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George Grever, 91, was born on July 11, 1922, in rural Lake Zurich, Ill., the son of George Sr. and Martha Hapke Grever.
He was joined with Christ in baptism as an infant, and as a young teen confirmed at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Lake Zurich. He attended local elementary and high schools in Lake Zurich, and then began working full time on the family’s dairy farm. After several years of farming, George switched from food production to waste management, becoming a plumber.
In 1945, he married Gloria Homuth of Barrington, Ill., who died suddenly three years later. They had no children.
In November 1948, George met Annetta Bicknese of Itasca, Ill., when both were attendants in their cousins’ wedding. On their first date they went bowling, and although Annetta beat him (a feat she was never able to repeat), he asked her out again and proposed to her on Valentine’s Day. They were married in May 1949 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Itasca, where George became an active member, serving on various boards and committees. He also joined the Itasca Volunteer Fire Department to serve his community. George and Annetta made their home in Itasca for the next decade, and during these years their three children, Marcia, Warren and Rhoda, were born.
In 1959, George and Annetta formed a partnership with George’s brother, Harry, and his wife, Pearl, and bought a farm in Big Rock. The two families lived next door to each other on the property, gardened together and celebrated family birthdays together. Annetta and Pearl took turns driving the children to Immanuel Lutheran School in rural Hinckley until the school parents banded together to purchase a bus, which George and the other fathers then maintained and repaired.
From the Big Rock years, George and Annetta’s children remember fondly the family vacations on $20 a day (for gas and lodging, but not food, as they carried most of the food with them and picnicked in parks) to the Black Hills, the Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone.
When the brothers dissolved the partnership in 1967, George and Annetta ventured out on their own and bought a farm in Kaneville Township, where they made their home until this day. During those 46 years, they were active members of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Montgomery. George again served on various church boards and committees, and also served as a trustee of the Kaneville Fire Department.
After putting their children through college and seeing them married, George and Annetta had the opportunity to travel widely, especially after Warren joined the family business. They always took playing cards along and often made friends with other travelers who played pinochle or 500. Their first major trip was to China in 1980, where George’s red hair and tall stature made him an object of curiosity. They traveled to Germany in 1984, took an Alaskan cruise, went to Australia and New Zealand, and in 1998, just months after George had heart bypass surgery, they drove to Alaska with friends they had met on the Australia/New Zealand trip. They made a trip to Europe with daughter Marcia and her husband, Wayne, and toured Israel with daughter Rhoda and her husband, Mark. Son Warren and his wife, Susan, of course, were home doing the chores and tracking the net worth of the farm with the computer program “Pig Champ,” while the “party animals” (as their granddaughters dubbed them) traveled the world.
Although he officially retired in 1987, George continued to help around the farm, especially during planting and harvesting time, until 2010, when bouncing around on farm machinery became too painful for him. Because his bad knees made climbing into the combine too much, the last years he helped with harvest. Warren used the front-end loader to get him in and out of the combine.
When they weren’t traveling, George and Annetta kept active on the farm with their his ‘n her gardens (Annetta grew strawberries, green beans, onions, and tomatoes; George grew potatoes) and his ‘n her lawn mowers.
During baseball season, they would watch the Cubs faithfully on TV or “watch” the games on the radio that weren’t televised. They would occasionally get to a game in Wrigley Field, which was usually a multi-generational affair with children, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. They played 500 and pinochle with friends from church, friends from their travels, and family members. Family gatherings, which always included lots of good food and George’s favorite dessert—cherry pie—usually ended with a game or two of pinochle. Whether playing with family or friends, George seemed to be on the winning team the vast majority of the time.
George completed his baptism and entered his eternal home on Nov. 23, 2013, after suffering a severe stroke in mid-August. He died at home, surrounded by loving family members.
George was preceded in death by his parents; five of his seven brothers, Fred, Harry, Elmer, Earl and Kenneth; five of his seven sisters, Ella, Laura, Marion, Esther and Annette; and his first wife, Gloria.
Remaining to mourn are his wife of 64 years, Annetta; daughters, Marcia Snyder (Wayne Mory) and Rhoda (Mark Schuler), and son, Warren (Susan); brothers, Robert and Orville, and sisters, Joan and Donna; two granddaughters: Rachael Williams (Matthew) and Bethany Gryfakis (Nicolas); and four precious great-grandchildren, Gavin and Tessa Williams, and Ellia and Vivian Gryfakis.
George will be sorely missed by family and many friends, but his family is thankful for 64 years of marriage, a loving family, a long life to enjoy great-grandchildren, and the assurance of his new home with Jesus, where there is no sorrow or pain.
Because both George and Annetta were educated in Lutheran schools and worked avidly to provide a Lutheran education for their children, Annetta requests that memorials in George’s honor be made to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and School, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery, IL 60538.
Visitation was held Tuesday at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A funeral service to celebrate his life will take place at 11 a.m., with a time of visitation from 10 to 10:45 a.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery. Rev. Peter Hoffman, pastor of the church, will officiate, with interment at Kaneville Cemetery, Main Street Road in Kaneville.
Annetta requests that memorials in George’s honor be made and mailed to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 63 Fernwood Road, Montgomery, IL 60538.