George Gloege passed away, unexpectedly, in his home as the sun rose on Sunday, December 19, 2021. He leaves behind Lee, his wife of 58 years; their daughter Kristen Gloege, her husband Mike Finch, and children Soren, Anders, and Leif; son Mark Gloege and wife Kari, and their children Isak, Elias, and Kiah. He is also survived by his brother Jim Gloege; sister Maureen Anderson and her husband David; sister-in-law Marcia Folland; brother-in-law Stuart Folland; nine nieces and nephews, and many dear friends including lifelong friends George and Hazel Retzlaff.
George was born to Harvey and Loville Gloege in a hospital situated on the banks of the Mississippi River in Brainerd. He spent most of his childhood in Glenwood and graduated from Glenwood High School in 1959. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hamline College in 1963 and earned master’s degrees in political science and economic geography from Moorhead State University in 1967. He went on to teach political science, economic- and physical geography at North Dakota State School of Science. Realizing his dream of being close to nature and working outside, he and Lee purchased land along the Crow Wing River in 1970 and launched Gloege’s Canoe & Kayak Outfitting, which they operated together for more than five decades.
George was a remarkable person with a gentle soul. He lived his life fully engaged –as a teacher, folk artist, history buff, logger, and outfitter. We remember him for his diverse interests and talents, his deep connection to nature, and his delightful and quirky sense of humor. George took great personal satisfaction in engaging his family and friends in the activities he loved most - whether that was leading cross country ski treks through the woods, dancing with Lee in the living room, bringing people to his log cabin art studio to unveil his newest painting, or delving into deep conversations about spirituality, history, democracy, and the arts. We also remember him for his dedication to feeding the birds in the winter and maintaining milkweed for the monarchs in the summer – pastimes he elevated to an art form.
George was also an accomplished athlete and excelled in many sports including ski jumping, golfing, cross country skiing, and long-distance running. He was a scratch golfer as a young man and remained a lifelong student of the game, chipping golf balls and reading about golf technique until the day he died. He started playing golf in high school, was a captain and four-year member of Hamline’s golf team, and even built a short, Cayman-style golf course to play what he referred to as billy goat golf with his two children and friends. George was also a long-distance runner, a sport he joined in the late 1960s to relieve stress. He logged many thousands of miles over his lifetime and ran in at least 25 marathons, but the highlight of his running career was competing and finishing the Boston Marathon. George was also a talented and avid cross-country skier and became a certified USSA ski instructor so he could introduce others to the sport. He competed and medaled in numerous ski races including the American Birkebeiner, the Mora Vasaloppet, the Finlandia, and many shorter USSA races.
A celebration of George’s life will take place later in 2022.
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