Photography

       


George Gray Menke

October 27, 1936 ~ December 22, 2016 (age 80)

George Gray Menke 1936 – 2016

George, a resident of Harbor Club, went to be with the Lord on December 22, 2016.  George leaves behind his beloved wife, Julie, of 40+ years, five wonderful children - Dorothy of Frederick, MD, George Christopher of Miami Beach, FL, Andrew of Sandy, UT, Christina of Conyers, GA, Lauren of San Antonio, TX and many children-in-law, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild.

 

George was born in Washington, DC and lived his early years in the Maryland countryside with his parents and two brothers, John L. Menke and the late Peter T. Menke of Barnesville, Maryland. He attended Montgomery College and graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  George loved and spent most of his career in sales.  He was in the U.S. Merchant Marine and entered his sales career in the pharmaceutical industry where he worked as a sales representative and was promoted to Manager of Sales and Scientific Training and then to Division Sales Manager in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.  He also lived in Bermuda where he worked for a local pharmaceutical importer.

 

In his early career, George moved a number of times: to New Jersey, Bermuda, back to New Jersey, then to New Hampshire where he worked for New England Nuclear Corp (Boston). He then moved back to the Washington, DC area and started his own office coffee service business which he successfully operated for more than 11 years (and also where he met Julie!).  He then joined The Kent Company, a division of AB Electrolux of Sweden, rising thru the ranks from Regional Sales Manager to Division Manager to Director of National Accounts and then to Robotic Director all the while moving from Maryland to South Florida to Elkhart, Indiana - the company’s US headquarters.   While on a business trip to southern California in 1996, he suffered a substantial heart attack resulting in an urgent quintuple bypass surgery. His hospital course was complicated by atrial fibrillation and heart failure. Yet, through the combined support of his very special wife, talented medical team, and his own persistent dedication, he regained his strength, took back a healthy lifestyle, and recovered with almost no lingering side effects for many, many years. He continued to work for Kent during this time and upon the sale of the company, George went to work with the purchaser of the company – Advance Machine Company for several years. With his devoted family, he then moved back to Florida where he continued to work in sales before choosing to relocate to the Lake Oconee area.

 

George loved his wife and children dearly and greatly looked forward to coming home after his extended business travels. In his spare time, he enjoyed all water sports – sailing, sailboat racing, and snow skiing.  At one time, he was a licensed private pilot and a part-time ski instructor (and taught his own kids to ski from a very early age!) who loved skiing in New England, Colorado, Utah, California, and Canada! He enjoyed leisure travel and cruising with his family and friends as well as all of the various sporting activities of his children and grandchildren (football, softball, basketball, gymnastics, pole vault, volleyball, swimming, and lacrosse to name a few!). At Lake Oconee, he captained charter boats and provided tours to current and future residents. He loved navigating the water!

 

He always appreciated a challenge, a new opportunity, and a new place to explore and learn.  After moving nearly 20 times upon completion of college, he and Julie set up a deli which they operated and profitably sold after many years.  Few probably knew that he also had an interest in gardening businesses, worked on two different ski resorts, and enjoyed dabbling in real estate ventures. You can now probably understand why George’s mother named him, “the experience collector.”

Julie and George moved to Greensboro, GA in 2006 and fell in love with the warm and friendly community such that they decided they were done with moving! They joined Lakeside Church and both have been very active in the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) where they became certified instructors and facilitators of several NAMI signature programs. They have participated in the annual fundraising NAMI walks helping to raise thousands of dollars and working to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. George also took interest in the local school system of Greene County as he believed the heart of progress was in education of the youth.

Beyond all of this, his dear friends and family know just how devoted, wise, kind, patient, and supportive George was to everyone; a true blessing to this world. In his later years, he always had such sound advice to offer, always lent a listening ear, and always knew just what to say (or not to say)! He would have done anything for his family and his smile lit up every room.  He recently made the 17+hr drive to San Antonio to help take care of his grandson, Weston, or “Westonator” as he called him and took Julie to the local Nutcracker Production in Athens, GA.  As a physician, his daughter, Lauren, used to always say that he was “the best patient.” He took his medications religiously, exercised frequently, and always read up on the latest medical news frequently inquiring about certain medications for his heart.  Despite this, his heart began to tire over the years and God had been preparing him for his time away from Earth. He passed away with his best buddy, Riley or “Rydog” as he called him, at his side.

There will be a Celebration of Life Gathering of Family & Friends on Sunday, June 25, 2017, from 5-7 p.m. at The Harbor Club Clubhouse, Greensboro, GA 30642.  Overnight accommodations may be explored at The Lodge on Lake Oconee:  http://www.thelodgeonlakeoconee.com/ McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit McCommons at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online guest register. In lieu of flower contributions, George had asked that any donations be made to the NAMI Lake Oconee, P.O. Box 4111, Eatonton, GA 31024.

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