George A. Rydberg, age 71, of Ashland, Wis., passed away Saturday, February 25, 2023, at his residence, ,with his loving family at his side. He was born February 7, 1952, in Baudette, Minn., the son of John C. and Helen R. (O’Dell) Rydberg.
George graduated from the Proctor, Minn., high school, in the class of 1970. Preston, Minn., will really always be home in George’s heart, having spent most of his youth there. On January 6, 1979, he was united in marriage to Carol J. Pospychalla at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Ashland. He sailed the Great Lakes as a cook for Interlake Steamship for over 38 years, retiring in 2010.
George was the very definition of a valued community member. He enjoyed helping others and devoted much of his free time to giving back. He was generous with praise and loathed to seek any attention for himself, preferring to stay in the background. Often he provided lunch for members of the Ashland Police and Fire Departments and staff at the Vaughn Library. Other favorite ways to give back included activities that helped young people grow and learn. He volunteered many hours helping children at the elementary school, until his disease no longer allowed him to. He was a member of the Friends of the Vaughn Public Library, and volunteer at the Book Nook. In 2020, George was recognized as The Ashland Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year.
George loved Christmas. He spent many hours ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and anointed his wife “Christmas Carol” for the Christmas season each year. He roped Carol into providing breaks during his marathon bell ringing sessions at WalMart. George was a pro at cooking for hungry crowds, lending his skills to pancake benefits and cooked many meals for anyone in need.
Survivors include his amazing, strong and dedicated wife of 44 years, Carol, of Ashland; children Janelle (Jermaine Hayes) Rydberg of Plymouth, Minn., and Brock of Minneapolis, Minn.; brothers Rick of San Diego, Calif., Ted (Mary) of Marana, Ariz., and Rob (Laura) of Centuria, Wis.; sisters Mary (Jim) Hoffman of Richmond, Tex., and Kristin Rydberg of Two Harbors, Minn.; brothers-in-law Jim Harbaugh of Bemidji, Minn., and Mark (Carol) Pospychalla of Ashland, who was a comfort to Carol and George in his final days. He is survived as well by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Videos featuring the “little greats,” Maggie and Cam Palacios, provided George with lots of smiles. Lastly, he is survived by caring neighbors and scores of friends, including special friend, regular Thursday night dinner guest and gab session aficionado, Anne Miller.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Carol Harbaugh and sister-in-law Nancy Woods.
A memorial service for George will be held at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at the Mountain Funeral Home in Ashland, with Reverend Pete Warren officiating. A gathering of family and friends will begin at 10:30 on Thursday at the funeral home in Ashland and continue until the hour of service.
In remembrance of George, his kids ask that you perform a small act of kindness today.
Interment will be private.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Mountain Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ashland and Mellen, Wis.
Online condolences for George’s family may be left at MountainFuneralHomes.com.
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