George F. Herrity of Portage, MI., age 77, passed away peacefully on January 4, 2024, at North Woods Village in Kalamazoo, surrounded by his loving family. George was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, on September 17, 1946, the eldest and only son of George and Joann (Lovdahl) Herrity. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan, graduated in 1971, and became a registered architect in 1976.
In January of 1975, George met the love of his life, Mary Karns, on an afternoon cross-country skiing date. They discovered a common interest in adventure and a shared love for the outdoors, where they enjoyed many hikes and bike rides together throughout the years. He was proficient with all things mechanical, including plumbing, electrical work, and automotive repair. George also loved the arts, with a talent for photography and ceramics. He designed and hand-crafted Mary's wedding ring.
In 1978, George started his own design/build business in Traverse City, where their two sons, Jon and Kyle, were born in 1980 and 1982, respectively. He designed and built two homes for his parents; their residence in Grand Rapids and a vacation home on Crystal Lake in Frankfort, MI and a home for his own family in Austin, Texas, where their daughter, Kelsey, was born in 1984.
George worked for the Kalamazoo Public Schools from 1991 to 2003 as an architect in facilities management, then joined the Bureau of Construction Codes in Lansing as assistant chief plan reviewer until his retirement in 2013. He enjoyed his work, but family was the center of George's life. He was a proud provider and loved sharing his appreciation of nature, music, camping, fishing, tennis, kayaking, skiing, and canoeing with his family. He was a deeply committed and faithfully devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
His energy was boundless. He exercised daily at the YMCA, biked, hiked, and kept an impeccable yard. George especially loved spending time up north where he and Mary often climbed the dunes at Sleeping Bear, camped on North Manitou Island, and walked the shores of Lake Michigan. He and his family spent many happy summers in Frankfort, MI. George was a man of few words with a great sense of humor, fastidious and hardworking, trusting and honorable. He will be deeply missed.
George was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Catherine (David Paterson) Herrity of Woods Hole, MA. He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Mary Karns Herrity; his children, Jon (Kazuko) Herrity, Kyle (Jennifer) Herrity, and Kelsey Herrity; and his five grandchildren: Ayla, Lilia, and Julia Herrity, Emilia Herrity and Allison Darby. He is also survived by his sisters, Jean (Joe Mazziotti) Herrity and Margaret (Michael Congdon) Herrity and thirteen nieces and nephews.
A private celebration of George's life will be held in the near future for immediate family. Please make any charitable donations to the YMCA at ymca.org/donate or the charity of your choice in memory of George Herrity. Friends and family may share a condolence message online at www.joldersma-klein.com.