George W. Phelps, 81, of Kingsley, passed away peacefully at his home Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, after a lengthy illness.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Johnson-Earnest Funeral Home in Kingsley. The Revs. Michael Stevens and Bob Blair will officiate. Burial will be in Kingsley Cemetery. Visitation with the family will begin at 3 p.m. today, with a prayer service at 7 p.m. conducted by the Revs. Michael Stevens and Ken Kraft, at the funeral home. Visitation will resume 9:30 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy may be shared through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.
George Wylie Phelps was born on April 25, 1938, in Kingsley, to Floyd and Helen (Wylie) Phelps. He was raised in Kingsley, where he graduated from high school in 1956. He earned all-state football honors and was a state champion in both low and high hurdles.
Following high school, George attended and graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He excelled at football, track and basketball. George was a national AP All-American fullback. His 99-yard touchdown from scrimmage is a record that still stands. Ultimately, George was a second-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in the 1960 pro football draft.
At the University of Iowa, he earned his master's degree in business administration. George worked at Continental Illinois National Bank in Chicago. In January 1964, George came back to Kingsley to help his brother, Bob, reorganize the private Oltmann and Phelps Bank into a state-chartered bank that later became Kingsley State Bank in 1965. George worked as a chief executive officer there until his retirement in October 2018.
George was active in his community and surrounding area. He served as a city councilman, a Jaycees officer, a Lions Club member and was on the Kingsley United Methodist Church administrative board. George also served on the Plymouth County Conservation Board, along with many other committees throughout the years. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for several years and carried a deep appreciation for those who had served and are currently serving our country.
On Sept. 12, 1981, George was united in marriage to Linda Katherine Carlson in Aledo, Ill. The couple lived in Kingsley, where they raised their son, David.
George enjoyed spending time with his family and interacting with his customers. He also enjoyed learning about history, but also closely followed current events. George followed local and college sports and would participate in almost any athletic activity; he especially enjoyed skiing. He loved rural living and would have been a rancher if he wasn't a banker.
George had a fondness for animals, especially cats and dogs. His Yorkshire terrier, Hamilton, and cat, Emma, adored him and would spend many evenings and weekends by his side.
Throughout his life, George had every reason to boast about his successes, but he never did. He was a truly humble, kind and gentle soul who helped people in countless ways, without ever asking for or expecting anything in return.
Grateful to have shared his life is his wife, Linda K. Phelps of Kingsley; a son, David W. Phelps of Sioux City; a sister, Sally Wells of Troy, Mich.; a brother, Robert B. Phelps and his wife, Carol of Kingsley; a brother-in-law, Bob Kratz of Eden Prairie, Minn.; nieces and nephews, Robert W. Phelps of Milwaukee, Wis., Alison (Phelps) and Donley Hoogeveen of Kingsley, Scott and Laura Phelps of Kingsley, Alex Wells of Park City, Utah, Jenny (Kratz) and Dave Autio of Minnetonka, Minn., Katy (Kratz) and John Zimmerman of Bloomington, Minn., and Greg Kratz of Portland, Ore.; and grandnieces and nephews, Colton Phelps of West Des Moines, Kiana Phelps and Nick Phelps of Kingsley, Joy and Rachel Autio of Minnetonka, and Jenna and Sarah Zimmerman of Bloomington.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Janet Kratz; a grandniece, Krista Phelps; a nephew, Campbell Wells; and a cousin, John Phelps.