Former Gulfport Mayor and Hancock Bank president George Schloegel passed away in his sleep Friday morning.
Shloegel, 83, took over as mayor of the state’s second-largest city in 2009 following his role in helping the community recover from Hurricane Katrina. He was mayor for one term and retired in 2013.
Prior to his time in office, Schloegel served as president of Hancock Bank after working his way up from the bank’s basement as a high schooler to the chairman’s seat. He was later honored in 2004 for his workplace success by being inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.
“As a civic leader, he had no equal, devoting endless time and energy for the betterment of a community he dearly loved. George always saw what was possible, engaging on all fronts to find common ground to bring about better opportunities, for all,” current Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes said of Schloegel’s passing.
“As a business leader, he made community service a hallmark of his career, instilling those values in his family and employees, and providing leadership at national, state, and local levels. For so many of us, George was a mentor, an advisor, and a friend. A true Ambassador for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.”
Schloegel founded the Harrison County Strategic Planning Commission and he served as chairman of Mississippi’s Workforce Investment Board.
He was on the executive board of the Mississippi Municipal League, a member of the Harrison County Utility Authority, and served on the Advisory Board for Tulane University Coast Campus.
The former mayor was named Mississippi’s Young Man of the Year in 1964 and was given the Laurel Wreath Citizen of the Year Award and the Rotary Club’s William Harris Hardy Founders Award in 1999.
He also is a past recipient of the United States Navy Superior Public Service Award, the Santucci Spirit of the Gulf Coast Award, and the NAACP Humanitarian Award.
“George was a community icon. He once told me when I asked about his legacy that he didn’t want to be remembered. What he went on to say is he wanted people to remember the leaders he mentored and their contributions and the improvements in the community he contributed towards,” Ricky Mathews, host of The Ricky Mathews Show and SuperTalk Outdoors, stated.
“I summed George up in that interview as epitomizing leadership by example. He was a selfless, servant leader. He was a community mentor to me and many others. His legacy will continue to inspire.”
A funeral mass will be held at St. James Catholic Church in Gulfport. The burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery. Specific dates and times are not available as of now.
Below is an interview Mathews conducted with Schloegel just one month prior to the former mayor’s passing.