At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Life Story / Obituary
George La Plante was a loving husband, dedicated father, caring grandfather, and a wonderful friend to all who knew him. He had a sensitive side and held on to many special notes, cards, and letters over the years. He loved to connect with people and never forgot someone’s special birthdate or anniversary. His remarkable knack for numbers brought him many years of recognition for being able to add grocery bills including the tax within pennies or remember someone’s address or phone numbers from years gone past. George was an exceptional listener and would often offer his advice during times of need. He modeled a lifetime of showing compassion towards others and his wonderful collection of memories will remain dear to his special family and friends for years to come.
George’s story begins in the year of 1940. The effects of the Great Depression were finally beginning to ease, yet there was strife in Europe when Germany invaded France. The feel good feeling of leaving the depression led to the release of major motion pictures such as, "Gone With the Wind" and the "Great Dictator." Jazz music boomed with the likes of Benny Goodman and Count Basie. FDR was elected for a third term and most Americans were starting to believe they should help Britain in its fight for survival with Germany leading to the first peacetime draft. George Sr. and Iva (Snow) welcomed home their only son on May 16th in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His birth brought much happiness into their loving home.
George (known as Corky in his early years), lived a typical childhood of the times with his father working as a supervisor with Upjohn and his mother a homemaker and seamstress. He lived his early years playing cowboys and Indians, riding his bicycle, and raising rabbits. He also played the accordion in the school concert band, and was Duncan Yo-Yo winner in the 1952 Kalamazoo City Contest. His father taught him the ins and outs of hunting and car maintenance, taking credit for George’s love of cars at an early age. As a young teen, George was arrested for car racing and in order to teach his son a lesson, George Sr. did not bail him out of jail! From the time he could drive, George always held a job. He worked at a metal fabrication plant and when he had the time, he treasured the time he spent with his uncle, Edward LaPlante who was recovering in the local VA hospital. He and George spent many hours playing cards and talking about the impact WWII had on Edward’s life. By this time, George had also grown fond of muscle cars and motorcycles, yet still looked forward to family vacations to Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula! The family enjoyed countless trips north even before the Mackinac Bridge was completed often taking the car ferry across and spending time with family in nearby Wisconsin. Graduating with the Class of 1958 from Kalamazoo Central High School he went on to pursue a business degree from Western Michigan University. The following year, he graduated from Thunderbird Institute with a Bachelors in International Trade and Finance. Later, he obtained a third Bachelors in banking from the University of Wisconsin.
Not to be forgotten, however was the meeting of his first wife, Mary Jo Shiller. They met through a roommate of his in college and were married on April 16, 1969. Together they raised two wonderful children; David and Steven. George was a great dad. He enjoyed many years of riding dirt bikes with the boys as well as cross-country skiing, distance running, road cycling, and weightlifting. He cherished many years of spending time with them up at their family cottage in Irons, Michigan. Always a good provider, he worked briefly for the Chicago Board of Trade and then became as an international finance administrator for Ford Motor Company. He then went to work 16 years with First of America, and later another 20 years with R.W. Baird as a financial advisor. By 1989, his marriage to Mary Jo had ended.
George was never one to remain idle. He loved all types of music and especially loved to crank up the music of ABBA! An avid reader, he was known to juggle a book or two during the course of a week. Often times he reached for anything based on military, crime, government espionage, or anything by his favorite author, Tom Clancy. A generous man, he became greatly involved with many area charities including the March of Dimes, the Lake Haven Animal Rescue, and the Ottawa County Parks. Then in 2001, he met Bobbie Jones. She was working at the Van Andel Institute at the time and they began dating. A wonderful friendship turned into romantic bliss and the two of them have remained together for more than fifteen years! Over the years, they have had many fun-filled vacations including the Caribbean, Iceland, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. He absolutely loved chili, Cherry pie, a good steak from Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and a good Scotch. He had perfected his perfect Manhattan over the years and loved to cook up a batch of rice and beans, homemade stew, or a delicious breakfast. Whenever he had someone to share in conversation, his heart was delighted. George cherished the time he spent with Bobbie, his sons and daughter-in-law Heidi, along with his wonderful grandkids, Emma, Mallory, Chloe, Brynne, and Dawson, , He also had a great affection for his pets over the years. A dog lover most of his life, a stray cat won him over and since then George had grown very fond of his two special cats, Smokey and Rocky. Described as fair, level headed, lenient, and kind, he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
George G. LaPlante, aged 76 of Allendale, MI, passed away at Trillium Woods Hospice early Sunday morning, May 14, 2017 surrounded by his loving family following a long struggle with cancer. George is now cruising the endless highways in his cherished 1965 Blue Pontiac GTO. He is survived by his children, David (Heidi) LaPlante, Steven LaPlante; five grandchildren, Emma, Mallory, Chloe, Brynne, and Dawson; his love of 15 years, Bobbie Jones as well as many other relatives and friends. A service to celebrate George’s life will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home at 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Saturday from 2:00 – 6:00 pm with the service beginning at 4:30 pm. Contributions in his memory may be made to Lake Haven Rescue or Ottawa County Parks. To leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com