George - Man of God
Written by Megan Juba.
“I don’t have much problem knowing what’s most important to me,” George says without hesitation. “Number one, God. Number two, Family. Number three, caring for people.” He’s lived his 84 years prioritizing these–in this order. He grew up in the rural Gunnison valley where it was hard to make a living and tough on people. He was the second born of four siblings. His mother lived a “physically difficult life” his whole childhood. He shrugs, “My family was a little tougher than most, I guess.” Tears well over from his pale blue eyes as he remembers her. “She asked me to read her bible on her deathbed. When I promised her, she died.” He says he didn’t really have God for 40 years. Until her death, he believed, but didn’t practice. “She knew I would have to accept.” He did, and lives a life that shows it.
George married his wife, Pat, to have a family at age 22. They had three girls and a boy, eleven grandchildren, five great grandchildren and have one more great on the way. Like most men in his generation, work was the priority. He worked hard to provide for his family, paid for everything outright, put money away and didn’t go on family vacations so they would someday inherit something. “Family was second to job, then I became a Christian… Years ago I would do whatever I could do to feed my family. Now, I pray and know that He will provide for me. The closer you can be to God, the better you can do for your family. A prayer to me is more important than anything else you can do.”
Over the years, George has cared for people by trying to “pay witness” through everyone. He looks at his rough hands and admits, “I probably haven’t done a good job of it. I’ve thought about all the opportunities I’ve missed.” He’s been able to use fishing as a “tool from God.” Friends get to know each other well and talk while on the water. He feels like paying witness to others in a way that is relatable and doesn’t make them feel inferior is important. These last two years, age has finally caught up to him. He’s lost his desire to go fishing. “I haven’t been as good at finding something to keep me going,” he says with his head hung. But he still has one goal. “For God to put someone in my path that I can witness to; share the gospel and ask them about Jesus.”