West Central Tribune

George G. Femrite April 7, 1932 – Jan. 22, 2009

ALEXANDRIA — George Gorder Femrite, 76, of Alexandria, formerly of Lowry, died Thursday at the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria.

The service will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Burial will be in St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in rural Lowry.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood and one hour prior to the service Monday at the church.

He was born April 7, 1932, at home in Ben Wade Township near Lowry to George and Dagney (Gorder) Femrite. He grew up on the family farm and received his high school diploma from the West Central School of Agriculture in Morris in 1950. He received additional training for diesel repair at the Utilities Engineering Institute in Chicago.

He married Betty Mero on June 27, 1953, in Morris. They lived on his grandparents’ farm starting in 1954. He sold the farm to family in 1980 and began traveling in the United States, France, Spain, Germany, and Australia, building and maintaining gaming galleries at recreation and theme parks. He spent the past 15 years living on a farm in St. Mary’s Township.

He is survived by daughters: Bobbie Adam of Fergus Falls, Julie (and Buck) Ridout of Fergus Falls, Cindy (and Mike) Favre of St. Peter and Laurie Lundberg of Bloomington; son: Tim Femrite of Fergus Falls; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sister: Annette (and John) Kan of Chicago; brother: Gurvin (and Myra) Femrite of Lowry; and friend: Barb Olson of Alexandria.

Read by Cynthia Lee-Femrite Favre Monday, January 26, 2009 at Burial Service for George Gorder Femrite, Jr.

Our dad wasn't like other dads. He did not do things the way other people did. As Laurie says, "he danced to his own drum."

Ask Laurie and Tim - if our dad said lets go get some breakfast or lunch, you could not be surprised if he drove to Brainerd for it!

And, I remember the day he called me on a Sunday morning saying he had just left Oklahoma and he would be to my house in St. Peter, MN for supper…and he was!

Dad was a farmer and a mechanic. A good mechanic who you could call and make the noise your car was making and he could tell you what was wrong with it. Once he worked on my car and I saw some parts in the back seat. I asked him about it and he said I didn't need them. I thought it was funny that the car makers would put in parts that I didn't need, but I must not have as the car ran fine without them.

A few years ago when e85 fuel came out dad converted his van to e85. They said he couldn't do that, it would ruin the van. Maybe it would, but he ran it on e85 for years and it still seems to go. I think he was very proud of that.

He once told me he thought of talking to UPS about a mechanic job. I said that might be a good job for him with his skills. And he said, "yeah but a guy doesn't want to get himself tied down". Dad was pretty much against getting tied down.

He combined his love of working on engines and machines and his love of travel setting up gaming shooting galleries at theme parks and recreation areas all over the United States and also in France, Spain, Germany, and Australia. It was a great job for him as he could zoom in, work on machines for a few weeks and move on to the next place.

Our dad had his struggles and miss-steps in life, but he always did the best he could. Sometimes, as he would say, that was "pretty good". And sometimes, like all of us, it was just the best he could do. Thanks be to God that we are all washed clean in the blood of Christ.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, he did not do what most people would do. He declined the surgery, the chemo, and radiation and opted for more salads, bicycling, camping, swimming and laying on the living room floor with the dog to bask in the winter sunshine. We are very grateful to Barb for taking and sharing great photos of him doing those things he enjoyed. I was very proud of him for taking personal responsibility for his health and making choices about the life he wanted to live.

While dad often did things in ways that other dads might not, he also did those things that loving dads do. When I got a job in Kansas I didn't want to drive down there by myself, he followed me down to make sure I got there ok. He helped us buy and fix cars. He walked his daughters down wedding aisles, attended church and school programs of grandkids and came to family celebrations. He lived on a farm with baby kittens and puppies and horses…a great place for my kids to visit!

When I was in college dad came and took me out to eat at the old 4 Seasons Supper Club - the one by Morris that burnt down several years ago. As I was studying the sociology of work I was telling him I thought farming was one of the hardest jobs because a person had to know so much more than just how to drive a tractor. They needed to know science and economics and be good business people AND work physically hard. Dad shook his head and said, "well it all grows free". And, I said no, no. Look at the cost of the land, seed, equipment and ALSO the time and hard work. Dad shrugged and said "the farmer can work as hard as he wants, it is God who allows the seed to germinate and grow." Now that I have been working for more years than I had been alive at the time of that conversation, I know that the same is true of all work….it is God who allows it to germinate and grow.

We are grateful to our grandparents and the St. Paul Lutheran Church faith community in Lowry that helped to sink deep anchors of faith in dad. He lived out the promise for those in faith found in Isaiah 42 that "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." And we know that leaving us, dad is answering the pray of our Lord Jesus to the Heavenly Father that all those in faith would be gathered back to himself.

We are grateful that dad lived in a time with cars. He had a restless spirit that was soothed by driving.

I am grateful to Bobbie, Julie, Laurie and Barb for planning Dad's70th birthday party and we are all grateful to all the people who attended. We know that he had a good time and was deeply touched by that day.

We are grateful to all the family and friends who stood with us as we waved farewell to dad as he drifted to that place where the Holy Sprit was interceding for him. Even as his body was failing and we were in tears, his mind returned to his happy time of trying to figure out how to make machinery and engines work.

We are grateful that in his last days he had no remorse about the decisions he made about his health, he had no fear, he was in faith, and he was surround by the love of family and friends.

To end your life journey with no remorse, no fear, in faith, surrounded by love - God grant the same to all present here.