Saturday, November 16, 2013

Goodbye, Uncle George

My Great-Uncle George died today.  He was 101 years old, the oldest person I have ever known.  He was a sweet, gentle man with a great sense of humor and a way of making people feel at ease.  Uncle George was generally quiet, but loved having conversations with people one-on-one.  He liked to talk about his immigrant childhood, about working a dairy farm, about all of the amazing changes and inventions he'd seen in his long life.  His voice was so much like my grandpa's, that it always made me smile.  My grandpa died nearly 30 years ago, so listening to George was a way to bring his memory back to life.  Uncle George has always been a loving presence in my life, but one of the things I have most loved about him is how he embraced my girls and claimed them as his family. 

Uncle George was delighted that I named my oldest child Katherine, after his beloved younger sister. 
He and Katherine had a "thing" for each other and were always happy to spend time together.
I loved watching him pretend to pull off his thumb and other silly little tricks that he had been entertaining kids with for more than sixty years (my mom remembers him doing the same tricks for her as a child).
 

By the time Rachel came home, Uncle George was growing more frail and had been moved to a nursing home.  We didn't see him as often, but he was always pleased when we came to visit.  He did his thumb trick and made his favorite jokes about holsteins and "halfsteins".  He was still the same old Uncle George.
Uncle George was the end of his generation.  I am so glad that he was here to meet my girls, the latest generation, and to show them what family means.  We love you forever, Uncle George.  Thank you for being such a wonderful part of our lives.


 

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