The BIG 5: George Rountree

George Rountree III

A native of Wilmington, George Rountree served in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He attended the University of Arizona, graduate of 1955, and played on the men’s varsity basketball team. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of UNCW, has been inducted into the NC Bar Association General Practice Hall of Fame, the UNCW Sport’s Hall of Fame, and was the recipient of Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame’s First Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a loving husband to his wife Sylvia, and a father of six children.


On a general note, “I hope that my older age has produced an understanding that one should not take himself too seriously.  Very few others do.”


1) What is the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before retiring in the evening?

Answer: When I wake up, the first thing that I do is perform a series of stretching exercises for my ankles, knees, lower back, and neck. In late February 1953 toward the end of the game between the University of Arizona, for which I played, and West Texas State in Tucson, I was undercut and flipped on my back. At age 19, I got up and kept on going; however, beginning about 12 years ago, back and leg cramps became egregiously disabling. The stretching exercise regimen enables me to get up, move, and function freely. The last things I do before retiring are read the current issue of the Wall Street Journal and, then, focus on a novel with James Bond type excitement.


2) What is your guilty pleasure?

Answer: I have a distinct guilty pleasure and that is smoking a good cigar on my porch. Only one. The cigar tranquilizes and distracts me from self-concerns and worries.


3) If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Answer: If I were a superhero, I would divine a superior method of determining what youngsters can absorb and assimilate, what they can learn, and how they can transform such teaching into a personal lifetime of constructive self-sufficiency. My superpower would require that all such successful, self-sufficient persons would be compelled to share their successes with the less fortunate and to practice charity. Of those who have much, much is expected.


4) If you could become an animal, which animal would it be?

Answer: I would become a lion which staked out my turf and defied invasion. I would respect and care for my mate and let the cubs “out-of-the-house” to fend for themselves at an early age. Necessity and expediency are great teachers.


5) What do you most enjoy about the Cape Fear region?

Answer: About Wilmington, I enjoy Wrightsville Beach and the other beaches; I enjoy excellent food properly and timely served, and I enjoy observing the transformation of interracial relationships, which have vastly changed, for the better I believe since I remember catching the streetcar at 18th and Market for deposit to my grandfather’s care at Front and Princess to go to the Bijou to watch the Lone Ranger, Johnny Mack Brown, Roy Rogers, and the Durango Kid.