Long time North Lake Tahoe resident, George Galante, 69 of Incline Village passed away at Renown Hospital in Reno on Nov., 21, 2012. He was born to Florence and George Galante in 1943 in Newark, N. J. He was the oldest of four children.
He arrived at Incline in 1968, after spending time as the coach of the US Ski Team in Jackson Hole, Wyo. It was his intention to try the skiing the Sierra offered at that time and then move on to other locales. But like most people, he fell captive to the scenic wonder of Lake Tahoe and spent the remainder of his life here. During the winter months, he skied and taught skiing every day the mountains had snow.
Early that first year, in addition to hiking and biking he sought out other physical activities and discovered the sport of tennis. At that time, Incline Village was a hotbed for the racquet sport. Galante soon was taken under the wing of legendary tennis pro Fred Earl, who worked with him until Galante was able to take his turn as a teaching pro on the courts. A natural athlete, in his early years back East he excelled at ice hockey and race car driving. Of medium height and a sturdy physique, he gained the highest ranking in karate and was a daily presence at the local gym.
He had a brilliant tennis career competing with many of the most famous names in the sport at that time. He enjoyed one of his most successful tennis seasons this year at the Tahoe Vista area where his students nicknamed it "Camp George" in his honor.
As a teaching pro, during his 44-year career he taught at all of the tennis facilities on the North Shore and served as a pro bono tennis coach at Incline High.
George is best remembered for his wit and humor, which led him to emcee gatherings large and small. Relying on previous experience from back East, he once did a stint as a standup comic at the Tahoe Biltmore where he was also the Marketing Director. Another facet of his personality led him to a job as maitre d during the Cal Neva Lodge's heyday.
One of his favorite haunts at Incline was the Village Ski Loft, where he acted as a rep for manufacturers and participated as a ski expert during annual sales events. He also donated his time as a mentor to members of the Incline High ski team, where he developed many outstanding young skiers.
Galante was predeceased by his parents and is survived by his companion Marion Bach, twin brothers Nick and Pat and youngest brother John.
When interviewed Ms. Bach said, "George Galante was a world champion freestyle skier. As a matter of fact, he won the Freestyle Skiing Championships in 1970 at Heavenly ski area.
He spent his life sharing his love of skiing and tennis. Also, he was a comic, quick with a joke to bring a laugh from anyone. He has touched thousands of lives sharing his love of everything and showing people how to live the minutes of their lives.
He has left a hole of love that will never be filled. His dog Shira shares his personality, in that she loves everyone and everyone loves her."
He had a legion of friends, whom he could call upon to assist him in his special event promotions that he did both locally and regionally. Two major events of which he was most proud of were the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Oakland Raiders "Snow Wars" celebrity ski event.
He is a legend at the Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Resort, where he is remembered on its Facebook page.
A public Memorial Service for George Galante will be held on Sunday, Dec. 9, beginning at 1 p.m., at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach, Calif.
In lieu of flowers, the family is offering some suggestions for contributions. Donations can be made to any of George Galante's favorite non-profit groups including UNICEF WFP (World Food Programs) at www.WFP.org; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at www.aspca.org (ask about the Memorial program); or the International Rescue Committee (www.rescue.org).
To support the upcoming service and expenses, a bank account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank c/o the George Galante Memorial Fund. Electronic money transfers can be routed through Wells Fargo Bank on line by using the following information: Routing #321270742, Account #2861060560 or one can call any Wells Fargo Bank.
To share your memories and photographs, visit the Facebook page "In Memory of George Galante" and come to the Memorial Service where there will be an opportunity to share your favorite "Stories of George."
If you have questions or want to help, the family has asked that you contact Lee Koch at 775-846-5444 or Rick Lamb at 775-830-6611, who are working with George's companion, Marion Bach, and a few good friends to organize this occasion.
A Celebration of Life is also being planned for this spring and those details will be forthcoming once the Memorial Service has been concluded.