Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rembering Uncle George Stoops

Gathering with Cousins
Letters from George's three daughters (center in photo) and his one biological grandson were the best part of the memorial service.
I remember Uncle George most for his delightful humor, sensitivity, prayers, singing with gusto and his stories.

George was born on April 26, 1922 to Matie (Jones) and Clifford Stoops at Viola, Wisconsin. He was the youngest of three brothers (Marion, Westley, and Norval), and one sister, Pauline. Brother Marion drowned at 17, and sister Pauline died at 19. His father passed away at 43 years old, so his mother was left to raise the 3 remaining boys, Westley, Norval and George. Matie moved the family to Nampa, Idaho in 1936 where George first attended junior high school in Nampa, then graduated from Nampa High School in 1941. After graduation, he attended Northwest Nazarene College for two years where he met and married Betty Jane Dillon on June 28, 1943. George worked on a dairy farm for a brief time and also received schooling in welding and meat cutting. He was inducted into the U.S. Navy in 1943 but transferred into the army in 1944 and ultimately was stationed with company F 383rd infantry on the island of Okinawa. Not long after arriving on the island, George was severely wounded in direct combat by a hand grenade but miraculously survived his wounds and was later awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He was honorably discharged in April of 1946 at Fort Lewis, Washington, Madison Hospital Center. George started working for the Idaho Department of Employment soon after his discharge from the service and worked for the state for 34 years before retiring. During those years with the state, he worked for the employment office in Nampa and was responsible for placing many local individuals into their lifetime jobs, as well as many teenagers with summer jobs. George's later years were spent in the Boise office. In addition to placement of individuals in various jobs he served as secretary to governor's committee on hiring the handicapped. Part of his duties were to oversee statewide contests in the schools where students would compete by drawing posters or writing essays, all promoting the theme of hiring the handicapped. When the contests were concluded, he would travel to Washington, D.C. with the student winners. George was also instrumental in the passage of a bill to designate handicapped parking spaces, not knowing that one day in the future, one of his own daughters would benefit from this law.

George was a member of Bethel Nazarene Church & taught Sunday School for more than 30 years. As a younger man, he was also a youth leader. Music was always important to George. He loved to sing with several quartets and also as a soloist and did so, often in church, as well as other special occasions.

George is survived by 3 daughters; Judy Rice of Caldwell; Connie (Terry) Rogers; and Georganna (Jim) Bower of Nampa; a sister-in-law, JoAnn (Roger) Wilcox of Nampa; 8 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty of 73 years; 3 brothers, Westley, Norval and Marion; a sister, Pauline and an unnamed baby sister.

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