Remembering George Ulrich, Cycling Advocate and Musician

ULRICH - Photo - COLOR - 2016-03-06 (1)George Ulrich of Roslindale, MA, devoted father and husband, passionate bicyclist, jazz musician, computer programmer, and dear friend to many, died February 23, 2016 at age 63 from a rare form of cancer.

George was born September 17, 1952 to Dr. Sanford and Saretta Ulrich, both deceased, most recently of Arizona.  George grew up near Lansing, Michigan.  He left high school just before graduating, embarking on a life of travel and music across the United States and beyond, hitchhiking and supporting himself by playing guitar and singing.  He later regaled his family with amazing stories of his youthful adventures on the road.

After earning his GED, George attended Lansing Community College, Michigan State University, and ultimately Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging in 1981.  He went on to attend the Cambridge School of Computer Programming, graduating in 1983.  After teaching music in the Lincoln/Sudbury and Melrose Public Schools in the 1980s, he has worked since 1990 as a programmer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure.

George was devoted to Judy Flam, his wife of 31 years, and was a wonderful father to Liza Ulrich, 27, of Jamaica Plain, and Zoe Ulrich, 22, of Roslindale.  The family traveled together frequently and he often did tandem bicycle tours with Liza and downhill skiing with Zoe.  They enjoyed movies, theatre and concerts together.  His family and friends nursed George in his final months, and he was surrounded by Judy, Liza, and Zoe on his deathbed.

George is remembered for his kindness, gentleness, generosity, and depth of soul.  He was eager to share his passions for cycling, music, and computers with everyone, and was a mentor to many in these endeavors.  He showed deep respect for all he encountered, recognizing the value in everyone and engaging them on their own terms.

Bicycling was central to George’s life.  He commuted by bike to work year-round for many years.  He participated in a number of fundraising rides, including the Pan Mass Challenge (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Tour de Cure (American Diabetes Association), Boston to New York Aids Ride, Bike MS (National MS Society), the Boston Brain Tumor Ride, and the Bikes not Bombs Bike-a thon.  He took other long-distance trips including the Tour de Montreal, Bike New York, and the Mad Dash to Montreal.  After being diagnosed with cancer last summer, George rode in the annual Hub on Wheels ride in Boston in September, leading and supported by more than 30 cycling friends with “Team George.”

George was a tireless advocate for cycling in Boston, and was a co-founder of both the Boston Cyclists Union and Rozzie Bikes.  He was an active member of Bikes not Bombs, Charles River Wheelmen, MassBike, and Boston Bike Party.  He could be found at local farmers’ markets and public housing, providing free bicycle repairs.

Musically, after playing professionally in a number of bands for more than ten years, George continued to play informally with friends, and remained an avid jazz fan.  As a programmer, George was always ready to share his knowledge of computers and technology, and did private computer consulting.

In addition to his wife and daughters, George is survived by his brother, William “Zip” Ulrich of Taylors, SC, as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins.  He was predeceased by his sister, Gail Ulrich, of Shelburne Falls, MA.

More than 160 friends and relatives gathered with George for an evening of jazz, food, and friendship in January, when many were able to say goodbye.  George’s family prefers to gather privately now, but a memorial will be arranged in the spring.
Gifts in George’s memory may be made to Bikes Not Bombs (bikesnotbombs.org).

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