Attletweed, George: Founder of the Ohlone Deaf Center and Deaf Studies Program (In Memoriam)

George Attletweed was a native of Oakland and graduate of the California School for the Deaf.  Before joining Ohlone, George taught Deaf Studies in San Jose schools from 1966 to 1974.  He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education from San Francisco State University.

George began teaching American Sign Language as a part-time faculty member in 1971.  In 1972 he was hired full-time to head up the Deaf Center.  He worked with fellow teacher Ellen Brewer to offer Deaf Education classes for 15-16 Deaf students and added more ASL classes.  He also formed the Flying Hands, a club for Deaf students at the college.

In 1985, the governor appointed George to the California Advisory Commission on Special Education; he was the only Deaf person on that panel.  In 1989, the state Senate and Assembly approved a resolution honoring him for his work.  Over the years, he also served on numerous advisory groups at the California School for the Deaf.  He was a member of the California Association for the Deaf, the National Association for the Deaf and D.E.A.F. Media Inc.

George passed away unexpectedly in 1991, at the age of 60 and after 20 years of service with Ohlone.  George was highly regarded at Ohlone and at his memorial service he was fondly remembered as a champion of the Deaf.  ”He was to the deaf community what Martin Luther King was to the black community,” said John Baker, division director of counseling at the Fremont college.  “He was a giant, and his loss is immense,” Baker said. “Some people become great after they die. He was great before death.”