His name was George O. Skrba.  He was born in 1950, was wounded three times in Viet Nam, manned a 60 caliber machine gun, was a Crew Chief on a Huey, and died November of 2011.  Like many other vets who came back from Viet Nam, he was not greeted with cheers and open arms.  The combination of the PTSD and the leftover metal in his body made life difficult and painful for George. For reasons I don’t know, the world erased George.

Copyright Brian Struble

He had no presence, no one knew much about his past, and his future is now in God’s hands. The powers that be chose to not have an obituary, wake, or a eulogy for George.  He was cremated in a day and for all intensive purposes he’s evaporated.  George’s and my path only crossed a dozen or so in the last three years.  I couldn’t call him a close friend, but I can say he had intense, beautiful but troubled eyes, a great smile, and was a thoroughly warm and lovely human being.  George was the Bobby Kyle Band’s sound engineer.  On one of our pro workshops, I said to George, I have to do an environmental portrait of you.  He was excited.  Unfortunately, that portrait sitting never happened. What does this have to do with photography?  Just this – Get off your Ass, get off your BUT and make the photos you want to make because they might never be made. Life is precious and fleeting. It moves at the speed if light.  That’s the lesson I choose to share with you today.  My good friend Bobby Kyle will be putting together a tribute to George and I will give All The Ships At Sea the date and time if you’d like to join us.  Big thanks to Brian Struble who sent me off a portrait of George that he made at our Pro Workshop that day.

George, I had the utmost respect for you. I will take off my Beret and say a prayer.  JoeD

Copyright Joe DiMaggio

Copyright Joe DiMaggio

Copyright Joe DiMaggio

Copyright Joe DiMaggio

36 responses to “George

  1. I worked with George for many years and only heard of his passing today, January 5th. He was a kind, thoughtful and beautiful person, an excellent electronics technician, a faithful Union Brother and a good friend to all in the years before his early retirement due to his injuries. In that time he rarely complained about his troubles but was always ready to counsel and help to solve the problems of others. I was honored to be present in the studio when he recorded several of his tracks with LZ in Boonton NJ many years ago and it is good to know he was making music until the end. Why he was “erased” I know not but his light cannot be erased from those he touched. George, I will always remember you in my prayers, RIP Zeke

  2. My name is Matthew (Skrba) Savacool. I am 42 years old. George Otto Skrba was my biological father and although we never met in our lifetime, I don’t resent that fact nor do I have any grudges against him for us not being closer.. I served for years in the Marine Corps and luckily never had to endure the physical and mental horrors of war that George did.. I am empathetic to what he must have gone through…. He seemed like a thoughtful and talented human being and I only wish I could have gotten to meet him before his passing..

    -Matt (Skrba) Savacool

    • I only found out that George had passed away today, February 28, 2012 while surfing the web with his name.. I did that from time to time to see what he may be up to these days… I was surprised to say the least that he died.. It does not surprise me though that his extended family did not do more in his recognition unless George wanted it that way..

      • Let me know how to contact you. Would like to know more about George. He had three Grandsons that he never met.. one of whom was just born on 9/21/12 🙂


      • Joe,  Thank you for making this page for George,  Hopefully his son Matt and I can meet i can be reach at 908-233-4455 which is my business The Station Bar & Grill at  99 Center Street, Garwood or he can call me on my cell @ 908-591-6426 Thanks Aga

      • Matt, I just happened to come back onto this site. I own The Station Bar & Grill, 99 Center Street, Garwood. 908-233-4455 or you can call me on my cell @ 908-591-6426

    • Hi Matt,

      I knew George in high school and he was just a great guy. He was one of the coolest people I knew. He was dating (I think) Mary Savacool. Is this your Mom? I don’t know if she would remember me. I went to WHS and she went to Berkeley Heights High. Remember me to her. I won’t ever forget George. He has not be erased from this world, only relieved of the pain of it. RIP, Mr. Skrba. You were loved. Susan Brown

    • Hi Matt. My name is Dee and I went to WHS. I was a couple years younger than your dad and we dated for awhile. We stayed in touch a little bit during the Vietnam war and I saw him a couple times after the war. He was a kind and wonderful person and I liked him very much. I am sorry we lost track of each other. I have my yearbook with his pictures. He was very handsome. We went to the Mid- winter Ball together.. all dressed up. I had a lot of fun with him. He was always a gentleman and a friend. I am so sorry to hear that he passed. I just saw it online nowl. If you would like a copy of the photos please let me know and I will look for them and email them to you. Good luck to you, God bless. Please contact me if you would like to.

    • hey matt i would love to speak to you sometime about George. i even friended u on face book. im the last post on this page i knew him for 10 years. & was his roomate in the last 7 months of his life. i miss him dearly he talked about you but was told to have no contact with you. its so sad u had to learn about his death. but i want you to learn about his life. please contact me id like to call you sometime.

  3. I suspect everyone from WHS would agree that George was one of the nicest people. I always looked up to him, and often wondered what he might be doing today. I’m saddened to learn of his passing, and of the difficulties he endured after HS. RIP George. The world didn’t erase you. On the contrary, there are many who remember you fondly. If you didn’t know it in life, the lord willing, you know it now.

  4. I graduated with George, we went all through school together. I just found out that he passed away today March 9, 2012. George was always so pleasant and sweet, the last time I saw him had to be at least 15 years ago or maybe more, it was a Westfield High School reunion. I hope he can rest in peace and pain free, thank-you George for defending our country in Viet Nam, and for your sacrafice.

  5. Very well said, Chris! As we found out today, on Face Book, after I posted this blog, there are so many people, who knew George, that had wonderful things to say. Was in touch with him, via emails about 15 yrs ago, then the emails stopped. Always wondered what happened~

    RIP, George, you were never forgotten!!! Love, Sam

  6. As Chris I’ve only learned of Georges passing this morning. I remember him as a great guy. He was to me the coolest kid in the school….As I sit here at work I consider myself very lucky to have lived this long and to have known so many wonderful people. He will be missed……..

  7. i knew george and his brother marty since grade school, he was like the cool older brother i wished i had .

  8. Why such a melodramatic, morose picture of a multidimensional human?
    Having been a close childhood friend of George’s, our paths crossed several times
    in adulthood. He generously share his music and poetry with me. He had been an adoring father and husband. He made contributions to his community and to the world. Why paint such a melodramatic, morose picture of a this multidimensional
    It’s all about love and touching people’s hearts. If one reaches one person in his/her lifetime, bravo. George touched/reached many. George rocked.
    Sounds like the last several years he wasn’t well, therefore, that was the George you knew—not the George I knew or the world knew. So be it.
    So weird I found this news today. How did I find this on the web?
    Love the photo/portrait. Beautiful, like the man.

  9. Almost all of my memories of George were from long before Vietnam, although I do remember him returning after the war in a pretty spiffy uniform. I met George when we were about 6 or 7 years old. He lived across the street from us on South Ave. before the family moved over to Trinity Place near the High School. George was a Leader. He would make up a club and invite others to be in it so they could be in HIS club. George was a very funny guy when he was younger. He made up a club called “THE GINKIES” of which he was the President. The other original members were George, Mike Powers, Brian Ellsworth, Geoff Mann, and I. Later Bruce Ellsworth joined, and possibly Marty Skrba, and I think Robbie Selig. George would make us all take a large glass of milk, and holding it in our mouths, he would try to make us laugh and see who could hold in the milk the longest. And that’s one of the only stories that might be appropriate for a mixed adult audience. Another time, George had 4 or 5 of us dress in drag with our mother’s bathing suits, and had pictures taken of us. I still might have one of those old photos deep in my archives. George was a very talented musician, and really loved his guitar. His mother was a painter, and George got a good bit of talent from her, I believe. One time George and I got into a fistfight/wrestling match after the family had moved to Trinity Pl. His mother came out and told us to “break it up” and pulled him off me and held him back. Like an idiot that I was at the time I said, “Oh Georgie, look, hiding behind his mother’s skirts!” His mother looked at me, then looked at George, and calmly said” Kick his Ass, George!” And he did…. I remember trying to look him up long after Vietnam, and someone told me he was a successful Chiropractor somewhere in North Jersey. Never heard back from him. I think everyone who knew him, knew him as a really cool, really good guy! Aloha, George!

  10. I went through school with George, I am shocked, saddened, and feel like the world lost a great & good wholesome person. We all prepare for a birth of a child, but, we are never taught or introduced to the loss of a friend of loved one. I will always remember the laughs, the music and the friendship that George had shown all.
    He was never selfish, he was always outgoing and there for anyone who needed help. I knew Marty, and, our prayers are with the entire family.

  11. George was my first boyfriend at age 14 and we remained friends for more than 25 years after that. There was never a kinder person. Be at peace, George.

  12. I knew George during the summer of 1971 in Green Mountain Falls, CO; he was traveling with a guy named Mick and playing music. My girlfriend and I thought they were the coolest guys and we traveled with them for a time. I remember that he wrote some of the most beautiful poetry I had ever heard. We lost touch after that, and I have wondered about him and his life. I was recently going through some old photos and letters and found a poem he had written which made me think to look for him on the internet. I was surprised and saddened to hear of his death. Laura Hornaday

  13. I rented a room from George from april to november & was with him the day he passed. he died at his home at 8 adams dr. in ogdesnburg nj in his sleep peacefully on sunday, november 20,2011 around 5:30 pm. he was my best friend. the sunday before thanksgiving. he was always there for me the 10 years i knew him. i had a stroke that april & he was a god send he took me to dr. appointments & pushed me to get well he will be forever in my heart for all he did for me. im doing great & have him to thank. he told me about his past what an amazing sad & wild life he had,was in the army in Vietnam flew in choppers called Heuey’s maning a 60 cal. machine gun with rock music blairing in his headphones, he left the army with honarable discharge He was even in a chopper crash because the transmission went & they went down. after vietnam (then he ended in colorado) he tried to make the 1st marriage work but in his life he ended up having kids & grandkids some he never met. which saddened him always. & second marriage in nj raised a girl& 2 boys both endeded in divorce. Vanessa was his eldest from his second marriage had just had a baby boy. he couldnt wait to meet him, but passed just before he could. he was sooo proud. also, what a free sprit he was with his long blond hair after vietnam & the first divorce he hitchhicked & jumped trains traveled the U.S. in his more recent years he loved to go tanning at Bella Boutique spa & salon which helped his PTSD i was management there & did massage therapy. he went to the Oburg deli daily, & Greens Beans coffee shop in sparta. he knew them so well they even made coffee called “Georges Blend”. he wrote poetry & songs played Bass at the Water Wheel in milford pa & at 6West. he played for the Bobby Kyle Band. also wrote & directed his own lyrics. He always called himself a rockstar in his own mind.he was very talented, some people didnt know but he was also a genious. God bless George Otto Skrba for all the lives he saved & touched. he truly was a proud american hero & he had the coolest room in his basement to prove it, dedicated to all he survived in Vietnam medals awards & many photo albums & pictures. rest in peace george there is a special place in heaven for you. you were even an angel on earth.

    • Happy New Year and thank you so much for sharing that Alison. It’s enlightening to here that George was such a cool and caring human being to so many of you.. Wish that I could have met him and am pretty sure that his 3 grandsons Blake 12, Alek 9, and sweet baby James 4 months would have touched his heart as they do mine… I always knew in my mind that he was a better man than I was raised to believe… my thoughts were proven to be true from what I have read… i believe our about him

      God Bless!

      Matt Savacool (Skrba)

      • Hello Matt.. We never met but your father was a good friend of mine back in the hippie days of the 1960’s. He was a bass player for the band Blue Underground. I was trying to find him myself for the past few years until I found out thru this page of his passing a few years ago. I’m sorry I missed hooking up with him,it would have been a great reunion. Another friend of ours was Bob Bradbury also from westfield. I recently told him of Georges passing. I feel sad we couldn’t hook up he was a great pal and we had great times together back in the day. No matter what anybody says about him in a negative manner ,well,it just ain’t true. I knew the real george and there will only be kind thoughts of him in my mind. Best of luck to you and your family. Doug Majewski, Trenton ,N.J.

  14. George had been a friend of mine since 1973. We played in Maidencaine and LZ.
    We played/recorded music together throughout the years. We also got together socially when he lived Morristown,Randolph and Ogdensburg. We were best friends for almost 40 years and I miss him greatly.

  15. Could someone please tell me how George died? I don’t need a lot of details but I’m hoping it was nothing drawn out. I know he had health issues from Vietnam. As I said earlier, George and I were friends from middle school well into our forties. We lost touch after that. Wish we hadn’t.

  16. I lived on Dorian Road when I was little but moved to Golf Edge at the time I met George. My sister, Donna, was Marty’s age. When I was in my teens we moved to Point Pleasant. George would still come see me. We spent many nights sitting on the beach talking until morning. My maiden name is Serbe.

  17. I and a friend of mine were thinking of old friends we had back in the 1960’s and George’s name came up several times over the past couple of years. If this is the same George that we knew then,and it sure looks like him ,we knew him in Westfield New Jersey . He was a Bass player for the band called The Blue Underground. We use to hang out at a soda shop called Shades in the center of town. George had a brother Marty . I lost contact with him after he came home from boot camp and all through the years wondered what became of him. We had some great times together back in the old Hippie days. George always had long blonde hair and this george looks just like him. If this is the same person I am sorry that i never had a chance to hook up with him many years ago. I am just starting to find people I knew from back in the day and I wish he was still here. I’ll tell our other friends about his passing and I know they will be as sad as I feel right now. He was a good friend and we shared some classic youthful times together. I hope he had a good life and was happy throughout his life..As I read the other comments it seems he did. Thinking the best things of you old friend,God Bless.. Douglas Majewski,Trenton,N,J,8/22.16..

  18. I knew George back in the 1960’s era when he was the bassman for the blue underground. Some of the names of people responding to this page I remember. I used to live in Garwood and I was also good friends with Bob Bradbury. The 3 of us hung out on a regular basis … Some great times and memories. I lost track of George after he came back from boot camp then I guess went to Nam. Somehow we never hooked up again, what a shame. I’ve been looking for him for several years and it looks like I’m a little late in finding him. We would have had a great reunion after all these years. He was a great friend then and will always be in my thoughts . Great friends are never forgotten in a lifetime..

  19. Rest in Peace George. You were a good friend and as someone’s already stated, a great Comm Tech; I knew if I gave you a trouble to shoot, that you did your best and I didn’t need to worry, it was taken care of. I always thought we would bump into each other someday and have another BS session, but that was not to be. George on youtube:

  20. I knew George and only recently found this web page by trying to find him. I met him in 1973. I was working at a diner in Morristown. We became quite close and this lasted for a few years…. At the time he worked at Morristown Memorial hospital and was part of Maiden Caine. He lived on Franklin St. and drove a black Volkswagen Beetle. For this short time, we spent a lot of time together and I was struck by his sense of humor, his dedication to music and many other things. We had fun and this was due to his outlook on life.

    I recall his discomfort from the helicopter crash, but he did not complain.

    As I was a bit younger- of course I was smitten… but as time passed, I realized that I was just a lucky person to be his friend and all those who met him felt the same way.

    Matthew, he was a kind and caring person, doing the best he cold do. I am so sorry to hear of his passing, but he will not be forgotten.

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