George Whatmore

gbw-1939-cropped[1]George Bernard Whatmore, PhD, MD, died peacefully at home with his family by his side on 6/5/2009 at the age of 91.  He was born at home in the Madrona area of Seattle on 8/31/1917 to Delia F. and Harry J. Whatmore.  He grew up moving from house to house as his mother would complete construction on one and then begin another.   He graduated from Garfield High in 1935.  He earned his BS degree in pharmacology from the University of Washington, then his PhD in neurophysiology and later his MD degree both from the U of Chicago.

 George was deeply committed to adding to the body of scientific knowledge and devoted much of his life to researching the connections between the brain, nervous system and functional disorders.  He was a pioneer in using neuromuscular biofeedback for treatment and is considered the founder of this field.  He sought to treat the cause of functional disorders and not just the symptoms.

 He met his wife-to-be, Frances Beatty, while living in Seattle before he left for the U of Chicago.  In 1942 she caught the last civilian plane to Chicago at the outset of WWII and they were married.  In 1948 while George was doing his internship and residency at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, he moved his family to Beaux Arts Village where George and Frances lived until their respective deaths.  He was very dedicated to his family and was always willing to help anyone who sought his medical advice. 

 George was athletic and always interested in learning how to maintain and improve health.  As a young man he would climb high up Mt. Rainier for one long ski run down.  He also loved to water ski.  One of his favorite activities that he promoted and participated in throughout his entire adult life was weightlifting.  During college, he and his friends were avid weightlifters and convinced the UW to include weightlifting into the physical education program.   

 After a long and productive career in his field of research in neurophysiology, he published many articles and a book titled “The Physiopathology and Treatment of Functional Disorders”.    After George retired from his medical practice, he spent the next 26 years doing research for the publication of two books on religion.   “A Scientist Looks at Religion” was first, and then “High Probability Christianity”.    During his research into the subjects of health and religion he was insistent that it was important to apply the principles of the scientific method to derive more reliable information.  He was able to complete his last book  before he died which was a wonderful achievement for him.

 George was a brilliant, methodical, dedicated and passionate person who was admired and loved by all.  He was extremely thorough in everything he did.  He was feisty right up until the end and was still lifting weights.  He will be missed but never forgotten.  Everyone will miss his  medical, health, and religious advice and the life lessons that he shared.  He often would say “zero down” to relax, and “What is the evidence?”  and “Use the scientific method”.  His death represents the end of an era for the family, but his legacy will live on. 

 gbw[1]He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Frances, in May 2005.  He was also preceded in death by his older brothers Joseph and Harold.  George is survived by his children Pamela Whatmore, David Whatmore (Maria) and Nancy Shriver and grandchildren Elizabeth Ostendorf, Christopher Ostendorf, Sharon Whatmore and Ethan Whatmore.

 The family would like to thank the Morse family; Mare, Marty, Kiana and Kenny for their years of help and the 24 hour care at the end.  We would also like to thank everyone that helped George edit and complete his final book.

 The family plans to have a memorial for both George and Frances in the fall.  Date and time to be announced later.  In lieu of flowers, their family would like to receive your memories of George and Frances.

12 Responses to “George Whatmore”

  • lucinda and jean carter says:

    Thanks for this forward. Truly a remarkable man.

  • Clayton says:

    I am honored to have known George. Speaking with him in his living room was a true joy. He always challenged me to think deeper about a topic, and helped add a new perspective.

    I count my self lucky that our lives intersected.

  • John and Susan Skovron says:

    We knew George later in life and only casually. He was our landlord for more than 8 years. But even in that simple relationship George distinguished himself as kind and generous. We stayed in that house longer than made sense for our growing family at least in part because of the Whatmores. Pam, our condolences to you and your family.

  • Judy Daniels says:

    Helping in the home of George and Francis was an honor, an incredible experience as they were truly wonderful people. George, always making me dig a bit deeper for answers, not take the easy route – an extraordinary teacher. I shall forever charish my time with them.

  • Larry Parypa says:

    What is the evidence? Yeah, that was George. I loved having conversations with George about various topics. But I knew that my arguments had better be fact-based.

    I recall having Thanksgiving at Pam’s. At the table, over the salmon, we discussed the role of vitamins etc. Everyone was involved in the discussion. Later George said that was the best Thanksgiving ever….because he so enjoyed the stimulation.

    It I wasn’t up to the intensity of a debate with George, there was Francis to turn to. Like my own mother, she had a much more relaxed outlook.

    These were good people.

  • Ralph and Lynn Elliott says:

    Ralph and I were patients of Dr. Whatmore in the 1970’s. He helped us a lot and he has been a major influence in our lives.
    He was an unusual man and one of the kindest we have ever known.
    Hope you get this as I am having trouble with your captchas.

  • Ralph and Lynn Elliott says:

    Ralph and I were patients of Dr. Whatmore in the 1970’s. He helped us a lot and he has been a major influence in our lives.
    He was an unusual man and one of the kindest we have ever known.

  • Wim Alma says:

    Dear Pam and family – I had a chance to talk to your Dad briefly last year, while we went past your home during the parade for the Beaux Arts Centennial celebration. I did talk to your sister, and was sorry to have missed you. I remember your Dad well, and always respected him. He was one of the few remaining links we still have for the years we had growing up in Beaux Arts. It was a plesure to have known both of your parents. My condolences to your family.

  • Leslie Wall says:

    I never had the opportunity to meet George, but rented an apartment he owned. He was by far the best landlord I’ve ever had. I will never forget his generosity and kindness. Pam, my thoughts are with you.

  • lee griffing says:

    What a great guy! My first memory of George was when I was 9 years old (1955) walking by the Beaux Arts north beach fireplace. George and my dad were getting ready to waterski, and George was expounding on some theory (how unlike him). I don’t know whether my dad understood him or not, but he was certainly used to George’s theories.
    I remember visiting him over at Bow Lake in eastern Washington, where he was on staff at the clinic there.
    I remember him writing me a great letter of recommendation to med school and over the years he always took a genuine interest in my career. We talked several times over the years, and he especially liked to talk about medical subjects. Our last phone call was about 6 months ago, and he told me he appreciated discussing medical issues with me “because most of my medical colleagues have died- you’re about the only one left”. He then proceeded to regale me about the molecular actions of the various subtypes of cholesterol and the implications thereof. He then segued into a discussion of the latest research on coenzyme Q. I’m so glad his mind was still razor sharp at that age since he cherished the intellectual life so much.
    We also had several discussions on Christian apologetics while he wa writing his books. It is comforting to know that George is with God now (probably looking over my shoulder and editing this letter right now). A great loss but a long fulfilling life. He is much missed.

    Blessings and condolences to Pam, David, Nancy and the rest of the Whatmore family,

    Lee Griffing

  • Everet & Arlene Nelson says:

    We wish to express our sympathy on the news of the death of your loved one. During 1975 Dr. George asked my husband to help him build an electrical unit that could measure people’s stress levels. The two men worked on this project. My husband saved those design papers. Your family is welcome to those papers. Dr. George will be missed.
    Arlene Nelson

  • B. Neighbors says:

    It’s been an adventure getting to know about you and your brothers. I feel that you have been watching over me all my life. Thank you.RIP
    Barbara Diane (born O’Neill)
    Neighbors

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