July 22, 1940 – November 30, 2012
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
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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)
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
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.
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.
December 18, 2012
Dear Marilyn, Kathryn and Kari,
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,
John & Cherie Sleyter
December 16, 2012
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.
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
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
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.
December 9, 2012
I was so sorry to discover George's obituary just now while doing an online search for my old friends at Booth Newspapers.
I was George & Don Schiefsky's secretary between 1978 and 1981, which is when my husband Jeff and I moved to Colorado. I learned so much while working for George about the world of newspapers, advertising, and business in general. He was kind, generous, and frankly - loved the office gossip! I remember fondly the evening you and George hosted dinner for all of us at your home in Ann Arbor, and that if I am not mistaken, he did a lot of the cooking!
In any case, it is with warm memories and sincere condolences that I express how sad I am for this great loss you and your family are enduring.
My very best to you all.
December 9, 2012
Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. George's obituary was "on-the-money". He was a kind, intelligent, honorable, and fun-loving man. My fondest memory of George is from when he and I sang (karaoke-style) the song, "You're No Good" (Linda Ronstadt) at Gayle Graves' President day party in 1992. May the many wonderful memories of George you hold so dear lighten your heart.
Cathy Schroeder (formerly Guerin)
Debbie Younkin Smith
December 9, 2012
My deepest sympathy to George's family and friends. I worked for/with him at The Detroit News and he was a great boss and friend and a fun, funny, generous man who loved golf, music and especially his family. May his memory remain close in all of our hearts.
December 8, 2012
Dear Marilyn, I was so sorry to hear about George passing awawy, too young! I know yhou will be lonely but your wonderful memories will help the hurt. As you might not know, Jim is in a nursing home since last May with the awful sickness of Alzheimers. I wish I could sit down with you and talk sometime so if you are ever in the area please do call. Please please accept my sincere sympathy. As ever, Mona
December 7, 2012
Dear Marilyn, please accept my deepest expression of sympathy. I read with a warm heart and smile the obituary -- that's exactly how I remember George when we worked together at the News: great sales leader, life of the party, lover of golf, and a family first man. May you be comforted by warm memories...
Neil, Hege, Christopher and AndrÃ© Nolop
December 5, 2012
Dear Marilyn and family, please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
December 5, 2012
Kathryn and family I'm sorry for your loss.
December 4, 2012
Dear Kiefer Family,
I used to work with George at the News / Free Press. George was just a wonderful person to work with. We all loved him and what a snappy dresser! Always looked like he stepped out of a men's fashion magazine. I know that you will miss him terribly, but know that he no longer suffers any pain or discomfort. God bless you all.
Suzanne (LaRochelle) Bednarchik
December 3, 2012
We send our love and deepest sympathy to Marilyn, Kathryn, Karolyn, Dean, Matthew, Emily and Zachary on the passing of our dear brother-in-law/uncle, George. We retain heartfelt memories of George, a great person who touched all of our lives.
The Verstegen/Nolop Family: Susan, Bruce, Michael & Nathan