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February 4, 1947 – August 20, 2021

NEAL ELLEN GEORGE died at her home on the evening of Friday August 20, 2021, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

She was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on February 4, 1947 to Kenneth Oral Moore and Frances Elizabeth Silknitter Moore. She and Frances moved to Columbia, Missouri when she was three years old and later attended Hickman High School and the University of Missouri. After graduating in 1969 with a degree in special education, Neal set off for her next adventure. She and two friends piled into her new car and drove to Boston to find work.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

She was quickly hired to teach severely developmentally challenged children and began a lifelong passion for teaching those most in need. Three years later she met a law student thus commencing another lifelong passion.

She and Russell George married in Columbia, Missouri on November 24, 1972. Shortly thereafter they shifted their focus and joined VISTA Volunteers and served on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. In 1976, they moved to Rifle where they remain today. Neal followed her passion for education and counseling and taught at Grand Valley Schools while Russ joined Tom Stuver’s law practice. The couple started their own family and Neal eventually began her next career as a mother.

In 1978 Russ Junior was born, followed by Charlie, Tommy and Andy—who were all staggered two years apart from each other. Within a few years nephew Charles joined the household to test her mothering skills with five robust boys—a task Neal was more than able to command. Eventually Neal returned to education at Wamsley Elementary in Rifle to teach reading.

Neal loved to boast with Russ about their growing collection of grandchildren: Maren, Layne, Brandon, Natalie and Charlie Junior. To them Neal became the most fabulous “GiGi.” Nobody anywhere had a better, more loving or more giving grandmother and they will surely treasure her memory all their lives.

Neal is survived by Russell; Russ Junior and Sarah; Charlie and Cheyenne; Charlie Junior’s mom Nikki; Tommy and Carolyn; Andy and Nadia; all the grandchildren; nephew Charles, Aspen and their brood; niece Roxanne; cousin Marsden and “Sister Sally” Paterni.

Neal genuinely cared about others and had many lifelong friends. She especially loved her Theta Sisters who she kept up with over the years and the Kewpie girls from Hickman High School.

By her nature, Neal was the epitome of motherly love and exhibited her skill on the boys’ friends who came around the house (and many did) and anyone else who needed a little tenderness and advice from time to time. This is how Neal will be remembered, treasured and loved forever.

A celebration of Neal’s life will occur at 11 am on Saturday, August 28, 2021, at the Rifle United Methodist Presbyterian Church.

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