The family of George Ybarra sadly marks his passing on June 26, 2021 at the too young age of 39. George was a well-known raconteur, international traveler, explorer and adventurer who made his mark in the fields of skydiving, and with his underwater discoveries in the Marianas Trench, his participation in Himalayan motorcycle marathons and his standing-room-only seminars on astral physics. George, above all, will be remembered as a consummate and irrepressible teller of tall tales…such as this one.
In truth, we sorrowfully mark the passing of a man who was able to reinvent himself throughout his too short life. George was a Goleta native, the first child of Margaret Caldera. He attended local schools, but the learning that defined him and marked his various paths, was the learning that he sought out for himself. He studied auto mechanics as a young man and he applied and developed his knowledge over the years. He was always willing to help family and friends with their vehicles and was proud yet humble when he could fix whatever problem he worked on. He was licensed and certified not only in automotive repair, but also in refrigeration, heating and air conditioning as well as small wastewater systems. George enjoyed applying himself to mechanical mysteries and resolving problems, often demonstrating uncanny aptitude and patience. The last seven years of his life, George’s machine focus was his dream project, the building from the ground up (actually, from the frame up) of a 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle—a daunting endeavor that sparked his imagination and fulfilled his “old-time” mechanic’s desire to overcome innumerable challenges. He approached other favorite activities in the same way, from crossword puzzles, to the word jumbles to sudokus—all of which he completed with flair. George never stopped learning and never ceased to be amazed at each new year’s new information. He retained a sense of wonder, an abiding curiosity and intense interest in the changing world. As a life- long learner, he believed in using what he learned to teach others, and he delighted in seeing how the younger generation of his family learned from their own discoveries and from the hard earned knowledge that he so generously shared.
George was proud of his motorcycle, but also of his several years of service as a volunteer transporter for the Wildlife Care Network. He was fascinated with the many types of critters that he came in contact with and helped. He loved the idea that he was aiding “the wild ones”. He was also an excellent caretaker of the household birds and cats. At home he was an incredibly handy man, always willing to tackle improvement projects. George’s passions included the beach (in particular, More Mesa), the novels of James Clavell and Clive Cussler, action movies (“real Oscar winners”) and watching “The Walking Dead” with daughter Angela. George’s most important and lasting contributions were to family. He was proud of his four children and ten grandchildren, his siblings, nieces and nephews. He loved to play with the youngsters and yes, tell them tall tales. His family was his greatest joy and brought the most meaning to his life. He always considered himself lucky to be surrounded and supported by such loving family, friends and wife. George leaves behind an enduring legacy of love, graced by his smile and playful sense of humor.
George is survived by his children Angela (Matt Collins), Christina (Aaron Gonzalez) and Michael Dore; by his sisters Stella and Eleanor Ybarra, Shari Vasquez and Beth Whitney; by his brothers Daniel, Ralph and Frank Gomez (Raquel), by his ten grandchildren, and by his wife and partner Nancy Posner. He was predeceased by his mother, son Tony Ybarra, brothers Benny Ybarra, Robert Ybarra and Henry Gomez.
We mourn his passing after a four-year fight against cancer, but we also wish to honor George’s life with a pot luck celebration planned for August 3, 2021 at Goleta Beach (group area A), from 11 am to 4 pm.
If the spirit so moves you, please consider making a donation in George’s name to the Wildlife Care Network (Goleta).