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
Loving, affectionate, devoted, and optimistic, George F. Sheets, 82 of Nappanee, was a man of enormous enthusiasm for life and infinite faith in the people he loved. A devoted family man, George loved nothing more than sharing time with his treasured family. Though the world is surely duller without George’s bright flame, the memories of his enthusiastic smiles, robust hugs, supportive cheers, and zest for life will forever touch, move and inspire all who were blessed to share Life’s journey with him.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1934 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. Flash Gordon made his debut while Fuji Photo Film was established. The Three Stooges took center stage in their first short while the nation first met Donald Duck. The year marked the turning point in the Great Depression as the rays of Hope peeked through the clouds of despair in America when unemployment decreased to 22%. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in Nappanee, Indiana as Charles L. and Eileen (Harman) Sheets welcomed their son George into their hearts and home on November 4th.
Growing up on a farm proved the perfect childhood for George. He relished in the freedoms of the outdoors while honing a deep work ethic and sense of confidence in the face of challenge that would serve him throughout his entire life. Like many in his generation family was the center of George’s world. He enjoyed growing up in the good company of his sisters Norma and Rosie and brother Wendell while also exploring his athletic skills both in and out of school. A true Hoosier George felt a passion for basketball that fueled his High School days at Nappanee High School. During his senior year, his team made it to the sectional finals. Surrounded by 8000 fans George and his teammates played their hearts out against their formidable foes the Elkhart Blue Blazers. Though the Blazers took the title, George and the rest of the Bulldogs held their heads high and kept their accomplishments as treasured memories often reminisced in later years.
After graduating from Nappanee High School in 1952, George married his sweetheart Patricia Richmond on December 28, 1952. The happy couple soon welcomed their four children, Tammy, Tim, Todd, and Trent, into their family. George welcomed fatherhood as his greatest life work and devoted himself to being a solid provider for and undauntable believer in his children. George supported his family as a farmer and working as a truck driver. When the children were young, the family attended First Brethren Church where George served as a greeter, Sunday School teacher, and youth leader.
As the man every child should have had as their father, George proved to be his children’s super fan. George rarely missed a game and proudly sourced a sense of confidence, faith, and pride regardless of personal performances or the scoreboards’ numbers. He never felt the need to criticize, only the privilege of getting to share in the journey. Traveling the country, George consistently found his seat well before game time, zeroed in on his favorite player, locked eyes, and enthusiastically gave his signature infectious smile and thumbs up, securing his place in all the players’ hearts. After each game, George continued his support by sticking around, offering optimistic words of wisdom and affirmation, and then taking his son, and often a teammate or two, out for supper.
Never more content that in the good company of his children, George never hesitated to offer his time and assistance. Even after being on the road for many days he’d eagerly join in the challenges of helping plant, harvest, and tend to the labors at hand. With a with a wink and a smile, George could solve a conundrum that puzzled others for hours. His heart genuinely filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be of service and a sincere, “this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time” George deflated even the worst stress without ever demeaning a single soul.
Without a doubt, George’s reverence for his family and friends was palpable. Never one to hide his affections for those he loved, George’s greetings were not for the faint of heart. He always invaded your space, gave you a robust hug, looked you in the eye, and earnestly told you he loved you. If George loved you, you knew it for he never hesitated to make sure he told you, “I love you and I am so proud of you. George fully understood the gift in every day especially the gift of sharing time with others. Whether snowmobiling and golfing with his family, or talking and drinking coffee at the local establishments, including Ozzies and Wayside, George embraced each day with a full and grateful heart. Though his demonstrative ways were an acquired taste, over time, like a morning cup of coffee, you couldn’t imagine life without them.
George lived a oneness with Nature always taking the time to observe and articulate his sense of wonder. With a deep appreciation for the weather, George was found on many muggy summer evenings pacing through the house zealously looking out each window tracking an approaching thunderstorm. Never one to watch silently George was the biggest cheerleader a thunderstorm ever had. With a farmer’s appreciation of the necessity of a good storm, at every lightning flash and thunder clap he would loudly cheer, “let ‘r rip” or “bring on a souser!” George’s sense of wonder was thoroughly fueled by his travels. Breckenridge, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone moved him to awe, while a trip to Germany to visit his daughter Tammy and her husband rated as an all time favorite.Through his living example, George taught his family members to appreciate God’s great creations. He looked for the big beauty in everything from the gift of a lovely day, watching NorthWood Sports, and working in his garden, to big skies, serene sunsets, and majestic mountains.
The roles of father, father in law, and grandfather were George's great honor; he unfailingly supported each of his loved ones in every possible way. Whether cheering on a loved one from the stands, laying in the mud under a broken down tractor, welcoming Spring’s raucous rain, witnessing Nature’s majesty, or sharing a good meal, George’s loved ones will be living his legacy while fondly remembering and trying to embody his infectious smile, unconditional love, perpetual positivity.
George F. Sheets, age 82, of Nappanee, died at 3:40 a.m., Sunday, February 19, 2017, at Good Shepherd Hospice, Sebring, FL, after an illness of 3 weeks. Preceded in death in 2001 by his wife, Patricia Richmond,
George is survived by a daughter, Tammy (Tom) Speicher, Milford; sons, Tim (Beth) Sheets, Flora, IN, Todd (Sharon) Sheets, Carmel, IN, Trent (Lynn) Sheets, Nappanee; grandchildren, Trischa (Charlie) Zercher, Traci (Brett) Hummer, Travis Speicher, Jennifer (Taylor) Fife, Michael (Valerie) Sheets, Sylvia (Andrew) White, Katie (Erin) Latta, Courtney (Nate) Davidhizar, Kelsey Sheets; 16 great-grandchildren; sisters, Norma (John) Personett, Nappanee, Rosie (Jerry) Davenport, Colorado Springs, CO; and brother, Wendell (Anita) Sheets, Bourbon, and Bonnie Craig, a loving companion for 16 years.
Upon George's request, he has been cremated and Internment will be at South Union Cemetery. A gathering for family and friends will be held, Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 2-6 p.m. at Thompson-Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home, Nappanee.
Memorial contributions may be given to Ronald McDonald House, South Bend or Center for Hospice Care.