IRON RIVER - George Steve Polich, 96, passed away Sunday, July 7, 2013, at Northstar Health System in Iron River.
He was born April 12, 1917, in Caspian, the youngest of five children of John and Josephine, Croatian immigrants who settled in Caspian in 1906. He attended grade school in Caspian and graduated from Stambaugh High School.
George spent two years at Iowa State and then transferred to Michigan State where he joined the Army Artillery ROTC and received his bachelor's degree. Upon entering the U.S. Army, he was assigned to test winter warfare equipment and teach skiing.
George married Jean Munsell on Dec. 27, 1941, just days before he was sent to Iceland. After a year in Iceland, he was assigned to the Red Diamond Artillery Division.
Of his three years overseas, one was spent in World War II combat on the front lines in France, Luxemburg, Belgium and Germany. For his service, he was awarded the U.S. Silver Star, the Bronze Star, Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star for Gallantry and the British Military Cross presented by Field Marshal Montgomery.
George returned to Iron County in 1945. He opened a night club and tourist resort on Chicaugon Lake where he and Jean established their home of 68 years. George worked as an economic developer and was a self-employed salesman of gifts and jewelry. He owned and operated several retail stores in the northern Midwest. He was also the construction manager and first operational manager of Brule Mountain in 1957 and 1958.
George invested substantial time in local organizations including Wildlife Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Adopt-a-River, 424 Association, Iron County Ski Club, Iron County Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis. He was a lifetime member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Caspian.
Hunting and fishing were his passions; George harvested a buck, a wild turkey, many grouse and countless fish during his 95th year. When asked about accomplishments, he always mentioned family and friends as most important and added "I never missed a hunting season since World War II."
This short summary of his life could never truly capture the magnitude of George's impact. However, he often asked to be remembered as someone who "put back more than he took." Friends and family who were blessed to have him in their lives know well the effort he always made to help his community and the people in it grow and succeed.
George is survived by his five children, Georjean (Jim) Polich-VanDoren, Steve (Jessica) Polich, Glen (Lisa) Polich, Roy (Lori) Polich and Angie (Jeff) Dohl; 13 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; three great-great grandchildren; and many friends who knew him fondly as "Grandpa George."
Visitation will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Caspian. The memorial Mass will be celebrated Saturday at 11 a.m. at the church. Rev. Fr. Gregory Veneklase will officiate.
A memorial will be established in George's memory to the Iron County Museum.
You may light a candle in remembrance of George or leave a condolence to his family online at JacobsFuneralHomes.com.
The family has chosen the Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home Crystal Falls to honor George's legacy of life.