Loveland, CO — George Fender was born on August 20, 1923 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He journeyed onward September 8, 2019.
George and his sister Geraldine Debrowski Fender were raised by their aunt and uncle in Greentree, Pennsylvania. He remained in the Pittsburg area attending Waynesburg College on his path to become a dentist until he joined the Air Force in early 1942. The Air Force sent him to Florida for basic training and then onward to Colorado to study engineering at Colorado State University. There he met Dorothy Emma Koenig at the Field House where she served food in the cafeteria. George was 19 and Dorothy was 17. George immediately fell in love with her; they spent their first date riding the “galloping goose” all over town. George kissed her once before being deployed and told her he would return to marry her. Dorothy promised to wait and write George while he was serving his country.
George served flying on B-17s across the U.S. and England until being transferred in 1943 to Guada Canal followed by Tarawa, South Pacific and Biak, New Guinea. Despite being on a fighter plane crew, George spent a lot of time fighting on land after the Japanese shot down his B-24 over Morotai. All his life George enjoyed sharing his military service stories with friends, family and children. He offered much more than doom, gloom and the terror of war. His crew was known as the Long Rangers; they maintained their sanity by adopting a pet monkey who would climb trees to detach and drop coconuts. Their unusual companion also performed the duty of night watchman.
After spending seven months on Morotai flying 49 reconnaissance missions the flight surgeon ordered George to head “home”. George returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for one day. During this single day he saw his mother, sister and brother-in-law, and Uncle Samuel. Then he “hooked” rides on Navy planes to Colorado. George received a Purple Heart for head injuries sustained during a bombing of oil installations in Barneo.
George graduated from CSU in August 1949 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree. Following the birth of daughter Landa Fender in July 1949 the family moved to Cortez, Colorado. George took a job in the Montezuma school district as Assistant Principal and Head Coach of the football team. He then used his mathematics and mechanical drawing skills at Conoco Oil Company until his position was relocated to Canada. He quickly adapted and worked for radio KVFC in Cortez, Colorado as Commercial Manager. Finally the time came to move closer to his wife’s mountain home so he moved the family, with the addition of son John Fender in July 1956, to Fort Collins where he began a long career in real estate ultimately owning his own agency for more than two decades - Fender Realty.
George loved dogs his entire life. His companions would love and protect him at all times. George also loved to watch dogs race at Cloverleaf Dog Track. It was a passion of his along with watching sports of any kind.
George is survived by his daughter, Landa Lee, and son, John Fender. He is also survived by daughter-in-law, Diane Fender, and three grandchildren: David Koenig, Caleb Fender, and Seth Fender. His grandson Johnny Johnson passed away in January of this year. George is also survived by two great grandchildren, Jude Fawley and Reanna Johnson, and one great-great grandchild, Coraline Fawley.
A Life Celebration is being planned.