George Whitefield Rea was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 7, 1839. He was early thrown upon his own responsibility by his mother’s death. When the Civil War broke out, Mr. Rea was desirous of enlisting, but as he was in the railroad service when he was needed in the transportation of troops and supplies, he was not permitted to enlist till the year 1864. He served to the end of the war and was honorably discharged. After the war Judge Rea took up the study of law, and followed that profession ever since. He first practiced in Nebraska, and in 1876 moved to Oregon, locating in Astoria, where he formed a partnership with C. W. Fulton, ex U.S. Senator, under the firm name of Rea & Fulton. Later he removed to Heppner, and some five years ago came to Coos County.
Mr. Rea served as prosecuting attorney, county judge, and at the time of his death, was justice of the peace in the district comprising Bandon and vicinity. In all his dealing with his fellow men, he was just and conscientious, seeking rather the confidence of his fellowmen than high position. He led a very active life and always took a prominent part in social and political affairs.
He was a kind and indulgent husband and father. When his first wife died leaving him with four children, he kept the family together, educating and caring of them until they were settled in homes of their own. About five years ago Judge Rea married Mrs. Ella Garrett who was at one time principal of the Bandon Public Schools.
Mr. Rea was a charter member and afterwards trustee of the First Baptist Church of Astoria and at the time of his death he was a member of G.A.R. Post of Bandon and the K. of P. Lodge. Both these orders attended the remains to the grave in a body. A short and appropriate address was given at the grave by Rev. Adolph Haberly, after which the Grand Army ritual service was held by the local Post.
Judge Rea died rather suddenly on Oct. 18, 1911, although he had been ailing for several months. He leaves to mourn his loss, a widow Ella M. Rhea of Bandon, one son, Albert Rea of Heppner, and three daughters, Mrs. Lillie E. Cohn of Heppner, Mrs. J. W. Morrow of Portland, and Mrs. Mark P. John of Lowell, Arizona. He leaves three sisters in the east.
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman