Obituary: George English, an electronics industry stalwart, 1935-2020

18 July 2020

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The Leadership Group of electronics industry trade association, the Electronic Components Supply Network (ecsn) was saddened to learn of the death of George English, founder of G. English Electronics Ltd. (GELEC). George died in the ‘Hospice in the Weald’ (Kent) on 1st July 2020, aged 85, after a short illness. George will be sadly missed by his wife, Elizabeth, and children, Susan, David & Tracy, and his six grandchildren.

George Ernest English was born in London in 1935. In 1951, he joined the Royal Navy as an engineering artificer and quickly developed the interest in electrical/electronic engineering that was to become his lifelong passion. He served with the Navy in South East Asia for many years, but it was during a spell ashore in Glasgow that he met Elizabeth, his future wife. The couple married in 1960.

At the end of his exemplary Naval service, George and Elizabeth returned to the UK, where George was able to put his technical skills to good use as a customer support engineer with AEI Cables, before moving to McMurdo in Portsmouth, and eventually to Distronic, the Harlow based distributor of electronic components.

George struck out for himself in April 1975, when he founded G. English Electronics Ltd. (GELEC), initially to buy and sell surplus electronic components. The company prospered, and George was able to amass sufficient financial resources to attract the interest of well-established manufacturers of electronic components and fund the purchase of a working inventory of desirable parts. G. English Electronics Ltd. became a franchised distributor of electronic components in early 1978.

Most of George’s service with the Royal Navy was spent in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Korea, where he developed a keen understanding of Far Eastern cultures, knowledge he was later able put to good use when negotiating franchise distribution agreements with reliable, competitively priced components manufacturers in these regions. Many of the business relationships and supply lines George secured during his frequent trips to S.E. Asia are still in place today. He remains widely regarded as the man who showed others the way to source electronic components from Asia and how to profile an effective UK stock holding of imported parts.

Paying tribute to an industry stalwart, ecsn chairman, Adam Fletcher said that George will be fondly remembered by colleagues throughout the electronic components distribution industry: “Prior to his retirement in 1999, George was a keen contributor to AFDEC (the association of franchised distributors of electronic components), and the company he founded has been an active member of AFDEC, and its successor, the ECSN trade association for over thirty-two years.”

The company that George founded is now in its 45th year, and continues as a family-owned business, with George’s son, David at the helm. Today, GELEC has a subsidiary in China and a distribution centre in Hong Kong.


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