George F. Kays, WA8MFG SK September 24, 2019 Age 104

Discussion in 'Silent Keys / Friends Remembered' started by K2HAT, Oct 2, 2019.

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  1. K2HAT

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    George F. Kays, WA8MFG SK


    George Frederick Kays 1915 - 2019

    Kays, George Frederick had 104 amazing years full of adventure and travel. Larger than life, it is difficult for all that loved him to imagine a world without him. Born on July 27, 1915 in Cambridge, Ohio on a farm. During the height of the great depression, he met the love of his life Martha McCourt at a barn dance. Fred and Martha were married in 1941, one month before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A gentle man, he paid his duty to his country, Fred was activated into the Army, promoted to first lieutenant and served in the European theater with the C Battery of the 243rd Field Artillery. As a reconnaissance officer for the battalion, his group landed at Utah Beach two months after D-Day and were instrumental in the capture of Saint-Malo, France. He was wounded and awarded the Purple heart during his campaign.

    After the war and with the help of the GI Bill, he graduated in 1949 with a civil engineering degree from Tri-State College. Living in Kalamazoo, he went to work for the Michigan State Highway Department as a project engineer until his retirement in 1980. He oversaw projects such as the initial build and rebuild of Interstate 94 and U.S. 131.
    Fred never like to sit still, he was an avid traveler and loved to take his wife Martha on adventures, thru 49 states and even a trip from Alaska to central America with their Airstream trailer.
    Kind souls both Fred and Martha volunteered their time, with Fred supervising the construction of shrimp farms in Belize and for FEMA, and helping conduct damage surveys after severe weather events. He and Martha were known to all, as people who provided a safe haven for those in need and cared greatly for their community, no matter where they were.
    "In the 1980s they had a saying that, 'It's 10 o'clock do you know where your kids are?' " Fred said laughing, "Our kids would call each another up and want to know where their parents were."
    In 2001, he and Martha settled in Downers Grove to be closer to his daughter Jolie and her husband Kenneth. Not letting age slow them down they only traveled to California, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Austria, France, Germany, Scotland, and Ireland during this time.
    Fred was fiercely independent and every challenge that life presented was taken as an opportunity to learn something new and have a different adventure.
    He was skilled and avid HAM Radio operator (WA8MFG) and an early adopter of technology of all kinds from computers to iPads. A talented photographer he took photos of his many trips instilling his infinite curiosity of the world to his entire family.
    When he could no longer drive a car, he was known for (stubbornly) driving a golf cart to the Wellness Center and VFW.
    He was often the life of the party at the local Wine Cellar on Friday nights in the summertime.
    His beloved wife and best friend, Martha passed in 2012 leaving a great sorrow that he would bear for his remaining years.

    He is survived by his four loving children, David, Vern, Jolie and Randy; ten grandchildren, Jennifer, Roland, Forrest, Halena, Carrie, Noah, Michelle, Justin, Amy and Amelia; and ten great-grandchildren, Sunti, Eli, Robbie, Zac, Sasha, Fletcher, Luca, Sophie, Harley, Ripley and Roxie.
    In lieu of flowers, please make donations to

    A Private Family Interment will be held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery on Friday, November 1st, with a Memorial gathering on Saturday, November 2nd, at 2:00pm at the Downers Grove VFW, 5101 Belmont Rd., Downers Grove.
    Arrangements by Adams-Winterfield & Sullivan Funeral Home, Downers Grove. 630/968-1000 or www.
    Published in Kalamazoo Gazette on Oct. 6, 2019

    George F. Kays
    July 27, 1915 - September 24, 2019
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