George Edwin Hertzke
1932 ~ April 3, 2017
George Edwin Hertzke, 84, died peacefully in his home in Sun City West, Ariz., on April 3, 2017, after a long, brave fight with cancer. George was born in Boulder, Colo., in 1932 to George A. and Cora Mae Hertzke. He had one younger brother, Jon L. Hertzke. The family moved several times before settling in Grand Junction, Colo. George attended Grand Junction High School where he was an outstanding athlete. He played basketball, baseball, football and track and was recognized many times for his incredible talents. After graduating high school in 1950, he attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., where he played basketball and football while earning his teaching degree. George taught and coached at Grand Valley High School and other rural towns in eastern Colorado. He then accepted a teaching job in Palm Springs, California where, in addition to coaching football and basketball for several years, he met his soulmate and wife of 45 years, Billie. He was the principal at Hayden High School from 1975 to 1978, after which he, Billie, and friends moved to Boulder to open a Mexican food restaurant on the Pearl Street Mall. After a bulldozer razing the building next door inadvertently destroyed the restaurant, he returned to education as the principal of North Gallia High School in Gallia County, Ohio. But his heart remained in Colorado, and he returned with his family to Hayden, where he was again the high school principal from 1982 to 1988. From 1988 to 1994 he was the high school principal in Meeker. Upon his retirement in 1994, he and Billie moved to Grand Junction, where she continued to teach. They also opened an educational supply store, Learning Works, where George could be found daily and where he was not only the lowest paid employee, but holder of the most “Employee of the Month” certificates! Being the young(ish) whipper-snapper that he was, he began mowing fairways at Adobe Golf Course in Fruita. He loved the serenity and nature in the early mornings and worked there until August 2015. George and Billie moved to Arizona in 2015.
George’s family will forever miss the blessings, happiness, laughter and love he filled each of their hearts with. His quiet, unassuming nature defined him and he lived his life with an unmatched integrity and unshakable character. George had three daughters, Georgiana (Gigi) Hertzke, Donna Hertzke, and Debbie Bricker, and three sons, Eddie Hertzke, Jeff Boyle, and Billy-George (Bumper) Hertzke. In addition, he is survived by his sister-in-law Lora Hertzke, son-in-law Jeff Bricker, daughter-in-law Kate Boyle, son-in-law Lance Blumberg, grandchildren Katelin Hinton and her husband Tyler, Madison Stastny and her husband Trey, Max Bricker, Dylan Boyle, Brooks Boyle, and great-grandchildren Crew and Nola Stastny.
George was preceded in death by his parents, brother Jon, son Eddie, and former wife Margaret, mother of Gigi, Eddie and Donna.
A celebration of George’s life will take place in Arizona, and a family remembrance and reunion will take place in Steamboat Springs this summer.
George Edwin Hertzke