Dr. George Alfred Engstrom
April 28, 2021
As often happens with long-married partners, the death of one is followed shortly thereafter by the other. George Alfred Engstrom passed away Wednesday, April 28, 2021, almost four months to the day that his beloved wife of almost 60 years, Linda, passed away, Dec. 23, 2020.
George was born in St Petersburg Fla., a first-generation native born American, to Alfred Caleb Lauren Engstrom and Florence Nelson Engstrom, who had emigrated as children from Sweden. He graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1952, and, though his high school counselor told him to skip college and save the taxpayer's money, he attended the University of Florida where he graduated in three years. Then he attended Duke Medical School graduating in 1959.
It was during his Pediatric Residency at Duke that he met the love of his life, a lovely nurse named Linda Jane Lusk. They married three months later. After he completed his residency, the young couple and their infant daughter made their way to Maryville, Calif., where George served at Beale Air Force Base for two years.
After the Air Force, George, Linda, and their now two daughters moved to Concord to join the Cabarrus Pediatric Clinic in private practice with his two long-time partners, Drs. David Lockhart and Linny Baker. George served the Concord community in this practice for over 30 years. Caring for children was his passion and even after "retirement", he continued to work part-time as needed and served as medical director of Stonewall Jackson Training school until 2015, when he finally and actually retired.
George was an emeritus fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and was an active member of the North Carolina Pediatric Society. With the North Carolina Pediatric Society he served on the Executive Committee, chaired the Task Force on Development and was on the Board of Directors for the society's foundation. He was active in the Cabarrus County Medical Society and enjoyed the local affiliation with Duke Medical Center which allowed his practice to engage in work that to improve the medical care of children.
When in private practice, George was known to run late with his patients because he enjoyed getting to know his patients and their families. Knowing them so well, it was not a rare occasion when at the county fair or the Boy's Club Pancake Day, he would shake a patient's hand and tell them how proud he was of their accomplishments provide words of encouragement for their futures.
Having served as pediatrician to multiple generations of families in Concord it was inevitable that George would be recognized and showered with well wishes on any local errand. His family used to joke he was the unofficial greeter at Harris Teeter where he would be found "holding court" several times a week - mostly in the ice cream aisle.
For acts of community service and fellowship, he worked with and volunteered for many groups including the Cabarrus Art Guild, Historic Cabarrus, Master Gardeners, The Cabarrus County Free Clinic, and Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County. He served for 19 years at Hospice as a volunteer medical director and board member (positions he took after Hospice cared for his father until his death in 1987).
George was a long-time member of First Baptist Church in Concord where he participated in robust Biblical discussions with his Sunday school classmates, whom he loved. For many years, there was not a Sunday where "Ole' Doc George" did not take his place in the balcony of the sanctuary of the church. He cherished his faith and his love of God.
His gifts were many and varied but two that come to mind most are his wit and wisdom. He often wrote humorous articles for journals and letters to miscellaneous editors. When asked to donate to the Northeast Medical Center Foundation he did – in memory of Cannon Memorial Hospital. Once George was asked to provide a short biography of his service in the U.S. Air Force, and he said thus: "Provided valiant service during the Cuban Missile Crisis at the base hospital in the lead-lined X-ray room with the only other physician in the hospital, the Obstetrician. All the real doctors were in the bombers or the missile silos."
That wit and wisdom were also on full display when November rolled around, and he would start his annual Christmas card letter. He would imbue these with self-deprecating humor and joy. George also was on the receiving end of exchanges with cards from patients, colleagues, and long-time friends. The most poignant cards came from families whose children had passed away and wanted to thank Dad for his devotion and care.
In his last days, we were reminded of George's dedication to his patients by several of his care providers. A member of the staff of the Gardens of Taylor Glen shared her story of being born prematurely, was not breathing and had no heartbeat. She was resuscitated and since there were no Neonatal Intensive Care Units, was kept alive by close watch. George and his partner, Dr. Lockhart, took turns staying nights with her in the hospital until she was strong enough to go home.
He loved his community and the people within it and any opportunity for service made him happy.
In addition to his parents and wife, George was preceded in death by his daughter, Clarissa "Gooey" Engstrom; and his beloved cat, Mr. Lucas.
He is survived by daughters, Lisa Nisenson, Andrea McKay (Harry), Elana/Chicky LePabic (Pierre); and grandchildren, Nate Nisenson, Stanton McKay, Georgia McKay, Cecile LePabic, and Margot LePabic.
We are thankful for the loving care received from Atrium Northeast hospital and Cabarrus Hospice and Palliative Care during Dad's last days.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice; or First Baptist Church in his name.
We will be holding a combined memorial celebration of life service for both George and Linda Friday, June 11, at 1:30 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Concord.
Wilkinson Funeral Homewww.wilkinsonfuneralhome.com
Published by Concord & Kannapolis Independent Tribune on Jun. 6, 2021.