Obituary: Georgianna Hannum Stapleton

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Georgianna Hannum Stapleton

Georgianna Hannum Stapleton 

December 7, 1944 – January 17, 2017 

Born in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, to George H. Duross and Helen Curtiss, Georgianna (Georgie) Duross attended The Raven Hill School, The Springside School and The University of Pennsylvania (B.A.). Georgie was married to The Honorable Walter K. Stapleton, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. They were married for 25 years and lived at Foalsfield, their farm in Unionville, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was married to John B. (Jock) Hannum, Jr. who was a decorated Marine Corps officer in the Vietnam War. Georgie and Jock raised four children, Christianna P. Hannum, John B. Hannum III, Curtiss P.S. Hannum, and George D. Hannum.

Georgie was first employed with the Historical American Buildings Survey in Washington, D.C. as an Architectural Historian. In 1976, she founded Country Properties, a real estate firm committed to open space preservation. Her passion for open space was compelling, and she was an early, and persuasive, champion of placing conservation easements  on  landowners’  properties.  Georgie  was  chosen,  by  a  leading   conservation group, to oversee the disbursement of the King Ranch property, which resulted in the permanent preservation of over 5,000 acres in southern Chester County—an action that transformed the conservation easement movement in the community.

Georgie loved the land, but above all she loved her children, her grandchildren and her friends. Famous for her parties, dinners, and informal gatherings around the kitchen table, Georgie brought people together, from family members to Supreme Court Justices to local artisans. Foalsfield has always been filled with children swimming and fishing in the pond, Gator rides through the fields, the laughter and teasing of friends and family, and the  joy  of  being  in  Georgie’s  company.  To  all  who  knew  Georgie,  she  was  smart,   beautiful, and a loyal and generous friend. She was magnetic and fostered friendships and built community in all the places she loved, including Nantucket and Maine.

Georgie was also brave; diagnosed with cancer in 2007, her spirit never diminished. She continued to work, travel, be an avid reader, and draw people together.

Georgie served as a Board member of the Chester County Hospital, The Primitive Hall Foundation, The Chester County Planning Commission, Planned Parenthood of Chester County,  The  Women’s  Committee  of  the  Philadelphia  Orchestra  and  The  United  Way  of   Chester County. She was also a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and a Fresh Air Fund Host Family. She is survived by her husband, her four children and their father, her eight grandchildren, her sister, and her niece and nephews. A memorial service will be held on February 25th, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Church of the Loving Shepherd in West Chester, PA. A reception will follow at The Wilmington

Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Chester County Fund for Women and Girls,

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  1. Marian (Ruggles) Wenck says:

    I am thinking of her today. Her birthday is one I can never forget. I am sorry to learn of her passing knowing now why I had not heard from her. She was a classmate at Bradford where she began her college career. She loved life as few others and she is terribly missed.

  2. Perk Musacchio says:

    I remember Georgie with great fondness. Many years ago I had two of her children in my second grade class. We visited the Hannum farm and had a great time! I later reconnected with her when her grandchildren were students in a neighboring classroom. I am glad I just happened upon this obituary as I was perusing the paper. I always think of her when I drive through Unionville!
    My condolescences to her family!
    Perk Musacchio

  3. Coxey says:

    I haven’t seen Georgie for decades, since I was a girl, so I really appreciated her obituary that told me when I’m rich and loving life she led. Her early death came the same year of her life as my mothers and so it brings back a sense of real loss. My sympathies go out to her family and many friends Coxey

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