George was born at 6 lbs. 10 oz. and grew to be a mighty man with the strength of Sampson, some might say. First-hand accounts told of feats of strength where he lifted unbelievable amounts at service stations, lumber mills, wrecking yards, and more.
George was mechanically gifted from a young age. As a toddler, he disconnected his dad’s motorcycle brakes causing him to crash into some flower bushes. At the age of 5, he could correctly identify the difference between an alternator and a starter. And by the time he was a teenager, he had changed several engines in his dad’s vehicles. In addition to his mechanical giftings, he was was also skilled in plumbing and electrical work. What was non-workable, became workable in his hands.
George loved cars, motorcycles, and racing around the Okanogan valley with his brother and friends. As it says in 2 Kings 9:20, Jehu drove fast and furious, and George drove like he had the anointing of Jehu upon him. He told many a tale of fixing up motorcycles and cars and racing around with his brother Jim and friends around town.
Although the law might not have caught George during his adventurous escapades, God did. George loved God and taught his children to honor God and his commandments. He loved the Word of God. Like the prophet Jeremiah said, God’s word was like a fire shut up in his bones, and he couldn’t hold back from declaring it. He feared God and would speak God’s word fearlessly. As a young adult, George had been a Sunday school teacher at the Oroville Assembly of God, where he was a member for decades.
George took the words of Jesus to heart, that said, “Whatever you do for one of the least of these, you do for Me.” He was known to take in strangers and feed and clothe them. His sons recall the time they found a man sleeping in the bushes of their yard, they came and told their Dad, and George invited the man in for a hot meal. On another occasion, he helped clothe and feed a hitchhiker trying to get a ride on a winter night. These are just two of many memories his family recalls.
George was generous to all and gave whatever he had to help someone in need. Friends and family came to him when they needed help, usually fixing a car or a furnace, and he would fix it without ever asking for money in return.
Family meant everything to George, and he fiercely protected them. As a kid, he was a protective older brother, and that never changed. If anyone tried to pick on his siblings, they had George to reckon with, and they regretted it. He was the same with his kids and anyone he loved.
George supported his kids in whatever they did. When his sons were in Royal Rangers and did the pinewood derby races, George helped them build cars that were winners. When his kids went to Bible Quizzing at Nationals in Joplin, MO, he drove them across the states and showed them the national monuments and sights along the way. Whatever their endeavors, he was there cheering them on.
George shared his adventurous spirit with his kids and grandkids, teaching them to ride motorcycles and shoot guns. George was a proud father and grandfather and loved to take pictures of his family and show them to anyone and everyone who would stop and take a look. He loved sharing stories and connecting with people.
George is preceded in death by his mother and father, brother-in-laws Gus Markel, Jason Kurlovich, and Mike Carter. He is survived by his children; Christine (Steve) Wright of Mobile, Dan (Shannon) Barker of Tacoma, Lee (Kimberli) Barker of Omak, and Charity (Jacob) Henak of Issaquah, his grandchildren; Rees Wright, Judah Wright, Meghan Barker, Kaitlyn Barker, Hannah Wright, Josiah Barker, his siblings; Charlotte Markel, James (Marlene) Barker, and Hazel Kurlovich; nieces and nephews; Antonia (Judas) Dean, Jeanette (Jon) Hamilton, Jamie (Chad) Portwood, Jake (Stephanie) Barker, Jessup (Kelsey) Barker, and numerous grandnieces, and grandnephews.
George may be gone from this life, but his legacy of love and generosity will live on in the hearts of those he left behind. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 11 a.m. at the Oroville Riverview Cemetery with a memorial service following at 12 noon at the Oroville Assembly of God (623 Central Ave) with Pastor Dwayne Turner and Tom Scott officiating. A luncheon will follow the service at the church. Visitation will be held on Friday, January 20, 2023 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Bergh Chapel (801 Main St.).