Growing up in a small town, I came to know many veterans. They were my father’s friends. These men, veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, marched in parades, presented the colors for events, sold popcorn during the fair, and were leaders in the community.
Eventually, I would go to work in this town in the late 1970s. Many of these same men I knew as a kid from their American Legion involvement became my co-workers.
Fortunately, these men recognized I was ‘wet behind the ears.’ They watched over me. They understood I could learn a great deal from them – if I wanted.
At 23 years of age, I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I soon realized that I was being shown a few things about the job and about what is important in life.
These men seemed to have a sense of contentment about what they stood for and who they were. These early mentors didn’t worry about the promotional ladder. They did their job and left work at work. Their careers did not define who they were.
George Jamison was one of those guys. He was a thoughtful, soft-spoken, polite, kind man who readily smiled. Just a couple of months ago, I received some input from George and his wife Dorothy for a column I was writing. I always looked up to both of them for their wisdom and kindness.
George and his wife Dorothy were married for 61 years. Dorothy said when you are living life, the years slip by. Their marriage was a happy one, and I know how proud they were of their family.
I recently got an email from a friend that stated, “We lost good old George. He was 89.” It was sad news when our communities lose men and women from extraordinary times in our history.
His son Scott posted on social media that his father lived a full life. He said his father was a veteran of the Korean War, a sharpshooter, correctional officer, goat farmer, avid gardener, fisherman, sign painter, woodcarver, and teller of terrible jokes. The lousy joke-telling was verified by multiple sources.
There was so much to George. He was a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was involved in his community and his church, the United Church of Christ in Sandstone. To me, a minor acquaintance in his life, it was his kindness that left its mark.
George didn’t venture too far in his life. He was born near Sandstone in east-central Minnesota and was a 1951 graduate of Sandstone High School. Except for the military and time in the Twin Cities for school and work at the Veteran’s Hospital, he lived most of his life just outside of Sandstone.
Dorothy Fish, from South Dakota, came to work at the Sandstone hospital as a nurse and met George. They were married in 1960. George bought a portion of his dad’s land, and they built their home in 1965.
I have stopped there a couple of times over the years, and still, if I am up that way, I slow down as I drive by to look at their beautiful flowers and garden.
George has left a legacy. His brother-in-law Pat Galvin said George was talented in art and wood carving. He also said he was a trustworthy, knowledgeable, and humble man. He remembers when they would sit and talk - about everything.
I hope you have had people like George in your life. Pay attention, and you will find them. Individuals who have virtuous priorities do not seek but give.
These unique individuals are surrounded by what truly defines them - family, faith, friends, and community. George will be missed.