friend, mentor

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, countless individuals mourned the loss of George Grow, an icon in the history of Mount Pisgah Academy. Although many have heard about his passing, few knew him as intimately as his friends, coworkers, and students.

George Lee Grow was born on August 13, 1945 in Columbus, Ohio to George and Louise. During his childhood, his family took a road trip from Ohio to Florida, stopping to spend the night at Mount Pisgah Academy. The beauty of the campus, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains, and the kindness of the people there, left a lasting impression on George that years later played a factor in him choosing MPA for his first employment.

After graduating from Mount Vernon Academy, George went on to study chemistry at Andrews University, in pursuit of one day becoming a science teacher. In the spring of his senior year, he received job offers from four academies, ultimately choosing MPA because of the positive feelings he still had from his childhood visit there.

After his then girlfriend, Linda Freese, graduated from Andrews University in August, the two were married in Alma, Michigan before rushing down to MPA where George would begin his first year of teaching. It was difficult at first, but he learned that he truly enjoyed being a teacher, and he was determined to keep at it. While at Mount Pisgah Academy, George taught a total of fifteen classes at various times. Through all of this, George earned his Master of Arts in Education from Western Carolina University in the summer of 1979. As the years went by and he became a popular teacher, calls would come from other schools; however, he and Linda were committed to MPA and refused all invitations.

From early on in their relationship, George and Linda mutually agreed that they would choose not to have children. One main reason in George’s mind was that he wanted to be able to devote himself to his students. He felt that if he had children of his own, they might detract from the time he could give to his students – or vice versa.

George had many interests outside of the classroom including cars, music, birdwatching, and photography. He was often seen with a camera in hand, capturing moments in nature.

In 2011, George retired after 43 years of service to Mount Pisgah Academy. He was honored with a retirement banquet that April, at which time it was announced that the lab classroom in the Ad Building would now be called the “George Grow Science Lab.”

George’s influence will be greatly missed not only at MPA but in our local church, community, and throughout the conference. His deep concern for young people has left a lasting impression. George leaves behind his loving wife, Linda, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to John Ratzlaff for excerpts from his Life Sketch, which can be seen at

— Abby Ackerman & Tammy Vaughan

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