On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, George U. Watanabe passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 101. George was the beloved husband of Helga Watanabe, who passed away in October 2007. He is survived by his sons, Douglas and Michael, their families, and many nieces and nephews. George was born into a farming community in Washington State during the summer of 1919 to Japanese immigrants, Tameijiro and Taki Watanabe. George spent most of his adolescent and young adult life working various jobs in the fishing and railroad industries and always made sure to send money home to help support the family. The family was placed in Japanese Internment Camps during WW2. George was drafted into the US Army and was stationed in a war-torn Bremen, Germany. It was there that he met and fell in love with Helga and the culture. He endeared himself to her family and community by providing them with food and basic needs that he procured from various places, including the black market. George returned to America and began farming near longtime family friends, the Yamamotos. George worked and saved up enough to finally bring Helga home in the mid ‘50s. When Helga came to town, she sought out the other German immigrants and was an active member of The German Club. After that it was Oktoberfest every Friday night on the Watanabe farm! Through the immigration process Helga met her German-American soul sister, Hilde Ward. In the ‘60s a force of nature known as the Cleverdon Clan descended on the lives of the Watanabes. This was the catalyst for generations of friendship. George and Helga were hardworking dairy farmers until they retired in the late ‘80s. George loved his family, his friends, and a good western. Those who knew him remember him to be a man of few words (mostly cautionary), abundant generosity, and true grit.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to Luke and Elizabeth Ransom and Dr. Michael Dee for their care and support. Because of them, George was able to remain in his home until his passing.
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