George Newberger, 96, of Shalersville, passed beyond on December 17, 2019, joining his late wife Helen, who had pre-deceased him 2013.
He appreciated and enjoyed his long life, and recently declared there had been “so many best days ever”, not merely one. To him, though, “in life, as in sports, being last sucks”: he was the last survivor of the six children of Aloysious and Lucy Miltner Newberger, the Shalersville High School Class of 1941, and of the husbands in an eight family potluck dinner ‘gang’ that met for over 60 years.
In 1943 George entered the US Army. He became a pilot as part of the US Army Air Corps. His time in the military lead to two life changing events: he met and married Helen Cuthbertson Newberger of Moorhead Minnesota, and he was able to attend Ohio State University on the GI Bill. He graduated with a degree in agriculture.
He was a lifelong learner. By way of vocation, he was a soil and water conservationist with the US Dept of Agriculture for over 31 years, which apparently required writing schematic diagrams of tile lines on the dinner napkins. And taking a lot of pictures of ditching machines. He initially worked in Portage County and eventually was assigned to Wyandot County from 1968-1976.
By way of avocation, he was a nature photographer, astronomer, traveler (his favorite question was “Do you want to go ___?” He always wanted to, wherever it was). He was a wood worker/cabinet maker into his 90’s. His children and grandchildren’s homes, as well as his own, contain his craftsmanship. He was a member of the Dahlia Society and, like his father, and now his daughter, grew hundreds of dahlias. He enjoyed sharing bouquets with Immaculate Conception Church and various local businesses and agencies. He was an avid member of the Ohio Bluebird Society; he built and maintained blue bird nesting boxes in our area to help re-establish bluebirds in this area. He was at least a 12 gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross; he was a member of the choir and funeral choir at Immaculate Conception Church. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed it in various activities: walking, golfing, biking and cross country skiing (which he was still doing until he was 95).
On a night in October, 1957, George and Helen got their young daughters out of bed to watch the night sky: “We thought the kids should experience science”. As a result of George and Helen’s devotion to education, their daughters are ok boomers. George was a good father for girls. There was nothing he thought they could not do, whether it was pitch a hay bale, drive tractor, take Latin, take physics, drive through Columbus by herself at 18, go to college, get an advance degree, hold a wrench, pump the brakes with him under the car, manage her own family. He is survived by his three daughters: Nancy Polz (Robert) of Shalersville, Mary Lou of Charleston WV, and Deb Call (Terry) of Upper Sandusky.
He was gentle, he was fun, he was funny, he was insatiably curious. His 5 grandchildren adored him, although they had to learn that those were not real words Grandpa used in Scrabble. He is survived by 7 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
“And I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that our father was 96 does not diminish, it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose doors have quietly shut”—paraphrasing Stephen Colbert.
A memorial mass at Immaculate Conception Church and a celebration of life will be held when the bluebirds nest and will be announced later.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Reed Memorial Library, Ravenna, the Ohio Bluebird Society or the charity of your choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Shorts Spicer Crislip Funeral Homes Ravenna Chapel. Condolences and memories of George may be shared at www.sscfuneralhomes.com.
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