Eagles Lose Another Hall of Famer With Passing of George Gablehouse
Former basketball standout was honored as an individual Hall of Fame member in 2009 and six years earlier the 1945-46 team he played on was inducted
NOTE: No memorial service will take place. A family obituary and information on how to contribute to scholarship funds in his name is listed below.
Hall of Famer George Gablehouse, a standout basketball player on Eastern Washington teams that advanced to the NAIA Tournament in each of his first three seasons in Cheney, Wash., passed away last Saturday (Aug. 16) from bladder cancer. He was 91.
Gablehouse was inducted as an individual in 2009, honoring not only his outstanding playing career, but also his long career as a collegiate administrator and coach. He played for Eastern in 1943 and again from 1946-48, and earned first team All-Washington Intercollegiate Conference honors in both 1946 and 1947.
He was a member of Eastern's 1945-46 team, which was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. The Savages had a school-record 31 victories (31-4) and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA Tournament under head coach Red Reese.
Gablehouse also received Eastern's prestigious Scarlet Arrow Award in 1947. Formerly from Selah (Wash.) High School, he was student body president at Eastern and graduated cum laude in 1948.
He coached at Omak and Marysville high schools before embarking upon a more than 20-year career at Centralia Community College. From 1957-78 he served as athletic director there, as well as director of physical education and director of intramural sports.
As a basketball coach from 1957-74, Gablehouse had a record of 228-147 with three league/division titles. In more than 20 years as a baseball coach at Centralia, he had a 364-162 record and won the Washington Athletic Association of Community Colleges title in 1965 with a final record of 25-3.
His many honors include his induction in 1990 into the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame. He was also previously selected to the NWAACC Roll of Honor. He is also a member of the Centralia CC Hall of Fame and had his No. 26 baseball jersey retired by CCC.
In his retirement, Gablehouse split time between his homes in Olympia, Wash., and Packwood, Wash.
Just two days prior to the death of Gablehouse, one of his former Eastern basketball teammates passed away. Jack "Rabbit" Roffler, who played on three EWU teams from 1943-46, died at the age of 89 on Aug. 14.
George Roy Gablehouse was born on April 3,1923, in Fort Collins, Colorado and passed away on August 16th in Olympia, WA at the age of 91.
George graduated from Selah High School in 1941 and in 1943 he married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Barbara Brathovd. Of George's many accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. To his children, he was their strength and their hero - to the grandkids he was Papa George - the man who always had hugs and ice cream, who always asked what he could do for them, but never asked for anything for himself.
In 1943, George enrolled in Eastern Washington College, but his college career was interrupted by World War II and he served proudly in the U.S. Navy. After the war, he returned to Eastern where he played basketball and football and was the student body president. He was a stand out basketball player on Eastern teams that advanced to the NAIA tournament three seasons and he was selected for first team All Washington Intercollegiate Conference honors two years in a row. He was inducted into the Eastern Hall of Fame as a member of the 1945-46 team in 2003, and again as an individual in 2009, honoring not only his outstanding playing career, but his contributions as a college administrator and coach. He coached in Omak and Marysville before coming to Centralia College in 1957 where he coached the Blazers for 20 years while also serving as Athletic Director. He coached his basketball teams to three league titles and his baseball teams made six appearances at state tournaments, winning the state title in 1965. Gablehouse was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame in 1990. He is also a member of the Centralia College Hall of Fame and his No. 26 jersey was retired by CC. In 2012 he was greatly honored to have the entrance hall of the Michael Smith Gymnasium at Centralia College dedicated in his name.
George was predeceased by his wife Barbara in 1989, his son Bill in 2003, and his second wife Jessie Edwards in 2012.
Survivors include his son Gary (Kathy) Gablehouse, Bellingham, WA, his daughter Sylvia (Jim) Fechtner, Chehalis, WA, grandchildren Brian Gablehouse, Brad (Jaynie) Gablehouse, Bill (Jamie) Fechtner, Julie (Ron) Murphy, Graham (Jeanie) Gablehouse, Garrett Gablehouse and eight great grandchildren.
George's life was all about kids and education. Many were the times he and Barbara hosted entire teams at their big house on E Street in Centralia. He truly believed that helping kids get an education was his purpose in life. He never stopped teaching and coaching, and after his retirement became an avid Chehalis Bearcat fan. In keeping with that, he requested that no memorial service be held, but that the money be spent to send yet another athlete to college. Donations in his memory can be sent to Centralia College Foundation, 600 Centralia College Boulevard, Centralia, WA 98531, Chehalis Foundation Scholarships for Bearcat Athletes, 872 SE Evergreen Drive, Chehalis WA 98532 or EWU Foundation, 102 Hargreaves Hall, Cheney, WA 99004-2413.