George R. Stege Ill left us peacefully on Monday, April 15, 2019, at home in Bainbridge Island, WA, at the age of 88. He leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Evelyn Stege, son Tom and wife Kim, daughter Carol and husband Frank Mandell, grandchildren Katherine, Elizabeth, Ryan and Alex, and many nieces, nephews and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, George Jr. and Dorothy Tegtmeyer Stege, and his sister Barbara Wiedeman.
George was born in Oak Park, IL., on March 29, 1931, grew up in Park Ridge, IL., and graduated from Maine Township High School. As a boy he never turned down an opportunity to go fishing with his parents, and his wedding gift to Evie was her very own casting rod.
In his fifties, he began fly fishing with friends, in Washington and British Columbia, and enjoyed a new passion.
In 1953 he graduated from Williams College and in 1956 from Law School at the University of Michigan. He kept in close touch with high school, college and law school friends throughout his life and enjoyed many reunions. A Williams friend recently shared that everyone loved George, and he never disliked anyone. His law work began in Chicago but was interrupted when he was drafted by the Army. For most of the two years on active duty, he was doing legal work at the Quartermaster Depot in Philadelphia where he met Evie Orttung. They were married in 1960 and enjoyed 59 happy years together.
Evie and George first lived in Evanston, IL for four years before moving to Seattle for two years, and in 1966 moved to Bainbridge Island where they adopted their two children. George’s law practice was then in Seattle, mostly as a partner with Clifford Benson, for 35 years. George loved Bainbridge Island and always wanted to help preserve it, as it was when he discovered it. He served on the boards of Bainbridge Foundation (now One Call for All), the Bainbridge Park and Rec. District, and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust. In retirement he enjoyed biking with geezer friends, playing table tennis at the Senior Center, building houses with Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County, and travel with Evie (especially road trips). He was grateful to have lived long enough to take a special trip with each of the grandchildren, in the US and abroad.
George was a generous, gentle, caring man, friendly and always thinking of others, with a wonderful sense of humor. Some will remember him as a dedicated geoduck digger, for many years, refusing to give up even though the tide was coming in over him. Between geoduck harvesting and conversations by the wood stove, George became the adopted grandfather of neighbor children, Maddie and Bella Haines. His unlimited curiosity about every subject meant that any time spent with him would be the best of times.
Plans are being made for a celebration of life on Saturday, June 1. For details please visit www.cookfamilyfuneralhome.com. If you are planning to attend, please email a message to Evie at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can have a head count.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Bainbridge Island Land Trust, Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County, or Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center.