La Grande, Oregon
George Leslie Fleshman, 83, of La Grande, died April 24 at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Walla Walla. A funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the First Christian Church, 901 Penn Ave. in La Grande. Burial will follow at the Island City Cemetery. Viewing hours will run from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. in La Grande.
George was born Sept. 7, 1924, to Oliver C. and Margaret (Willett) Fleshman in La Grande, the youngest of 10 children. After graduating from La Grande High School in 1942, he attended Eastern Oregon State College and later graduated from the University of Oregon.
During World War II he served with the Air Force as a lieutenant. On Dec. 21, 1946, he married Dorothy J. Swart in La Grande. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1996 and celebrated their 61st last December.
George was manager of the La Grande Social Security District Office from 1972 until retiring on May 31, 1983.
He was known throughout the community simply as George or Mr. Rotary and was a friend of all. He was an active member and Elder Emeritus in the First Christian Church in La Grande, being baptized at the age of 10. He was also active in the First Christian Church in Salem where the Fleshmans made their home early in their marriage and where their sons were born.
He was a member of Rotary International since 1962 with 19 years of perfect attendance by visiting clubs in every traveled country, and a past president in 1965. He was honored for his service to Rotary and earned the Paul Harris award.
He was an instructor of cross country skiing for the Special Olympics for 14 years. For 18 years he served on the United Way Board of Directors and was a past president and campaign chair for two years. In 1965 he was honored by the Chamber of Commerce as the Man of the Year. In 1988 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Eastern Oregon State College. His latest recognition of community service was given to him this month as a Valuable Volunteer for his monthly slide shows to the residents at the Grande Ronde Retirement Residence.
George was an avid mountain climber and backpacker, earning the Mazama 16 Peak Award in 1970, the same year he climbed the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. He loved the Wallowa Mountain wilderness and hiked to almost every lake during his hiking years, also backpacking in other portions of Oregon, Washington, Europe, New Zealand and England, completing the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon between the California and Washington borders in 1987, a distance of 425 miles. He ended his active mountain climbing by standing on the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, on the occasion of his 64th birthday on Sept. 7, 1988.
In 1992 George volunteered and was accepted for the Northwest Medical Teams International construction project in Mexico City. The Chilkoot Trail in Alaska lured him in 1997 to celebrate the Gold Rush days (1897-1898).
George was a world traveler and loved every minute of it. Besides spending spring break at Death Valley for 16 years, he and Dorothy visited friends and relatives in Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Canada and cruised the Alaskan coast.
In 2007, George stood on the Great Wall of China. He always returned with slide travelogues to share with others. As a serious photographer he will be remembered by his beautiful slide shows that he presented to local service clubs, churches, schools, senior center and nursing homes throughout the years. In his own words, he was “really a nice, cuddly fellow – missed by all.”
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of La Grande; sons and their spouses, Craig and Marilyn Fleshman of Sublimity, Terry and Debbie Fleshman of Las Vegas and Randy and Marilyn Fleshman of Scio; six grandchildren and two adopted grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; two sisters, Margery Rogers of Pendleton and Mildred Holly of Eugene; many other relatives; and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by an infant grandchild, “Little Irish”; brothers, Kenneth, Dwight, Roy and Ray Fleshman; and sisters, Miriam Fleshman, Blanche Rohland and Bethel Courtney.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church of La Grande, the La Grande noon Rotary Club or any other charity of choice.
La Grande Observer, Obituaries for the day of April 28, 2008
George Fleshman, 83, of La Grande, died April 24 in Walla Walla. A memorial service was held earlier today.
He belonged to the American Legion Post 43 and the Sierra Club in addition to many other organizations.
Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of arrangements.
La Grande Observer, Obituaries for the day of April 30, 2008