Back in the early 1980s when I was listening to several Amway cassette tapes a week, it was not uncommon that one of the tapes would have George and Ruth Halsey speaking to a crowd of excited Amway distributors about becoming Amway’s first Triple Diamond Distributor. (Triple Diamond was a designation of a high level of achievement in building an Amway business)
From North Carolina, the Halseys had a “folksy”, homespun, charming aire about themselves and they spoke like parents to the throngs of listeners. George often referred to his wife as “Momma”.
As the first African-Americans to rise to notable ranks through Amway, they seemed to speak in a manner, that if they could do it, so could the listener.
I learned yesterday via “Tex’s Amway Global/Quixtar Blog” that George Halsey had passed away.
Tex seemed to think that with George’s passing, Amway Global and their critics would have one less “lying, cowardly kingpin” to deal with. And yes, I suppose over the past 25 years since I have heard a “George Halsey and Momma” motivational tape, that maybe George succumbed to the greed and avarice of promoting a motivational system beyond the intended purpose of helping other Amway distributors accomplish what he had done–but, I’d kinda like to have my one lasting memory of George stay the same.
My memory is George loved his wife. When he talked about her, he seemed to get nervous.
“Momma and me,” (and then he would cough) “Momma and me,” (maybe it was a stifled laugh) “we wanted it bad,”( maybe he was just clearing his throat)
It always seemed like George was going to say something “off-color” or slightly risque’ and was trying to catch himself. I was never sure if the coughing and clearing his throat was a nervous speech pattern or something quite different. And then to cap it off–after finally finishing whatever innocuous story he was telling about “Momma and Me”; he would sorta giggle. Like, he wanted us to “catch the drift” he was trying to convey. That’s my memory of George Halsey.
FROM GEORGE HALSEY’S OBITUARY:
GREENSBORO — George Thomas Halsey, Jr., 72, went home to be with Jesus on Tuesday, September 2, 2008, at Moses Cone Hospital after a lengthy illness surrounded by his family and friends.
Funeral services will be held 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 6, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1301 Alamance Church Road, Greensboro, NC 27406, with the Rev. George W. Brooks officiating. Burial will follow in Guilford Memorial Park.
Mr. Halsey was born on April 2, 1936, in Wilmington, N.C., to the late George T. Halsey, Sr. and the late Inez Halsey.
He was a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, music major where he became a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. After graduating, Mr. Halsey had a full and exciting life. He was a Greensboro Police Officer then a claims adjuster for Nationwide Insurance Company. In 1975, he was introduced to the Amway Business. George and his wife, Ruth quickly became the first black couple in the history of the company to achieve the level of Triple Diamond. That achievement allowed him to travel all over the world, for pleasure and to motivate thousands. He was known for his big smile, bright eyes, loving and kind nature. He and his family were featured in the Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine, Black Enterprise and several well known books spotlighting their achievements.
George deeply loved his family….