George Wallace Zwiker
July 4, 1922 – March 15, 2020
On March 15, 2020 in Transitions Hospice , Cary NC, George Wallace Zwiker lay down his temporal burden. Told his condition was terminal, he’d said, “Well, let’s not get morbid about this. I’m ready to go.” On July 4, 1922, he was born, a real life nephew of his Uncle Sam. Patriot was not his middle name, but it would have been appropriate. George was the only child of George Max and Mildred Bjornstad Zwikirisch of Muskegon, Michigan. The bill for his birth at Hackley Hospital came to $45 which may be why he was an only child. Frugality was a core family value. As a young man in high school, “Wally” was active in an ice skating club that occasionally provided extras for the professional ice skaters who performed on tour. He saved the small notebook in which he’d meticulously diagramed the ice dances. Also as a teenager, he honed his negotiating skills by convincing his parents to install one of those new-fangled contraptions, a telephone, by offering to pay for it. In 1940, his high school yearbook featured his first published short story, “Strange Experience”. Muskegon being the home of the Milwaukee Clipper, it made perfect sense for Wally to apply for a job on the ferry. The crisp white uniform had a military look that might have make the attire transition easier when WWII broke out and he enlisted, as enlist he did along with many of his buddies. From the all-white uniform to the iconic blue and red dress uniform of the U.S. Marine Corps and later the dun colored uniform of the U.S Army, he was comfortable in formality and order and discipline. By 1954, he’d won sole custody of his three children, a rare circumstance for a man at the time. Perplexed as to how to face this challenge, he turned to what he did know: a revolving duty roster for the kids and the Lutheran Church. “I knew I needed help, so I turned to God.” In that year, he and his three children were baptized into Our Savior Lutheran Church in Muskegon, MI. A few years later, George was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign wars and the Marine Corps League, serving as commandant of the latter. The family moved often, so they changed churches but never denominations as he followed his employment opportunities. In 1958 one of the most seminal opportunities appeared, so he entered Purdue University for an intensive course in yet another new-fangled contraption: computers. When George got into computers, they literally got in to computers. His newly-acquired skills led him gradually to a financial incline as he worked for Univac then Remington Rand, leading also to the move to Saginaw MI. Just as his offspring began to leave the nest in Saginaw, he could finally afford to pursue two long-held interests: writing and sailing. He purchased his first sailboat, a handmade fixer-upper that provided joyous hours of tedious restoration; and he enrolled in a creative writing course at Delta College. Also enrolled in that course was the woman who would become the love of his life: Eleanor Janice Rogers. After knowing each other a mere three months, they were married in Bay City, MI in a serene ceremony with his two youngest children as witnesses. Both had been married before, George twice, and although most would be wary, they each knew the other was the perfect match. The next 52 years were a glorious jumble of moving, of sailboats and sailing, camping, traveling and spending as much time as possible with friends and family, including grandchildren. When George retired as head of data processing for Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Company in 1987, they moved to Florida where both became active in Prince of Peace Lutheran Church of Englewood. Their dedication to their church never wavered, and George died with his military uniforms still preserved in a garment bag in his closet. A man of honor and deep commitments, George was also a man of humor and grace. He had a joke or witty comment for every occasion and could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. When he visited, the first few minutes were spent greeting whatever dog or cat presented itself. As one beloved family member said, “George was a remarkable person. He was so laid back and easy to get along with that you almost missed his strong and sharp awareness of what was going on. He had a great sense of humor that was refreshing and rare. He made a contribution everywhere he went and will be missed.” George was preceded in death by his youngest, Michael James Zwiker, 1950-2018. He is survived by his beloved wife, Eleanor; his eldest son, William Max, of West Virginia; his daughter, Molleen of Michigan; and grandchildren: Jason of South Carolina; Stacy Christie of Georgia; Scott Christie of Florida; Kevin Zwiker and his wife Stephanie, of Michigan; Jennifer Zwiker, of California; James Zwiker, of California; as well as numerous great-grand children. His wartime memoir, WWII: A Small Part, was published in 2005.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
George Wallace Zwiker
Norm & Vi gmail.com Caldwell
March 26, 2020
We were were fortunate to know him here at Venetian Gardens. We honor him for his Army and Marine service and doing a great job raising his kids. We read one of the books he wrote and were impressed by his skills in writing. Our deepest sympathy to the family. He is missed here.