George Adelgren loved to tell a good joke, and the cornier it was, the better. It seemed he knew an unending supply of them, and no one was ever quite sure where he found them all. He rarely messed up a punch line, but even when he did it still usually ended up being funny.
George Russell Adelgren was born in 1934 in Buffalo, KS to Henry and Wilma Adelgren, the second of four boys. On their farm west of Chanute, KS they raised cattle, pigs, goats, wheat and corn (and they also grew turnips, which George did not like at all).
George graduated with a class of seven from Vilas High School in 1952. He was a catcher, and even though the school only had eleven boys their baseball team took 2nd place at State, beating out many much larger schools. He attended junior college and played semi-pro baseball for two years. He enlisted in the US Army and served as a medic for two years in such hot, humid and unglamorous places as Louisiana, Texas, and Missouri.
George married Gorda Hilty in 1963. In 1973 they moved from Wichita, KS to Gunnison, CO where they raised their three children, and he tirelessly supported all their activities like 4-H, sports, drama, band, and school clubs. In 1989, they moved to Goodland, KS. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, horseback riding, bowling, and golf.
George followed his father and older brother into carpentry. He was an artist and artisan, and his medium was wood. In his professional life he was a master carpenter and cabinetmaker who built beautiful custom houses throughout Kansas and Colorado for over 50 years. For the last 10 years of his career he taught carpentry at the NW Kansas VoTech, passing on his wealth of knowledge and passion to his students.
After his retirement, he turned his eye and considerable skill toward creating works of art through woodturning, pyrography, and hand carving. He never passed up a woodpile or free tree stump; the knottier and gnarlier a chunk of wood was, the more character he thought it contained. He said the wood usually told him what it wanted to become and he excelled at drawing out and revealing its natural beauty.
He could often be found in his shop teaching his grandkids how to create wood projects and play in the sawdust. George enjoyed swapping stories with his coffee cronies (the “wrinkled roosters”), and teaching the grandkids how to hunt. He challenged himself by acting in fun plays, and even had roles in a couple of small films. But most of all he loved spending time with his wife Gorda, their children, and extended family.
George passed away at the age of 88 on Monday, 28 March 2022, and he will be dearly missed. He is survived by his wife Gorda, daughter Shawna Dorsey and husband Skip, son Russell Adelgren and wife Dee, daughter Mona Adelgren, seven grandchildren and their spouses, and his great-granddaughter whom he was very delighted to recently meet. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brothers John, Robert, and Ralph, and his grandson Shawn.