WASHINGTON - R. George Herbst Jr., 82, of Washington passed away at 4:42 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013, at RiverView Care Center in East Peoria.
George was born on June 16, 1930, in Roanoke to Raymond G. and Elizabeth Klaus Herbst Sr. He married Ruth Ilgaudas at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Washington on May 24, 1953. Ruth died on July 25, 2011, at their home in Washington.
Among those surviving are three daughters, Kathy (Herbst) Bell of Washington, Jeannie Herbst of Peoria and Barbara (Ethan) Garrett of Sarasota, Fla.; one son, George (Veronica) Herbst III of Peoria; three sisters, Bert (Bob) Klings and Joanne Neumann, both of Washington, and Karen Smith of Peoria; one brother, Ed Herbst of Orlando, Fla.; six loving grandchildren, Eric, Kristin, Jeremy, Andrew, Lucas and Kaitlynn; one great-granddaughter, Lyla; and a special great-grandson, London, whose life began just hours after George's ended.
He was also preceded in death by his longtime friend and companion pet dog, Bond, James Bond.
George was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and later attended Bradley University, where he earned a master's degree in business administration. He was also a proud member of the Theta Chi Fraternity.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and attained the rank of sergeant.
After college and the service, George came back to Washington to join the family business, Herbst Company, located on the square. He continued to manage and operate the company that was founded in 1942 until its closing more than 50 years later.
George was an extremely talented individual. Among his various accomplishments was his ability as an artist - he could do hand-painted calligraphy, make doll houses and also do an illustrated version of the Bible. One of the most noted items that he made was a miniature version of the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington.
He loved to support the community which he called home and over the years helped WHIP (Washington Helps Its People), was a charter member of the Washington Chamber of Commerce, served on the Washington Sesquicentennial committee and spearheaded the fundraising for getting new drapes for the WCHS girls gym that were used for variety shows. George also had been a bell ringer for many years for the Salvation Army.
Never one to miss a Chicago professional ball game, George was known to suddenly "fake" an illness just in time to get home to watch a Bulls or Cubs or Bears game on television if he was away at another event.
Funeral services for George will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Washington, with Pastor John Bates officiating. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until time of services on Saturday at the church. Following George's request, following services cremation rites will be accorded, and burial of cremains will be this summer at Glendale Cemetery in Washington. Mason-White Funeral Home is assisting the family in arrangements.
Memorials may be directed to TAPS, the Salvation Army or Riverview Retirement Community.
Online condolences may be made to the family at masonfuneralhomes.com.