Burl F. George, 97, of Spring Valley passed away June 8, 2019, in St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria.
A celebration of Burl’s life will be held at a later date. Barto Funeral Home, Spring Valley, is assisting the family.
Burl was born July 29, 1921, to Burl F. George Sr. and Frances Wilson George in Ladd. He was a graduate of Hall High School, class of 1939. Burl then attended and graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, where he was enrolled in the civilian pilot training program. Burl also played football while at Knox College and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity since 1943.
Burl was especially proud of his military service in World War II. He entered the United States Army Air Corps as a pilot in 1944 and was stationed at the Childress Army Air Field in Texas. Burl flew transport missions country-wide as his contribution to the war effort. Throughout his life, he had a love of flying and anything related to the Air Force. While on a short leave from the Air Force, he married Gladys Savio on Feb. 12, 1944, in Chicago. Gladys then joined Burl in Texas where they started a family.
After World War II, Burl returned home to join the family business with his father, Burl F. George Sr., in the John Deere Farm Implement store in Spring Valley. Later, he also became a General Electric appliance dealer. Burl served generations of families in the Illinois Valley for decades with unparalleled service. He was on call 24/7 to repair tractors in the field during planting and harvest times, failed stoves on Thanksgiving morning, and air conditioners in the heat of summer. Many people still have stories of how Burl saved the day by fixing a broken this or that. He retired after over 50 years in the business.
Burl was a talented photographer and avid world traveler. He visited many countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, South American, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Through the lens of a camera, he witnessed many of the world’s wonders. He especially loved bringing his children unusual mementos from these travels. In his retirement, it was not unusual for Burl, with Gladys riding shotgun, to wander the country by car visiting friends and relatives from coast to coast. No roadside attraction was too trivial that he didn’t stop to photograph, archive and add to his extensive collection. He loved sharing his travelogues and photos with many people in the community.
Burl was a member and past commander of Spring Valley American Legion Post 182, for 70 years. He was a member of Spring Valley Rotary. For 66 years he was a member of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Illinois. Burl was able to attend the Quad Cities Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in 2010. At age 95, he flew to the Oshkosh International Air Show in a Beechcraft AT7, a plane he had flown while in the Army Air Corps. At age 96, he was thrilled to be able to ride in a TBM Avenger plane.
Burl is survived by his children, Burl (June) F. George III of Normal, Elizabeth George (Steve Edgcomb) of Peru, Barbara (Jim) Lukosus of Peru, Beverly George (Mickey Venegas) of La Salle, Rebecca (Doug) Holly of Arizona, Roberta (Mark) McArthy of St. Louis and Bruce (Sally) George of Bloomington. He was grandfather to Burl F. George IV, Shayson Clay, Christopher George, Eric and Aaron Lukosus, Anne Hylla, Robert and Daneil Zapfel, Asa and Patrick Johnston, Sam Holly, Ryan, Kilian, and Aydan McArthy, and Jackson and Sophia George; great-grandfather to Charlie and Vivian Lukosus, Oliver and Opal Hylla, Malcolm and Grace-Lynn Clay, Rebecca Johnston, and most recently, Phoebe George.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Gladys, in 2016, after 72 years of marriage.
Memorials may be directed to Illinois Veterans Home, 1015 O’Conor Ave., La Salle, IL 61301 or to the donor’s choice in memory of Burl.
A guestbook and condolences may be viewed at bartofh.com.