Retired Navy Cmdr. George Washington Wiese, who died June 10 at age 102, was never a physician, but for more than 40 years, his fascination with medicine kept him involved with the health and well-being of Navy personnel aboard ships and in hospitals, medical schools and laboratories.
A former administrator at the U.S. Navy Medical School and an officer at the National Naval Medical Center, both in Bethesda, he was a resident of a retirement home in Tacoma, Wash., when he died of aspiration pneumonia.
Cmdr. Wiese was born on a farm near Keystone, Iowa, on July 4, 1902, and his parents named him in a timely burst of patriotism.
He had set his mind on joining the Marine Corps, but when he saw that a woman was behind the desk at the recruiting station one day in 1922, he was confused. He walked across the street and enlisted in the Navy, beginning a 42-year career.
Early on, he trained as a pharmacist and served on a hospital ship sailing between Honolulu and Australia. He also learned laboratory technique and blood work and, by the late 1920s, was training to become a hospital administrator.
He became the acting medical officer aboard the destroyer Lamson, which in 1937 participated in the search for aviator Amelia Earhart.
About that time, he also trained WAVES to become Navy nurses, taught first aid at Navy boot camps and worked as an agriculture inspector assessing meat processing plants.
Cmdr. Wiese was, in Navy argot, a "mustang," meaning he worked his way up through the ranks to become a chief warrant officer -- an enlisted person's highest rank. He was accepted into officers' training school and then hospital training school, where in 1940 he graduated first in his class and was commissioned a lieutenant.
During World War II, he trained hospital corpsmen and worked as an administrative officer at a convalescent hospital in Idaho for Marines returning from fighting at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.
Promoted to commander in 1955, he became the administrator for the U.S. Naval Medical School in 1956 and retired from that position in 1964. He later managed the post exchange at the U.S. Naval Intelligence Center in the District.
Although his eyesight worsened because of macular degeneration, he continued to clean, cook and care for his ill wife of 72 years, Helen Leach Wiese, until her death in 2002. That year, he moved to Tacoma from Rossmoor Leisure World in Silver Spring.
Survivors include two children, Patsy Lawrence of Austin and Dr. Michael Wiese of Steilacoom, Wash.; nine grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.