George Edward Falls, Jr.

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

While we are heartbroken by the loss of our sweet George Edward Falls, Jr., we take much comfort in the countless number of friends he has, the organizations he’s selflessly served, and his precious family he’s held so close.

George was a Memphis entrepreneur, restaurateur, and philanthropist, who embodied the essence of a true Southern gentleman with his amiable spirit and courteous charm. Surrounded by his loved ones— especially his wife of 33 years, Jackie—he died Wednesday Oct. 18, 2023 at his home in Memphis. He was 87 years old. George was a gentle soul, a beacon of kindness, sophistication and respectability who loved the Lord all his life. With a handshake, a smile, and a sport coat with a pocket square, he delighted in being a part of the many celebrations of his patrons and friends at the “cafe.”

Born July 8, 1936 to Hazel and George Falls, George spent his childhood living in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Arizona, and Memphis while receiving treatments for childhood asthma. In Memphis, he proudly attended Pentecost Garrison while he spent several years living with his aunt Mildred and uncle Dr. James “Dockie” Falls, and his dearest cousin Jim. He was always happiest when he was with his brother Buck and sister Ann, both of whom were by his side on his final day. He would later move back to Clarksdale where he would be voted “Mr. CHS” and “Most Popular” in 1955 at Clarksdale High School. He graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in business administration in 1959, and was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

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In 1960, George received what he would describe as “the call” leading him to a 24-year career at Holiday Inns, Inc., that took him across the country and all over the world. He forged many lifelong friendships at Holiday Inns, especially working with founder Kemmons Wilson, which was one of the most treasured experiences of his life. In 1984, he left the corporate world to try his hand at entrepreneurship, partnering with close friends Frank Flautt and Jeff Mann to turn Paulette’s into the finest dining establishment in Memphis. He would go on to open The Downtown Grill in Oxford, Mississippi with his Ole Miss fraternity brothers Louis Brandt, Will Lewis, Robert Khayat, and Patty Lewis. George later opened Three Oaks Grill in Germantown, and the Napa Cafe in Memphis. In 2011, Paulette’s moved from Overton Square to The River Inn at Harbor Town.

Among George’s fondest memories were winning the Little League baseball championship with his son, Harry, winning medals in the Senior Olympics, taking baseball trips for 30 years with his wife, Jackie, Lewis and Lunida Holland, Jack and Kathy Blair, and his beloved Joe and Ann Weller. He loved playing tennis, watching Harry on TV, and the Ole Miss Rebels playing in any sport. He and Jackie were longtime members at Church of the Holy Communion. He served as chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Memphis Orchestral Society, Baptist Health Care Foundation Board, the Memphis Chamber Music Society, and the Society of Entrepreneurs. He was a board member of the Tennessee Restaurant Association and the Memphis Restaurant Association and executive committee member at the Kemmons Wilson School at the University of Memphis. A few recognitions of note are his induction into the Tennessee Restaurant Assn. Hall of Fame, being named Tennessee Restaurateur of the Year, wining the Hebe Award, the Boys and Girls Club National Medallion and The Golden Eagle. His latest honor would have been to serve as Harry’s Best Man at Harry and Conor’s upcoming wedding.

George was pre deceased by his parents, his brother-in-law Joseph Weller, and cousins Jim and Jan Fall. He is survived by his beloved and dearest wife Jackie—“his angel from heaven”—and his dear “Sonny Boy” Harry Ford, his brother Garrett “Buck” Falls and wife Meri, his sister Ann Weller, his treasured nieces and nephews, Laurie, Thom, Lynn, Freeland, Loflin, and Ginger, his godson Tim Falls and Tim’s siblings Susie and Bobby Fagan and Sarah and Frosty Tempel.

His last selfless act was to donate his body to MERI to further medical education and research through the Genesis Legacy Foundation.

If you would like to make a donation in his memory, please donate to Church of the Holy Communion or a charity of your choice.

A memorial service was held Wednesday October 25, 2023 at the Church of the Holy Communion, 4645 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, TN, 38117.