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George Merritt Polk, Jr.

Obituary for George Merritt Polk, Jr.

June 21, 1925 - January 7, 2018
Clemson, South Carolina | Age 92


George M. Polk, Jr.
Clemson, SC

Born in Independence, Missouri in 1925, George was the son of the late Dr. George Merritt Polk, M.D. and Agnes Annabell Messersmith Polk.

After serving as an Army Medic during WWII, he graduated from the University of Kansas, married Sarah Jane Belt in 1949 and earned a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Oklahoma. They lived for the next 25 years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where George practiced architecture. During those years George served as Chairman of the Broward County Planning Commission, as President of the Audubon Society and as Commodore of the Gulf Steam Sailing Club. He was on the faculty and taught at Broward Community College and later at Miami Dade College.

After moving to Clemson to teach at the University in 1977, he became active in conservation through the Sierra Club Foothills Group and Forest Watch. He shared his love of nature by actively leading hikes, writing a column in the Foothills Group Newsletter, contributing his art for the Trail Head signs. George was also an avid sailor, and served as Commodore of the Keowee Sailing Club in Seneca, SC. He retired as a Professor from the Architectural Department at Clemson University in 1989. George sketched, designed and painted his way through life. He transformed his personal and professional experiences into different artistic expressions, and left behind a legacy of creativity for family and friends.

In addition to his wife Jane, he is survived by his children, Susan Jen (Michael) Phillips of St. Ignatias, Montana; Ann Scott Polk (Jim) Ewel of Bellevue, Washington; Daniel George(Pamela) Polk of Salem, SC; and Sarah Merritt (Jan Gustafsson) Polk of Gothenborg, Sweden. He had five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A service in celebration of his life will be at 11:30 a.m., January 26th at Fort Hill Presbyterian Church.

The family will greet friends immediately following the service in Tartan Hall at Fort Hill Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to: South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, Foothills Group, P.O. Box 2388, Columbia SC, 29202, and Fort Hill Presbyterian Church, 101 Edgewood Ave., Clemson, 29631.

Condolences may be expressed online at or Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home, Central, SC.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • S.C. Chapter of Sierra Club, Foothills Group
    P.O. Box 2388
    Columbia, SC 29202

Arrangements By

Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory

108 Cross Creek Road
Central, SC 29630
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