George Arlington Lee Gant was born on December 5, 1941 in Wilson, North Carolina to George William and Georgia Eugenia (Cooke) Gant and passed away on June 17, 2020 at his home in Midland, Michigan surrounded in prayer by his family and friends. George lived a remarkable life with an abiding love to care for others, passion for science and discovery, and desire to open opportunities for everyone to fulfill their dreams regardless of any obstacle.
George grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina where he attended Dudley High School, graduating after just turning 16. He attended North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, earning a bachelor and master’s degree in chemistry. Like so many who journeyed from around the world and the United States to work in Midland, Michigan, George moved from Greensboro, North Carolina in 1965 to join Dow Corning as a chemist.
Midland opened her heart to George. He was among the first group of young African-American scientist and their families who moved to Midland for pioneering careers in science at Dow Corning and Dow Chemical.
Spanning a career of 35 years at Dow Corning, he advanced well as he lived with Multiple Sclerosis. He moved quickly into corporate executive management after completing advanced graduate education in management at Central Michigan University and Harvard Business School. His technical expertise earned significant patents in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. These scientific discoveries transformed the strength and performance of silicone-based adhesives and sealants that enabled innovations in building and architectural design, road construction, and automotive applications.
George often said, “If you see me fighting the bear, help the bear”. To him, MS and its challenges were the bear. He approached his fight with MS as a scientist; and shared everything he learned about MS generously. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the MS Society where millions of dollars were raised for research and patient support.
Over the course of a life well lived, he was recognized for his many civic, professional and leadership roles; including Chairman of the Board of the Adhesive and Sealants Council. He also served in leadership roles in Kiwassee Kiwanis, American Chemical Society, American Management Association, Sigma Iota Epsilon, Sigma Xi honorary scientific society, International Mentoring Association, National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and Midland Black Coalition. George is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
George cherished the welcoming fellowship of the friends he made, and became a mentor to many young people regardless of their station in life. Along with his wife Jackie, and children, Jon and Jeannine while starting his career in research and development at Dow Corning, they established new family roots in Midland which exists today.
George is survived by his many friends and family. This includes George’s care team, Jon Finney, Sarah Mitchell Harris, Kelly Lewis, Jolynn Sieggreen, Scott Gooch, Josh Arcuri, Erika Crampton, Renee Shocknesse, Rolando, George Lowry (deceased), and Phillip Martin (deceased); 50 Year Bridge Group, George Vogel, Gerry Cappo, Rudy Phillips, Tim Hueston, Bill Dennis, Carl Woods, Ted Skinner, and Sandy Berger. Family friends Charles (Ted) and Sherry Skinner, Melvin and Octavia Cabey, Theresa and Murray Finney, and many others; Family, Gary (brother) and Glenda Gant, Gratia (sister) and Bobbe Wright, Sylvester and Claudette Thompson (cousin), Jackie Gant (former wife), Jeannine Gant (daughter), Jon (son) and Tracie Gant; Grandchildren Langston and Morgan Bowens, Zora Bowens, Symantha Gant, Aidan Gant, and Eleanor Bowens (great-granddaughter); and nieces Tulani Gant and Jenna and Molly Gant; many cousins, nieces and nephews.
George’s funeral services are managed by Smith-Miner. Visitation service will be held Monday, June 22nd at Eagle Ridge Church in Midland from 12 pm to 2 pm followed by a graveside burial service at the Midland Memorial Gardens at 3 pm. A memorial service will be held in 2021 due to COVID-19. The family would like to direct gifts to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter and North Carolina A&T State University, Chemistry Department.
Smith-Miner Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Gant family; to share a special memory please visit www.smithminer.com.