George Kiefer

July 22, 1940November 30, 2012
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With profound sadness, we mourn the death of a beloved husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend.

George John Kiefer died on Friday, November 30, 2012 after a long illness from complications due to pneumonia. He was surrounded by his loving family: wife Marilyn and daughters Kathryn and Karolyn.

George was born in 1940 to Mr. Carl Kiefer and Mrs. Hattie Skala Kiefer, and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio.

He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he played on the Badger football team, and graduated with a BA in communications from Kent State University in Ohio. It was at UW where he met his wife of 50 years, Marilyn Verstegen, from Neenah, Wisconsin. They were married on June 9, 1962 in Neenah. They spent their early married life in Wisconsin and Ohio, but the majority of their time together was in Michigan: Flushing, West Bloomfield, Northville, and Ann Arbor.

George spent most of his career as an advertising sales executive in the newspaper industry: first, with Booth Newspapers in Michigan at the Flint Journal and Ann Arbor News, then at Gannett’s Detroit News and Detroit Newspapers. He retired in 2001.

George loved golf and was a long-time member of Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor; he was ready to play any time, any course. He proudly scored his one and only hole-in-one in a tournament in 1996, for which he won $10,000.

George was a gourmet cook, always taking charge of and cooking for any occasion, even the smallest meal. His trademark was Christmas dinner, comprising standing rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, double baked potatoes, asparagus, and Caesar salad. It took hours to prepare and enjoy this scrumptious meal.

Always the life of the party, George loved to sing and dance. Grabbing the microphone with authority, George routinely led spirited renditions of such favorites as “Tom Dooley” and “Don’t Fence Me In”. On the dance floor, he excelled in the twist and the jitterbug.

Above all, George’s family came first: Marilyn, Kathryn and Karolyn, his grandchildren Matthew Barnes and Emily and Zachary Ahern, always took precedence in his life. He was justifiably proud of them, always available for them, and derived much pleasure from their companionship.

He is predeceased by his parents and is survived by his wife Marilyn Kiefer, of Ann Arbor; daughters Kathryn Kiefer of Grosse Pointe, Michigan and Karolyn (Dean) Ahern of Shelburne Vermont; grandchildren Matthew Barnes, and Emily and Zachary Ahern; brother Karl Kiefer of Columbus, Ohio; niece Kim Kiefer Kahn, of Maplewood, New Jersey; sisters-in-law Susan Verstegen (Bruce) Nolop of New York and Deborah Verstegen of Reno, Nevada; nephews Michael and Nathan Nolop.

The family will receive visitors on Saturday, January 5th beginning at 11:00am at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 2250 East Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI, until the Mass of Christian Burial at 12:00 noon, officiated by Fr. Jim McDougall. A reception will be held immediately following the mass. George’s ashes will be buried at St. Margaret’s Cemetery in Neenah, Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of George sent to: Infectious Disease Patient Care Gift Fund Louis Perdue UM Medical Development 1000 Oakbrook Drive Suite 100 Ann Arbor, MI 48104


  • Visitation Saturday, January 5, 2013
  • Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, January 5, 2013

George Kiefer

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Barb Sutton

April 20, 2013

From all of us in the class of '58, John Adams, George was a great guy & will be missed at the 55th reunion. He will be looking down from heaven & sharing those times with all of us, along with all our other lost friends. WE MISS YOU ALL. Barb Huml Sutton (North Ridgeville, Ohio), Paddy Ross Rawlins (Garfield Heights, Ohio), & June Habart Yurkiewicz (Parma, Ohio)

Tina Calo

April 19, 2013

My deepest sympathy to the Kiefer family. I knew George at John Adams High School and, although, I was a class ahead of him I remember his warm smile and friendly ways through school. Even now I can picture him going through the halls greeting people in his quiet way making them feel a little better for the day. My thoughts and prayers are with the family today.

April 19, 2013

My sincerest sympathy. George and I grew up together. We'd known each other since elementary school. I will remember him fondly.

Jewell Ann Davis Diehn
Cleveland, Ohio

Debbie Ponton

December 31, 2012

To the Kiefer family,

I wish to express my deepest sympathy.
I worked with George when he was the Nat'l Advertising Director at the Detroit Newspapers and I was a Credit Analyst in the Credit Dept. I will always remember when George would call me on the phone and he would say " Hi Partner!" I knew then that there was a credit issue with an advertiser that required immediate resolution. He would negotiate the issue for his sales executives and the advertiser for the good of the newspaper. He was a true professional.
When he left the paper in 2001, I said goodbye and referred to him as "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" I still believe that. May he rest in peace.

John Bentley

December 28, 2012

My sincerest sympathy on the loss of George

He was simply a wonderful man, a pleasure to know, and someone I will always remember.

I had the honor of working with him at Detroit Newspapers from 1989 until the year he retired. Whether it was his taking to the microphone to sing a song at a company function, listening to him on voice-over narrating countless presentations, or just being on the receiving end of his words of wisdom, George was one of a kind.

One of my fondest memories was seeing him getting into his car in the big garage - dapper as always, and most likely on his way to call on an important advertising client. I knew the newspapers were in good hands.

Deborah Verstegen

December 18, 2012

Dear Marilyn, Kathryn and Kari,

Sincere Condolences!!

George was many things to many people--a father, husband, friend. To me he was a brother (in-law), always there for a chat, a kind word, a laugh, a hug.

When I moved from Virginia, he came with you and helped--even driving a big truck to haul my books from the storage bin! When I traveled to Australia, he came, with you, to care for Nikki and Tess, water my new bushes and say "hi" to Reno. He was the master chef at my wedding. The list goes on and on!!

My wish is that his many kindnesses be returned 100-fold on the other side. . . until we meet again.

Love and hugs,


Deborah Verstegen
Reno, Nevada

John & Cherie Sleyter

December 16, 2012

Dear Marilyn,
My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I worked with and for George for a number of years at The News and Free Press.
He was a great boss, who was a true professional, but was an even greater person. He definitely had a love of life.

Debbi Weider-Jennings

December 11, 2012

The Kiefer family,

I remember George with very fond memories since I worked with him at The News/Free Press. George was always ready with a joke or a good story and was often the life of the party. I recall how George could break out in song for no particular reason and the voice overs he did for the papers' commercials. . .they were remarkable. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

Jim and Kathy Tinsley

December 10, 2012

Dear Marilyn

Please accept my condolences. Working with you for more than 15 years, I remember the wonderful stories that you would share about the auto shows, George's adventures with Matt, and the wonderful Christmas dinners. I also remember George's generosity in life and on the golf course. George was a true gentleman. Kathy and I are truly sorry for your loss, and we want you and the family to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers

Dave Richards

December 9, 2012

Dear Marilyn and family. What a beautiful obituary. I worked with George from 1993 until he retired from The News. It was only a short time...but George sure made an impression on me. I have great memories of him. He had a gift of bringing laughter and a smile into any situation. Oh..and the wonderful collection of ties, and sometimes matching sox, sure made George stand out above all of us looking to make a fashion impression in the office. I pray that your entire family experiences the comfort of God, and seeks him during this difficult time. Love and Prayers.