George Anderson was born in Vancouver, Canada. He attended the University of British Columbia, earning his Bachelor's in 1947 and his Master's in 1949. He worked for the B.C. Game Department during summers, doing research on the trout in Paul Lake near Kamloops. He realized that he was much more interested in the lake than in the fish and this inspired him to continue his education. He began working toward his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1949 and finished in 1954. His research included studies on Lake Washington and Chase Lake, and Soap Lake and Lake Lenore in the Grand Coulee. Upon graduation he was offered a position at the UW in Zoology to continue his lake research.
He met his wife, Harriett, in Zoology in 1954, and they were married for 47 years before she died in 2003. They had one son who died young.
When George began interviewing at various universities Richard Fleming, the chair of the UW Department of Oceanography, came looking for him and left word for George not to accept any other job without talking to him first. An attractive offer was made, and in 1958 George became a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Oceanography.
In 1977 he became Associate Chairman of Oceanography at UW, and upon the formation of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences in 1980 he was named the first Director of the now School of Oceanography. He became Emeritus in 1983.
After selling his home in May 2005 he moved to Issaquah, where he met and in 2006 married a lovely lady named Margaret. Margaret died the following year. George moved into Mirabella Seattle on December 15, 2008, the day they opened, and passed away in Seattle on January 14, 2019.