William George was a craftsman, carpenter who loved 'anything with a wheel'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 6:39 p.m. CDT; updated 10:43 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

COLUMBIA — William Orville George was an avid woodworker who made beautiful tables and flower stands. His wife, Jean George, said he had every tool a person could imagine and a system for organizing them that only he could understand.

“He threw his tools on a bench in his workshop, and a person might not understand it, but he always knew where every tool was,” his wife said.

William Orville George of Columbia died Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at his home from heart condition complications. He was 66.

Mr. George was born Feb. 11, 1948, in Slater to Wallace and Lucille (Ridge) George. He attended school in Slater and moved to Columbia with one of his brothers in 1969 to work.

At a young age, he adopted his father's passion for carpentry, driving and mechanics, his brother Gary George said.

“As soon as Bill could walk, he wanted to do everything that Dad wanted to do, and Dad really cared about being a driver and carpenter,” he said.

Mr. George was always quick to help anyone who needed it and wouldn’t leave until the job was finished, his brother said.

“Bill and my dad — they were the carpenters, not me — so when I needed a deck built, they did it and didn’t stop even after it was done,” Gary George said. “He was always talking about how to make it better."

Mr. George began working at University Hospital as a custodian in 1969. In 1978, he became a mechanic for MU, a job that he loved, his wife said.

“He was really good at it,” Jean George said. “He always wanted to be working and keeping busy. He was very happy being at work."

On July 29, 1978, Mr. George married Jean Bowden at Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia.

Mr. George worked for MU for 31 years until a knee injury put him on disability in 2004.

Mr. George was a passionate craftsman who created various pieces of furniture for his wife. In his spare time, he enjoyed television shows about woodworking.

His brother said Mr. George loved when family visited him at his home and always switched off the television as soon as visitors arrived.

“He just gave all of his attention. Even if he’d seen you that week, he’d treat you like he hadn’t seen you in months,” Gary George said. “I’m prejudiced in saying this, but even everyone else in the family would agree: He was the best of us."

“My husband was a very kind man,” Jean George said. “He loved people and people loved him.”

Mr. George is survived by his wife, Jean George; two brothers, Wally and Gary George; and his sister, Judy George.

His parents, Wallace and Lucille George; a brother, Ricky George; and a sister, Janet Kay George, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will follow at the funeral home, and burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, at the same location.

Memorial contributions can be made to Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church, 5350 E. Bonne Femme Church Road, Columbia, MO 65201.

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