George E. Halstad

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GEORGE E. HALSTAD March 21, 1916 June 29, 2013 George personified "The Greatest Generation." Born in 1916 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Sam and Jessie Halstad, he and his family suffered all the travails of the depression. He was forced to drop out of Hamlin College after one semester, then struck out on his own to seek his fortunes in the west. He punched cows in Cochise County, Arizona, and horrified his tee-totaling mother by becoming one of the first franchisees of Carta Blanca Beer. He practiced his soft shoe routine and worked as a bank teller in Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that the 20-year old George met the 16-year old Mary Woodward, also from Minneapolis, while she and her mother were vacationing. They eloped four years later, on July 1st, 1940, and started life together in Bakersfield, where they made many lifelong friends and acted in local theatre productions. After Pearl Harbor, George enlisted in the Army Air Force. He was stationed in England and completed 35 missions on the B-17 bomber the "Little Chum," initially as a bombardier and then as the bombardier/navigator following the death of the navigator after the plane was shot up. He and his crew dropped bombs on Germany and dropped supplies for the French Resistance. Typical of many of his generation, he never talked about his experiences in the war until he was nearly 90 years old and finally willing to field questions from his children and grandchildren. George and Mary started a family and he went to work as sales manager for a large building materials firm in Ontario, a job that required him to be on the road a great deal. The family lived in Pomona and Claremont, vacationed at Lake Arrowhead (at their cabin in Blue Jay), and George perfected his golf game across all the reasonably priced public courses west of Chicago. (He had started playing golf at age 12 and it continued to be a great joy and passion for him well into his 80's. He aced the 5th hole at the Ukiah Municipal course twice!). In addition to golf, he loved martinis and a good joke. He believed fervently in the inherent goodness of his fellow man. Forced to take an early "retirement " in 1972, he branched out on his own and had a second and very successful career as an independent manufacturer's rep. All four of George and Mary's children moved to Mendocino County during the 70's, and they sold their homes and moved up to Ukiah in 1982, where they were a focal part of the lives of their children and growing number of grandchildren. After Mary's death in 1994, George continued on as the family Patriarch, cheering lustily and shamelessly for his grandkids (seven boys and one girl) on the baseball diamonds and football fields of Mendocino County. He volunteered for many years at the Ukiah Adventist Hospital gift shop. He was able to remain in his own home and even drive! until the first of this year, thanks to his own hardy constitution, his zest for living, and the attentiveness of his children and grandchildren. He also enjoyed the affection and care of the greatest neighbors in the world, Debbie and Rod Christenson, and dear friends Dave and Joyce Johnson. Of his family, friends, and neighbors, George often said, "I am indeed blessed!" George was predeceased by his parents, Sam and Jessie; by his wife, Mary, and by his sister, Hazel. Surviving him are his children: Peggy Templer, Molly Stegner, Peter (Gloria) Halstad, and Sam (Lourie) Halstad. Also surviving are eight grandchildren: Travis, Carson, and Evan Templer, Jesse Halstad, Max and Clif Stegner, David Halstad and Sarah Halstad Costa. Recently added to the family are his great grandchildren: Leila and Maya Templer, Gabriel, Pyper, and Tayt Halstad, and Raven Costa (with baby Soren Costa due in August). George was the number one fan and champion of all of his children and grandchildren. He would proudly proclaim, regarding his family, "There's not a rotten apple in the bunch!" He was, and always will be, our hero. The family would like to extend appreciation to Dr. Dale Morrison and his wonderful staff; Dr. Steven Wirth; and the kind, capable folks at Dalistan Care Home, for helping George make the transition after a long and happy life, well led. Arrangement are under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary.
Funeral Home
Eversole Mortuary
141 Low Gap Rd Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 462-2206
Funeral Home Details
Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on July 4, 2013
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