George Joseph McPherson Jr.

george mcpherson

On August 3, 2023, George Joseph McPherson, Jr. (86), of McLean, Virginia, a dedicated engineer, innovative thinker, and beloved family man, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at his home. Born on June 16, 1937, in Brooklyn, NY, George’s journey from humble beginnings to influential innovator speaks volumes of his perseverance, intelligence, and commitment.

George graduated from the University of Denver in 1959, earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. His remarkable career journey began at Martin Marietta Corporation. It then evolved through significant stints at Bellcomm and The Aerospace Corporation, culminating in over 40 years of dedicated service at MITRE, from which he only recently retired in May 2023. During these pivotal years, George was integral to groundbreaking projects, including the development of the Enterprise space shuttle and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), more popularly known as the Star Wars Program.

One of the most profound episodes in George’s life was his survival of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, an event that imprinted upon him the fragility of life and the imperative of living purposefully.

Beyond his professional achievements, George’s greatest pride and joy was his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Anita McPherson. Their bond of mutual respect and love gave life to two wonderful daughters, Lara McPherson and Courtney Gwinup, the latter married to John C. Gwinup. His legacy is further enshrined in the memories of his four adored grandchildren: Brandon Gwinup, Ashleigh Gwinup, Brittany Gwinup, and Caitlin Gwinup; four great grandchildren: Eveline Gwinup, Scarlett Gwinup, Hunter Gwinup, and Kash Knight; and a sister Carol Stamm.

George was an avid traveler, particularly enamored with the enchanting charm of Europe. He relished the art, history, and culture that the continent had to offer. Among his cherished adventures were the annual pilgrimages he made to the breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. The serene beauty of the Highlands held a special place in his heart, and he treasured every moment spent amidst its majestic scenery. George’s passion for travel enriched his life and left a lasting impression on all who knew him.

George’s legacy is not just in the innovations he brought to his field but in the wisdom, warmth, and values he instilled in his family. He lived a life of purpose, and his impact, both professionally and personally, will be felt for generations.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in George’s name, in the spirit of extending help and hope to others.

Rest in peace, George. Your legacy of love, innovation, and wisdom will forever remain in our hearts.


Visitation: August 9, 2023 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

St. Luke Catholic Church
7001 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101


Mass of Christian Burial : August 9, 2023 12:00 pm

St Luke Catholic Church
7001 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101


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Memories Timeline


  1. Dee and Family,
    Please accept my most sincere thoughts and condolences on the passing of George. He was a significant influence on my MITRE career as a leader, mentor, and more importantly my friend. As I too battle cancer, he was a confidante and warrior that I could reach out to and draw strength from by his example. I will cherish my memories working with him, drinking coffee and eating cookies while we caught up on each other’s daily activities and family news. He is always in my heart. God bless and keep the McPherson Family.
    Scott and Tara Lee

  2. Dee and Family,
    I am very saddened to hear of the passing of George. Please accept my deepest sympathies and condolences. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know George and his work in the Army Division at MITRE over the last 15 years. It was always a highlight of my trips to McLean to see George in the office and discuss my current work and gain from his mentorship and years of experience. He was always kind, cordial, and generous with his time and feedback. His long and loyal service to his family, community, MITRE, and the Nation are an example for all of us to follow. I will keep George and your entire family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
    David Farrell

  3. God bless your soul. You and your work ethics inspired all of us who worked with you. You will be truly missed. Thank you for your company and service.

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