Senator George Fleming
June 29, 1938 - December 6, 2021
Celebration of Life for Former Senator George Fleming
January 16, 2022, 1pm
University of Washington, Don James Center
We honor and celebrate Senator George Tyree Fleming as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend, groundbreaking Washington State Legislator for 22 years, University of Washington football Legend and Hall of Famer, and a 2012 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductee.
A Celebration of Life for Senator George Fleming will be held on January 16, 2022, starting promptly at 1:00 pm, at the University of Washington Husky Stadium, Don James Center. Due to limited capacity, if you wish to attend the Celebration of Life, to allow for adequate distancing and planning, please send the name, email address and phone number of attendee(s) to email@example.com by January 5, 2022, to receive an invite from the University of Washington.
George Tyree Fleming was born in Dallas, Texas on June 29, 1938, to Mabel Jean Jackson and Freeman L. Fleming. George loved watching the Rose Bowl on television when he was a young boy and vowed to play in it one day. George attended Booker T. Washington Technical High School in Dallas, where he excelled academically, athletically (lettering in track, basketball, and football), and as a leader serving as Vice President of his high school senior class. After graduating high school, George spent one year at East Los Angeles Junior College in 1958, and the following year he was recruited by the University of Washington (UW) where he helped lead
the UW Huskies to win their first Rose Bowls in UW history in 1960 and 1961 where he was awarded Co-MVP of the 1960 game and was a member of the 1960 National Championship team, which was a dream come true for George.
George graduated from the University of Washington in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and later that year was the highest-drafted player from the UW Huskies. He went to the American Football League’s Oakland Raiders as a second-round pick after turning down the National Football League's Chicago Bears. As a Raider, George kicked a league-record 54-yard field goal, which stood until 2003, and in 1963, he played for the Winnipeg Bombers in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and led the CFL in scoring as a rookie with 135 points and set a league record with a 55-yard field goal. George retired from professional football in 1966 and was later inducted into the University of Washington Hall of Fame in 1980, named a Husky Legend in 1998, and inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2012.
After ending his football career, in 1967, George married the love of his life, Augustine (Tina), at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, WA, where they raised their two daughters, Sonja and Yemi. That same year, Washington State Representative, City Councilman, and mentor, Sam Smith, encouraged George to pursue a career in state politics - one that lasted twenty-two years. In 1968, the 37th District elected George Fleming to the Washington State House of Representatives, and in 1970, to the Washington State Senate, a position held for twenty years, during which time he proudly served as the highest-ranking member-elected position of Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman for over a decade.
Senator Fleming was one of the most effective legislators ever to serve. He sponsored and passed landmark legislation that defended the rights of women, minorities, senior citizens, and children, which improved their economic and educational circumstances, and the overall quality of life for the 37th District and the State of Washington. A few of his crowning achievements include the establishment of the Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprise and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, both of which have continued to serve the community for over 30 years. Senator Fleming was also a tireless advocate to make the Martin Luther King holiday a reality in Washington state, and his leadership helped spearhead the MESA Program, just to name a few.
Senator Fleming received hundreds of awards and recognition, including having the Pritchard-Fleming building named in his honor on the Bellevue College campus and receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws. Most recently, the Low Income Housing Institute celebrated the opening of George Fleming Place, an apartment building containing 106 affordable units for veterans, people with disabilities, families, and low-wage workers in recognition of Senator Fleming’s longstanding commitment to affordable housing, which he was able to visit before he passed. A few other organizations that have recognized his efforts include the National Association of Minority Contractors (NW Chapter), Seattle P-I, U.S. Justice Department, Seattle Benefit Guild, and National Business League. Senator Fleming retired from public office in 1991 and when the legislature was not in session, he worked for Pacific Northwest Bell, Seattle Public Schools, and the King County government.
Senator Fleming led an incredibly full and awe-inspiring life, but his most cherished role was being a loving husband to his wife, Augustine (Tina), for 54 wonderful years, and to his daughters, Sonja and Yemi. Senator Fleming died peacefully in his home holding Tina’s hand on Monday, December 6, 2021. He was 83 years old. Senator Fleming is survived by his wife Tina Fleming; his two daughters, Sonja and Yemi (and son-in-law Rodney); grandchildren, Arica, Chris, Micah, Myles, and Nyah; extended family in Seattle and Dallas and longtime friends, all of whom will miss him dearly.