George W. Van Delinder, Jr. passed from this life to Heaven at dawn on July 4, 2014. George was born Oct. 12, 1926 in Richey, Mont. The fourth child of George and Dretta Van Delinder. He spent his childhood on the family homestead on the East Redwater. He had so many stories about his life and adventures on "the farm" with his five other siblings. They lived in a cottonwood log house with a sod roof.
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George and his family moved to Belgrade in 1937 after the tragic death of his younger brother, Leslie, in 1936. The family briefly lived in the third story of the Quaw Mansion before they moved into their home on Silverbow. "Junior" graduated from Belgrade High in 1943 at age 16. He then attended Montana State College for a year. In 1944 he enlisted in the Navy and after boot camp in San Diego was stationed at Chelsey Naval Hospital in Boston. He enrolled in the University of Montana after the war, where he acquired a degree in pharmacy in 1948.
In 1951 he married Shirley Lou Gilmer of Belgrade in the white church on Broadway. They lived briefly in Bozeman then began his career with Eli Lilly in Billings where his four children were born. In 1965 George moved his family to Indianapolis for a more corporate job with Lilly. That kind of work wasn't to his liking and in 1967 transferred to Boulder, Colo. George retired from Lilly in 1970. After that he loved working at a Chevrolet dealership in Boulder where he was really in his element. Then the gas crunch of the 70s hit soon after and he had to leave that job. It soon became obvious that he wanted to return to Montana to be near his aging mother. In 1974 he purchased a home on 6th & Koch in Bozeman and began working as a pharmacist at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. A short time later he became the pharmacy manager at BDH. It was there that he made some of his greatest friendships. In 1986 his wife, Shirley, died of PSP. George did not want to live alone in the home on 6th anymore. In 1988 he pooled his resources with his daughters, Sue and Carol, buying land north of Belgrade. They raised horses and George was able to do what he liked best, ride on his John Deere tractor, build a farm and relax on the front porch. Everything there has George's stamp on it. He lived there until his death.
George is preceded in death by his wife, Shirley; his parents; his brothers, Leslie and Marion; and his sisters, Mary Helen (Skuderna) and Betty Lou (Kallin). He is survived by his brother, Dallas; his daughters, Sue and Carol; sons, John (Sally) and Greg (Ann); and his granddaughter, Emily. The family would like to say a special thank you to the staff at PCU and Pallative Care at Bozeman Deaconess. George was a friend, mentor and confidant to his family and friends. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, including his dogs and his cat, Jazz.
The family requests that memorial donations be made in George's name to Friends of Belgrade Music, P.O. Box 911, Belgrade, MT 59714.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 9, at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel at 1 p.m.
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 July 8, 2014