May 22, 2017
I learned that a great friend, colleague, and mentor George Moritz passed away this afternoon at age 93. George was a lifetime member of AIBD. He was also a charter member of the Florida Residential Designers Association, the organization that would eventually become one with AIBD. George was one of only two charter members of FRDA to become members of AIBD.
I first met George shortly after my wife and I graduated from college in 1973, married and moved to Florida. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and not really knowing how I was going to parlay that degree into a career, I went on an interview for a job as a draftsman with a design firm called ‘Home Planning Service.’ I was hired that day.
I was able to learn most of the necessary skills needed to design single family homes on the job. George however gave me the opportunity to apply the creative skills I had been honing in college. Not long after starting work with George, he began taking me to meetings of the FRDA. This was the only association of professional designers other than licensed Architects that existed in Florida. I will admit it was several years before I grasped the significance of that organization to the future of my career.
Not only was George my employer, but he, his wife Dot, and their three daughters Joy, Debbie, and Faith became a surrogate family to my wife Heather and I. We had left our biological families in Michigan to start our married lives in Florida. The Moritz family included us in Holiday celebrations, Sunday dinners, and other family functions. We attended theaters and operas with Dot and George, and Christmas pageants at their church.
I continued to work with George for thirteen years. George even eventually made me a partner changing the business name to Moritz & Breeze. Like most of us in our thirties I eventually got the urge to spread my wings and try starting my own business. I left George’s employment with his blessing and understanding. My leaving did nothing to change the bond we had developed with the Moritz family. All these years later we are still made to feel a part of this family.
George was a devoted Christian, an ordained Pastor, a religious scholar, and an all-around Renaissance man. He taught himself Hebrew and probably understood that faith as well as his chosen one. George was one of the first designers to understand the productive uses of computer aided drafting and taught himself how to use it to its fullest. George and Dot established a church in the orange groves for migrant workers and I am sure used much of their own resources to keep the church functioning and help its members. George, and Dot, are the salt of the earth kind of people that would surely give you the shirt off their backs without thought of the personal consequences.
After retiring several years ago George and Dot were invited to live with their eldest daughter Joy, who is a medical Doctor, near Savanna, GA. George had suffered several strokes before the move but was enjoying his retirement in Georgia. He and Dot now had the time to devote to their individual studies and enjoy their family. Unfortunately George suffered a major stroke over this last weekend and did not regain consciousness. I spoke with Dot yesterday and she was in good spirits preparing to celebrate George’s entering into God’s greater kingdom. He did so this afternoon. He will be missed by many including his friends in AIBD.
With kindest thoughts and prayers,
Lyle Breeze, AIBD Fellow, Past National President, Past Florida Society President
[Thanks for lifting me up George]