Dr. George Dugan Wolf

Dr. George Dugan Wolf, age 97, Emeritus Pennsylvania State University Dean and Professor of American Studies and American Civilization, lifelong educator, Pennsylvania historian, Pennsylvania political analyst, author, Corporal in the United States Army, (E Company, 387th Infantry, 97th Division), World War II Army veteran, and seniors tennis player passed on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at Bethany Village in Lower Allen Township with his beloved daughters Susan and Linnie by his side.

He was the widower of the former Margaret “Peg” Inez McNeil, who died in 2004. They were married 56 years. Born June 4 in Corry, Pennsylvania, he is the son of the late Norah Elizabeth Dugan and Sol Woodbridge Wolf, formerly of Williamsport, PA. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Ayelien Richards of Dublin, PA; Salle Peters of West Chester, PA; and Richard Wolfe of Cherry Hill, NJ.

He was preceded in death by his eldest daughter Nancy McNeil Wolf Bernardini, Camp Hill, PA in 2008 and is survived by his daughters Susan Norah Wolf D’Annunzio of New Cumberland, PA, Linda “Linnie” C. Wolf Kerstetter of Dillsburg, PA (husband Tom) and six grandchildren: George M. D’Annunzio (fiancee Harmony Bailey) of San Francisco, CA; Gina Margaret D’Annunzio-Eric of McKinney, TX (husband Micheal); Matthew Dugan Kerstetter of Tomball, TX (wife Maria); Andrew John Kerstetter of Edmond, OK (wife Lindsi); David M. Bernardini of Camp Hill, PA and Lindsey C. Bernardini of Harrisburg, PA (fiance Matt Bradley). Also surviving him are his six great-grandchildren, Zachary A. and Joshua B. Kerstetter, Adrianna Puma Ward of South Lake Tahoe, CA (husband Anthony); Tyler Dugan and Kylee May Kerstetter, Georgie Ireoluwa Eric, Grayson Bradley, and great-great-grandchild, James Anthony Ward. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews and many former students who remained in constant contact with him.

Dr. Wolf earned his Bachelor of Arts from Muskingum College in 1947, his Master of Arts in Education from Bucknell University in 1953, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. His professional experiences included teaching English and Social Studies at Hepburn Township High School, 1948-1949; Teacher of American History at Williamsport High School 1950-1957, where he was the class teacher of the Class of 1957; Lycoming College instructor 1954-56; the former Lock Haven State College where he was Associate Professor from 1957-1964 and Professor from 1964-1966; The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg (formerly Capitol Campus), where he was the first faculty member and Associate Professor of American Studies and History from 1966-1969, Head, Division of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education from 1971-1973; Professor of American Studies and History from 1969-1981 and Dean of the Faculty from 1973-1978.

Related experiences include: Special Assistant for Project Development to Pennsylvania Governor William W. Scranton, 1965-1966; Coordinator, Governor’s Commonwealth Conference on Higher Education, 1966; Regional Chairman, Danforth Associates, Allegheny Regional Conference, 1967; Historian for the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, 1967-1968; Member Regional Selection Committee, Danforth Associates, Allegheny Region, 1968; Consultant, Cumberland Valley School District, Black Studies, 1968; Member, Task Force #1, Philosophy and Governance, Pennsylvania State Board of Education’s Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education, 1969; Pennsylvania State Civil Service Oral Examining Board, 1969; Consultant and Writer, The Pennsylvania Master Plan for Higher Education, 1970; Consultant and Speechwriter to Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant-Governor Raymond J. Broderick, 1967-1970; Member Board of State Colleges and University Directors (Chairman, Personnel Committee), 1970-1971; 24th Annual National Security Seminar, The U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 5-9 June 1978.

Dr. Wolf was the recipient of the following fellowships and grants: Danforth Associate, 1960-1967; the National Center for Education in Politics, 1965-66; and the Central Fund for Research, Pennsylvania State University, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1976. The Mid-Atlantic American Studies Association awarded him their first Builder’s Award.

He was the author of and contributor to countless newspaper and magazine articles to the following periodicals: The Harrisburg Patriot News and Evening News, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Pennsylvania Illustrated, The Pennsylvania Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Scranton Sunday Tribune, The Altoona Mirror, The Lock Haven Express, Occupational Educational Forum, Channel 33 Program Guide, Pennsylvania History, Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Proceedings and Collections of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Now and Then, Proceedings of the 69th Annual Conference, Pennsylvania DAR, The Rotarian, The Lock Haven Review, Lycoming Historical Journal and The William and Mary Quarterly in American Quarterly.

Dr. George Wolf is the author of The Fair Play Settlers of the West Branch Valley, 1769-1784, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1969; State Constitutional Revision, Department of Public Instruction, 1968; Constitutional Revision in Pennsylvania, National Municipal League, 1969; Introduction and Index for Debates of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, Department of Property and Supplies, Publication Bureau, 1969; Master Plan for Higher Education in Pennsylvania, State Board of Education, 1971; and William Warren Scranton: Pennsylvania Statesman, Penn State Press, 1981.

He was a member of the following professional societies: The American Association of University Professors (President, local chapter, 1967-1968, Legislative Chairman, Pennsylvania Division, 1968-1970); The Pennsylvania Historical Association (Research Committee, 1967-1973); Advisory Council of the Federation of Junior Historians, 1968, Council 1969-1974; American Studies Association; The American Association for State and Local History; Organization of American Historians; The Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. His biography is listed in Who’s Who in the East; Who’s Who in American Education; The Directory of American Scholars; and The Dictionary of International Biography and Contemporary Authors.

He was a Board Member of the Allendale Community Association, Camp Hill, PA 1969-1971, Vice-President, 1970-1971, President, 1971-1972; a faithful member of Christ Presbyterian Church, Camp Hill, PA where he was a ruling Elder 1968-1971, and 1977-1980. Clinton County Republican Executive Committee, 1963-1966. Pine Creek Township Supervisor, 1959-1961. Lycoming County Republican Executive Committee, Advisory Committee, 1956-1957; and Board Member of the Allenberry Club, 1975-1978, Board President 1977; member of the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Free Masons, Lodge No. 106, Williamsport, PA; member of the Rotary Club, Lock Haven, PA; member of the Retired PSU Harrisburg Campus Monthly Friday Group; member of the Harrisburg Civil War Roundtable; and the American Legion. He was a member of the Harrisburg Ostomy Club. As an ostomate since 1949, he has likely had the greatest longevity. He offered assistance and support to many ostomates throughout his lifetime.

He was a college athlete who played football and basketball and later in life golf and competitive tennis. He coached high school basketball and taught his grandchildren to play tennis. As an avid sports enthusiast he enjoyed attending Penn State football games, watching college basketball, and professional baseball. He loved God, America and his family. He enjoyed novels, literature, poetry, sports, and encouraged conversations about them all.

His tennis rankings as a singles and doubles Seniors Division Player are listed in the United States Tennis Association Tennis Yearbooks from 1981 to 1996 where his highest rankings were as follows: Nationally #33, Middle-Atlantic States #5, and Central Pennsylvania #1. He competed in the Pennsylvania Senior Games in tennis and badminton, where he won numerous gold medals including one in badminton with his sister Ayelien.

He enjoyed wintering in Naples, Florida at the World Tennis Center with his wife, Peg, where they played tennis, sang and socialized with many friends. They enjoyed music, reading, traveling, and live entertainment. He was a true believer in the cliche, “Love Conquers All”, and it was the story of his life. He thanked God daily for His love, good health, and the opportunity for service to others and God, which marked his life. He went home to God and Peg, the love of his life, on Valentine’s Day.

Dr. Wolf is fondly remembered by his loving family for his resilience, positive influence, enduring optimism, and constant encouragement. He was a giver of hugs who lived his life to the fullest with honor, decency and grace. His faith, courage, and bravery, in the face of the countless medical obstacles he experienced throughout his lifetime, were an inspiration to everyone.

Remembered as their adoring Papa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the role of grandfather was one he enjoyed and his message was always clear, be what you are and can be, and love one another. He took a genuine interest in everything his grandchildren were involved in and was a great listener to their developing ideas and opinions. He focused on the positives and doing their best, whatever that was for each of them. He truly believed that family love, people and giving, rather than things and receiving, were what was most important in life. (“Life Anew Beyond Three Mile Limit”, Bulletin April 1979).

He was fond of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, “The Law of the Jungle” and the passage that reads, “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” He was the Wolf and our greatest strength and his family was his Pack. He often said they were the glue that held him together. His influence upon all of us will endure forever and his family will miss him.

His daughters would like to thank the administrators, supervisors, nurses, and aides from both Homeland Hospice and Bethany Village Assisted Living for their compassionate care of their father. We would also like to thank the dedicated Asbury Home Services aides who worked closely with him over the years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in memory of Dr. George D. Wolf to the SAS Grad Fellowship Fund at the University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts and Sciences, online at main giving page www.sas.upenn.edu/gifts and then search for “The Graduate Fellowship Fund” and on the next page select in memory of Dr. George D. Wolf. If making donation by mailing a check to University of Pennsylvania, include “SAS Grad Fellowship Fund” in memory of Dr. George D. Wolf, Office of Treasurer, P.O. Box 71332, Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913 or memorial contributions may be made in his name to the New Cumberland Public Library, 1 Benjamin Plaza, New Cumberland, PA 17070.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Musselman Funeral Home in Lemoyne, PA. Burial will be at the convenience of the family and in compliance with Covid-19 regulations and restrictions.