SESSER — George O. Slankard died peacefully at his home in Sesser. He was 95 years old.
George was born Dec. 15, 1924, in Sesser, to George T. and Helen (O'Neil) Slankard.
He graduated from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University and became a teacher in the Sesser Schools, where he met another teacher, Mary Hartman, who would become his wife on Oct. 11, 1950.
After concluding that teaching was Mary's forte and not his, George decided to follow in his father's footsteps and work in the family owned business of Slankard Publishing. George's passion for printing grew beyond that of his family's and for the next 45 years he and Mary built the business and published three magazines; the first being the American Cooner, which was widely known and respected in the field of hunting, dog training and field trials. Cars & Parts was the next magazine to be published and was one of the first Automobile magazines that not only included interesting and informative articles but also included information on car auctions, swap meets as well as being a classified marketplace for cars, parts, accessories and services. Hunter's Horn was then published, which specialized in the sport and competition of Fox Hunting.
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After a very progressive and fruitful career in the publishing business, George retired and decided to devote his attention and energy to the field of horticulture. With Mary by his side, George became active in learning and growing many different species of plants. He was a member of the Azalea, Magnolia and Holly societies. His love for and beauty of plants was evident to all who visited their extensive gardens. George was a lifelong leaner and consummate reader of anything and everything that was of interest to him. His vast knowledge on a variety of subjects always amazed and delighted his family and friends, who were blessed to be able to sit down and speak with him. Those discussions will forever be in their hearts.
George is survived by his loving wife of nearly 70 years, Mary (Hartman) Slankard; numerous nieces and nephews; along with friends who always considered him part of their family, as well.
A celebration of life will be in the summer when the magnolias and gardens are in full bloom.
Memorial contributions, in memory of George, may be made to the Rend Lake College Foundation for the RLC Learning Resource Center Project. Gifts can be made online at www.rlc.edu/give-now as well as to the Sesser United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 428, Sesser, IL, 62884.
For more information, visit www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com.
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