George Russell Roemhild passed away at home on Aug. 24, 2011, after a long and heroic battle against cancer. He was born on Oct. 15, 1923 and was raised on a farm near Dimock, Pa.
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In 1941 he attended the New York State Agricultural and Technical Institute at Delhi. He graduated with a degree in Animal Husbandry in 1943. He then managed Judd's Bridge Farms in Connecticut, the most respected purebred Brown Swiss Cow breeding farm in the country and he, with the help of some good cows, produced a world record in dairy production. In 1945 he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was assigned to Camp Pendelton, Calif. After discharge from the Corps he was offered a position as manager of Orangeville Brown Swiss farms in Ohio, continuing to win numerous awards. It was here that he met Mary Summers, the love of his life. They were married three weeks later. George and Mary had two daughters, Sue and Jessie.
In 1952 he received his Bachelors of Science in Entomology from Penn State University and was offered a research assistantship from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in co-operation with Montana State College. After moving to Bozeman he earned his Masters of Science in 1954 then became the Assistant State Entomologist for Montana. He then traveled almost every town in Montana while continuing to take courses at MSU earning his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in 1961 and becoming a professor at MSU. During his 24 years of service he taught courses in human anatomy and physiology, invertebrate zoology, and ecology as well as entomology. George's research has been published in several widely respected national journals. The Board of Regents of Higher Education conferred upon George the rank of Professor Emeritus of Entomology when he retired in 1985.
After retirement he contracted with such clients as the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Yellowstone National Park studying, documenting and researching aquatic insects. He has collected over 300,000 species and discovered a new species of Mayfly and Caddisfly, which were scientifically named in his honor.
George had a photographic memory and a great fascination with all of nature. There wasn't anything that he didn't find to be extremely interesting. He was the original "Curious George", delighting in everything that crossed his path. He knew how things functioned and how to take them apart, put them together and build more of them. He built homes and everything in them. He built a camp trailer, a motorcycle and a houseboat all from scratch. He was a wonderful artist in all mediums, creating paintings, drawings, furniture and all things wood. His latest passion was building bird houses and giving them as gifts to all who visited. He loved fly fishing, hunting, archeological digging and he was a history buff. Mostly he loved teaching and he loved people. His family was his greatest joy.
For those of us who knew and loved him the world is a duller, more muted place without his sharp, inquisitive mind and his twinkling eyes.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; his parents, and numerous siblings. Survivors include his sister, Alice Porter of Pennsylvania; daughters, Sue (Dooley) Johnson of Bozeman and Jessie (Joe) Grooms of Belgrade; grandchildren, Danny (Suzie) Johnson, Mike Johnson, Duke Johnson, Michelle Dodd, Eve (Vern) Parrow, Greg (Charli) Ward, Nickie (JP) Silverstein, Darek (Amanda) Grooms, and Polly Grooms; and nine great grandchildren: Willow, Cris, Lacey, Riley, Aidan, Zach, Kendelle, Keigan, Aiden, and numerous living nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 A.M. Monday, Aug. 29 at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel. Internment with military honors will follow in Sunset Hills Cemetery.
If so desired, memorials may be directed to The Bozeman Deaconess Foundation, 931 Highland Blvd. Suite 3200, Bozeman, Mont. 59715 with a notation for either Hospice or the Cancer Center on the memo line.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 28, 2011