George Longenecker: In Memoriam

George Longenecker at Fallingwater in 2019.As a mentor, teacher and friend to many, George Longenecker was an advisor to Fallingwater for nearly 40 years. His love of teaching, warmth and sincerity­­–and his passion for Fallingwater and Frank Lloyd Wright–made him a much-loved member of the Fallingwater family.

Since the late 1980s, George traveled to Fallingwater every summer to advise interns participating in the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Landscape Internship program. Dubbed the “plant whisper” by the interns, George inspired students to listen to nature and pay close attention to the deep connection we all have to the natural world. Earlier this year, George was honored with a stone bench alongside Bear Run in recognition of his contributions to Fallingwater.

George Longenecker discusses plant selection and care with the 2022 Fallingwater landscape interns.In addition to teaching in the landscape architecture program at West Virginia University for 39 years, George was the founder and executive director of the West Virginia Botanic Garden for 26 years. For his work at the Botanic Garden, he received the 2018 National Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs. George also holds the distinction of being West Virginia’s first licensed landscape architect and served for 11 years as a board member of the West Virginia State Board of Landscape Architects, making him instrumental in the licensure of other landscape architects.

George Longenecker and many of his past interns pose at the stone bench along Bear Run that was dedicated in spring 2023 in recognition of his contributions to Fallingwater.George’s recent passing is a tremendous loss for all of us. But, his example of leadership, support and generosity will live on fondly in our hearts and as part of the Fallingwater story. He will be greatly missed.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, October 27, 2023, from 3-7:00 p.m. at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. A celebration of life service will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 28. Read his obituary that shares even more details about his amazing life.

The staff and volunteers of Fallingwater, and all of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to George’s family and so many others who cherished him.

Justin W. Gunther
Director, Fallingwater
Vice President, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Read more about George’s work and legacy as an advisor to many of our landscape interns.