It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to George R. Kleinschmit, age 70, who passed away on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh. He was born on October 8, 1951, in Oshkosh to the late Norman and Jane (Gibson) Kleinschmit. George was united in marriage to Claire Mueller on February 15, 1980, at Christ Lutheran Church in Oshkosh. He was the proud father of his daughter, Autumn.
George grew up on the family farm and as a young guy, worked on his uncle’s farm. He became very close to his cousin Debbie Wegner who was like a sister to him. He learned a strong worth ethic that served him well in his adult life. He went into the auto repair business working at Copps Auto Center, and when it closed, he opened West Side Tire and Auto with his partners. He loved taking care of his customers as well as his employees. The shop was his labor of love for 35 years until his retirement at the end of 2019. His coworkers were like a second family to him.
George was an avid hunter and fisherman. He had many great hunting trips out west along with the regular season here in Wisconsin. He also enjoyed the annual local fishing tournaments. But the highlight of the year was his annual trek to Lake Erie fishing with his buddies. He loved those guys and had so much fun fishing and playing cards. He was a former president of Whitetails Unlimited. In his younger days, he played softball for Andy’s Beachcomber. George was also very proud of being team captain in the construction of “Little Oshkosh” in Menominee Park. In addition, he helped set up the Christmas lights in the park. He loved to point out the tall tree at the entrance that he and his crew were responsible for. In his retirement he enjoyed weekly visits to Gord’s Pub in Neenah to play cards with the guys.
George and Claire met when they both were taking accounting at the technical college. The first day, George forgot to bring the book and the instructor asked if anyone would share their book. He loved to tell everyone that Claire leapt over the desks and pushed people aside just to sit with him. George, Claire, and Autumn took many wonderful vacations to Jamaica, Florida, Arizona, Washington, and a road trip to South Dakota. In 2017, George and Claire made a three-week trek to California for a family reunion. They visited numerous National Parks along the way before arriving in LA. They made a stop in Las Vegas and took in some fabulous shows and truly had the best time ever. When they went to see the Saturday Night Fever show, Claire said she heard George sing for the first time in their 42 years marriage. Such a wonderful memory.
He had his health struggles but did not complain. He just did his best to make sure no one knew he was in pain and always focused on others. He was everyone’s rock and “go to” guy for everything. It will be hard for us all losing a man who was so generous with his time and talent. As his health issues increased over the past year, he valiantly fought every set back. No one should ever have to go through what he did, yet he was the very model of courage and bravery for us all.
Before he was taken into the loving arms of our Lord, George was blessed to be able to say goodbye to so many friends and family including his two closest friends Duane Radloff and Karen Fredrick. True to his nature, George was amusing us until the end. He told his cousin Debbie that he wanted a piece of cherry torte. She ran home and made it and brought it back and having that piece of cherry torte was the last thing he did. It was charming and funny and sweet all at the same time.
George is survived by his wife, Claire Kleinschmit; daughter, Autumn Starfall; sisters: Kathleen (Kirk Digger Versteegh) Sina and Roxane (Donald) Schmidt; brothers-in-law: Thomas (Lien) Mueller, Steven Mueller, Mark (Barb) Mueller, James (Julie) Mueller; sisters-in-law: Ann Mueller, Mary (Joe) McCarthy, Ellen (Scott) Lewis; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was further preceded in death by his brothers: Russell, John, and Robert Kleinschmit; sisters: Norma Durkee, Rosemary Ramminger, Julia Kienast-Stapelton; brother-in-law: Richard Mueller; sisters-in-law: Sue Mueller and Judene Bartley.
The family would like to thank all the health care workers from Aurora Health Care that took such good care of him. Special thanks to Dr. Zernzach, Dr. Alzoubi and his nurses, Dr. Bhadriraju and the entire ICU staff, especially Jessie Van Ornum. She provided physical and spiritual comfort to George in his last hours.
***Service date and time has been change***
A graveside service for George will be held at 11:30 am on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Lake View Memorial Park. A celebration of life and a sharing of stories will be planned for a later date.