George Ewing Niles, 85, a resident of the desert area for the past 13 months, died Tuesday, May 30, 2000, in Monterey Palms Care Center in Palm Desert. He had struggled for more than three years with lung and bone cancer.
Prior to living in the desert, he was an Idyllwild resident since 1980 where he built two homes for himself and his late wife, Virginia Lowe Niles. Mrs. Niles was well-known for her watercolor paintings.
Mr. Niles was born Sept. 17, 1914, in New Lebanon, Ind. As a boy in Arizona, he used his sharp-shooting skills to bring home rabbits for the family dinner and nursed a baby porcupine back to health. When he returned home with some college friends five or six years later, the same porcupine greeted him, allowing him to scratch its tummy.
He received bachelorÍs and masterÍs degrees from the University of Indiana, did a yearÍs graduate study at the University of Chicago and received a masterÍs degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Working in the areas of chemical research, he designed capacitors for P.R. Mallory in Indianapolis and developed a high quality paper for the Mead Paper Corp. in Ohio using the usually disregarded hardwoods from swampy areas.
He then worked for Emerson and Cummings in Massachusetts and California, working on microwave technology and test chambers. His research unit developed stealth materials used on the B2 Bomber plane. He was in Europe for three years troubleshooting for the company, checking on its Denmark plant and assisting customers with company products. He also was a professional photographer, doing advertising photos for the company.
With his fine bass voice, Mr. Niles sung in a variety of choirs across the country. He sang in at least 40 productions of HandelÍs ñMessiah,î a number of which were in Idyllwild.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting, archery and hiking. He was a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, helping both his sons become Eagle Scouts. He and his late wife, Virginia, traveled in their motor home to many beautiful spots in the country where she would paint and he would take photos. Though unable to attend meetings in Idyllwild, Mr. Niles was a 32-degree Mason. He had studied Masonic history and dogma in details and contributed to the organizationÍs childrenÍs hospitals and its education fund for children with handicaps.
He told stories of his European adventures, such as seeing a procession of medieval ghosts at a German Catholic Cathedral.
A memorial service is planned for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 18, at the Idyllwild Community Presbyterian Church with a reception following in the meeting room.
Viewing and Masonic service were from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, June 2, in the Palm Springs Mortuary in Cathedral City.
Mr. Niles is survived by this third wife, Marian Mast Niles; three children, Richard Larimore Niles and wife Sara Ballard of Fort Wayne, Ind., Robert Ewing Niles of Dayton, Maine, and Janet Niles Dewitt of Fort Wayne, Ind.; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his second wifeÍs children, Barbara Lowe Lascelles and husband Rowley, of Apple Valley, and Roberta Lowe Griset, husband John and four children, all of Santa Ana.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 3160 Geneva St., Los Angeles, CA 90020- 1199; or Eisenhower Hospice Education Fund, 42-201 Beacon Hill, Ste. B, Palm Desert, CA 92211.