WALTHILL, Neb. | George Emerson "G.E." Sappingfield Jr., 61, of Norco, Calif., formerly of Walthill, passed away Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at his residence from cancer.

The life celebration of George Emerson "G.E." Sappingfield Jr. will be 3 p.m. Saturday at Grace Fellowship Church, 652 Sixth Street, in Norco, under Officiant the Rev. Vernie Fletcher. A reception will be held locally after the memorial.

He was born on June 5, 1951, in Sioux City, to his beloved mother, Mary (Deed) Sappingfield and father, George Emerson Sappingfield Sr. of Walthill. He grew up and attended school in Walthill, where his parents owned the local grocery store and several other businesses. "G.E." (as he was known) was an accomplished athlete and the best darned watermelon and Christmas tree salesman in town. He was an all-conference football player, district champion basketball player, state-qualifying sprinter, and is still the record holder for the 100-yard dash.

He then attended the University of South Dakota on scholarship for football and track. There he joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, where he held different offices, built lifelong friendships, and graduated with a degree in sociology after four years. After graduation, he went on to work for the State of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he even worked for a gubernatorial candidate.

After the election, he moved to Las Vegas to work with his uncle building houses. They eventually moved to Southern California, where he continued this trade and built many of the houses that began expansion into what is now known as the Inland Empire. His love for people eventually led him into sales to which he was a gifted, natural fit. At the time of his passing, he was working as a government account executive with Sprint, where he earned awards like Top Individual Performance of the Month, Quarter, President’s Circle and Council and the Pinnacle Award.

Before that, and as George would tell you, "most importantly," while working as the sales manager for Copy Line in Orange County, he met, hired, and eventually married Gayla Blancher and took on her son, Andre as his own. George and Gayla went on to have two more children, Dillon and Nicole.

George’s passion was his wife and children, wanting nothing more than their best and for them to just be a good person. George’s love for his friends and family was abundant as he loved to welcome the many visitors often coming through his house. This was especially true for the friends of his children, where he would talk to them to about being their best and living with integrity.

George will always be remembered for his loving nature, integrity, compassion and loyalty to his friends, family, and animals. He will also be remembered for his quirky sense of humor, and a loving smile that could warm the countryside.

George is survived by his spouse Gayla; children, Andre, Dillon, and Nicole; sisters, Jane Sailors and Penny Storm; their family members; many beloved nieces and nephews; and close friends.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Mary (Deed) Sappingfield; father, George Emerson Sappingfield Sr.; and sister, Sheila.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make a donation to the American Cancer Society.