GEORGE J. RAU Passed away on February 14, 2012 in a peaceful environment with loving care in Ukiah. George was born September 12, 1919 in Santa Cruz to an early pioneer ranching family who settled in the Santa Cruz Mountains around the time of the California Gold Rush. He served in the Army during World War II in the Alaska Scouts, mapping much of the northern part of Alaska from Point Barrow south over the Brooks Range to the Gulf of Alaska, the eventual route of the Alaska Pipeline. George resided near the town of Mendocino from 1948 to 1971 where he was the first Forest Manager of the Jackson State Forest after it was purchased from Caspar Lumber Company. Later he worked for Union Lumber Company in Fort Bragg and then had his own land surveying business on the Comptche-Ukiah Road. From Mendocino, where he served on the Mendocino Unified School District Board of Trustees, he and his wife, Margaret, moved to Paradise, California and then on to New Plymouth and Fruitland, Idaho, where they resided for the next 26 years. At 52, George began a successful farming career, raising grains, corn and alfalfa. An active member of the community,he served on the Board of Directors for the Cenex Co-op in New Plymouth and was a member of the Idaho Farm Bureau. George retired to Potter Valley in 1997. He cut all his own firewood until he was 90 and loved family outings with camping, hunting and fishing. He taught his kids to respect and cherish the bounty of nature, always caring for game and fish with great respect. He was proud of reforestation efforts with which he was involved everywhere he went - experimental tree stands on Jackson State Forest, commercial reforestation of Union Lumber Company lands, and tree plantings at Jakes Opening. "He embodied the true pioneer spirit" says his daughter Ellie. "He was resourceful, hard-working, fair-minded and circumspective - willing to change as new situations arose and always close to the land." His son, George, recalls that he was usually mild-mannered and not prone to profanity or gossip. His favorite epithet about someone with whom he strongly disagreed was "that guy doesn't know sic'em from come back." Son Ed remembers that Dad, while working to put himself through college where he began at San Jose State, was on duty 24/7 at the Alma Fire Station and studied his subjects independently at night. Then he challenged the mid-terms and finals in one-day trips to campus. He transferred to UC Berkeley to continue his studies and graduated with a degree in Forestry Engineering in 1942. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Margaret, whom he married on November 5, 1942. Survivors include brothers, Charles Dake of Roseburg, Oregon and Clarence Dake of Salinas, California; his son George C. Rau and Estela of Potter Valley, and their children Javier Rau, Chris Rau, Ben Rau and Dolores Johnson; his son Edwin Rau and Joyce of Santa Rosa and their children Nate Rau, Matt Rau and Yoshio Rau; his daughter Ellie Eich and Michael of Redwood Valley. He was also blessed with five great-grandchildren. He was a member of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, 900 S. Oak Street, in Ukiah, where a memorial mass will be held at 11 AM on February 21st. A reception will follow at the parish hall. The family prefers memorial contributions to Saint Mary of the Angels Catholic Church ( 900 South Oak St., Ukiah) or the Boys and Girls Club (BGCU, P.O. Box 67, Ukiah or ukiahbgc.org). Private inurnment will be at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, with arrangements and care under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary.
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Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on Feb. 17, 2012