George Adam Schaller

George Adam Schaller, of Hartford, better known by his friends as "Shorty," was called home by Our Heavenly Father just before 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005, surrounded by his faithful wife and loving daughters, at All About Life Rehabilita-tion Center in Fond du Lac.

Following a humbling dec-ade of quietly accepting the ravages of cerebral vascular episodes, failing eyesight, and Alzheimerís Disease, George courageously endured complications with his heart in the final week of his life.

He was 86 years old, and the last remaining member of his immediate family.

He was the devoted husband of Georgine (nee Radke) and the loving father of three daughters, Pamela of Germantown, Sandra (Carl) Marten of Las Cruces, N. M. and Dona Rae of Hartford, and the proud grandfather of one granddaughter, Tonya Marten of Las Cruces.

George Schaller was born in Hartford on Decoration Day, May 30, 1919 to Adam and Gertrude (nee Zurn) Schaller, becoming the third of five children.

His fatherís family were German immigrants, and he was the nephew of his namesake, George ĎShortyí and Margaret Schaller, who owned and operated Schallerís Bakery on Main Street in Hartford.

As a boy, George helped out in the bakery cleaning bread pans and sweeping floors. As a young man, he worked as a side laster at the Weyenberg Shoe Factory, also in Hartford.

George enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force on July 22, 1940 in Milwaukee. Remaining state-side for several years, he attained the rank of sergeant while with Company "A," 53rd Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Wolters, Texas.

George was in charge of moving troops by train between the military camps of Fort Lewis, Wash. and Camp Wolters, Texas. He was also in charge of leading calisthenics.

While with Company "L," he obtained the designation of expert rifleman with a 30-cal. rifle by the 262nd Infantry.

Sgt. Schaller eventually was shipped overseas for a tour of duty in the European Theater sometime in 1943 through the end of World War II, as an infantryman with the Black Panther Division, serving in France and Germany.

He returned to the United States via Liberty Ship, arriving in Camp Kilmer, New Brunswick, N.J. on Nov. 8, 1945, and obtained an honorable discharge on Nov. 21, 1945 at Fort Sheridan, Ill., enlisting in the Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserve through November 1948.

Shortly after returning home from the war, George was hired by the Wisconsin Telephone Co. as a lineman. He went on to become a combination installation/repairman serving many private homes, farms, and businesses in Hartford and surrounding communities.

In 1977, he transitioned to the position of testing technician working out of offices in West Bend and Menomonee Falls.

He retired from the company, then known as Ameritech, on Aug. 31, 1983, following 37 years and five months of active service in the Bell Telephone System.

George became an avid athlete as an adult. He was a guard for Hartfordís basketball team in The Land of Rivers League, and was especially known for his outstanding skills in baseball and bowling.

"Shorty" excelled as a batter, pitcher and third baseman for the Hartford team of the Rock River Baseball League until about 1960.

He was also a long-standing captain of the Hartford Liquor team, champions in the Tuesday night Major League of LaBuwiís Bowl. "Shorty" set a new Hartford league record during the 1950-51 season with a 716 pin series, earning him an award of merit, and lifetime membership in the ABC (American Bowling Congress) 700 Club.

"Shorty" continued to bowl until the early 1970s.

In his spare time, he also enjoyed a round of golf now and then, just for fun, and following the Green Bay Packers, Milwau-kee Braves/Brewers and Milwau-kee Bucks games on television or radio.

George and Georgine were married on Saturday, Sept. 26, 1953 at St. Kilianís Catholic Church in Hartford, where he was a lifelong member and attended regularly until late in life.

George was also a resident of Hartford from birth until his move to the long-term care facility in Fond du Lac on Feb. 10, 2005.

Music was a big part of Georgeís life, and he thoroughly enjoyed listening to and singing or whistling along with a great variety of music. (He also loved to dance to Big Band, waltzes, or polkas.)

Many hours during Sunday afternoons and holidays were spent playing sheepshead with members of his immediate family, and a good game of cribbage was always welcomed.

Reading was also a favorite pasttime, as well as playing the harmonica.

George was happiest puttering around in the yard, tinkering with small fix-it projects, keeping his cars, lawnmowers and snowblower in good condition, taking walks into town, or just sitting outside enjoying the weather and nature.

George was an honorary life member of the Communications Workers of America, and a member of Hartford VFW Post 8834 for more than 25 years. He was also a past member of the American Legion.

George will always be fondly remembered by all who knew him as a very likeable man of humble, upstanding character, who was honest, courteous, patriotic, and generous with his time.

He was a good provider for his family and was committed to a strong work ethic.

George loved to tease and crack jokes, and he possessed a terrific sense of humor, dry wit, and a hearty, contagious laugh with a smile and twinkling eyes that lit up a room. His lyrical whistle is imbedded in our most favorite of memories.

George was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Florence (Harold) Van Pietersom, Sister Dorothy Schaller (of the School Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi) and Lucille Schaller; one brother, Eugene Schaller; three brothers-in-law, Harold Van Pietersom, Orville Radke and Wallace Radke; two nephews, Michael and Eugene Van Pietersom; aunts; uncles; cousins; other relatives and many friends.

George is survived by his wife of 52 years; his three daughters; one son-in-law; one granddaughter, one nephew, Thomas Van Pietersom and his wife, Mary Kay of Montello, and one sister-in-law, Ruby Radke of Monroe.

He is further survived by two generations of nephews and nieces, cousins, many other relatives, brothers-in-arms, past coworkers, caring neighbors and friends.

A celebration of the life of George A. Schaller will be Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Shimon Funeral Home, 824 Union St., Hartford.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at noon.

Inurnment will follow the service in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, with graveside military rites to be performed by the Hartford VFW Post 8834 firing squad.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of the life of George are appreciated to the family.

The family of George A. Schaller wishes to express deepest, heartfelt gratitude and love to all the caregivers at the Hartford Adult Day Care Center (1022 Club) for nine months of friendship, activities, caring, sharing, physical assistance and well-balanced meals that daily gave George positive challenges and stimulating entertainment in a safe, friendly, family-oriented atmosphere with his peers. Not to mention the much-needed respite hours for his wife and daughter.

Also, to all of the staff; nurses, CNAs, therapists, social worker, cooks, dieticians, front office and cleaning personnel at All About Life Rehabilitation Center in Fond du Lac for their TLC during the last 10 months of Georgeís life.

You were Godís angels on earth; our eyes, ears, arms, hands and hearts for George when he needed much more physical care, therapy, interaction, and the 24-hour supervision that was impossible for family members to give on our own.

May each and every one of you be sufficiently blessed for your commitment to exceptional health care, and for being the extended family that is so desperately needed by so many.

We will especially remember your outpouring of kindness, generosity, affection, concern, faith and grief that was shown to George, and his wife and daughters, during the last 28 hours of Georgeís life.

Our sincere thanks and praise always