George Gloege


George Gloege passed away, unexpectedly, in his home as the sun rose on Dec. 19, 2021. He leaves behind Lee, his wife of 58 years; daughter Kristen Gloege, her husband Mike Finch, and sons Soren, Anders, an d Leif; son Mark Gloege, his  wife Kari, and children Isak, Elias, and Kiah. He is also survived by brother Jim Gloege; sister Maureen Anderson and her husband David; sister-in-law Marcia Folland; brother-in-law Stuart Folland; nine nieces and nephews, and many friends, including lifelong friends George and Hazel Retzlaff.

George was born to Harvey and Loville Gloege. He spent his childhood in Glenwood, then attended Hamline where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He earned master’s degrees in political science and economic geography from Moorhead State University and went on to teach those subjects at North Dakota State School of Science. 

Realizing his dream of being close to nature and working outside, he and Lee purchased land along the Crow Wing River in 1970 and launched Gloege’s Canoe & Kayak Outfitting, which they operated together for more than five decades.

George was a remarkable person with a gentle soul. He lived his life fully engaged – as a teacher, folk artist, outfitter, naturalist, and history buff. We remember him for his diverse interests and talents, deep connection to nature, and quirky sense of humor. George took great personal satisfaction in engaging his family and friends in the activities he loved most - whether that was leading ski treks through the woods, dancing with Lee in the living room, bringing people to his log cabin art studio to unveil his newest painting, or delving into deep conversations about spirituality, history, democracy, and the arts. We also remember him for his dedication to feeding the birds and maintaining milkweed for the monarchs – pastimes he elevated to an art form.

George was an accomplished athlete and competitor and he excelled in ski jumping, golfing, cross country skiing, and long-distance running. He was a scratch golfer as a young man and remained a lifelong student of the game, chipping golf balls and studying ways to perfect his swing until the eve of his death. He built a short, Cayman-style golf course to play what he referred to as billy goat golf with friends. George was also a long-distance runner and logged many thousands of miles over his lifetime. He completed 25 marathons, the highlight of which was the Boston Marathon. George was also an avid cross-country skier and became a ski instructor to introduce others to the sport. He loved ski racing and competed and medaled in the Birkebeiner, Vasaloppet, Finlandia, and numerous shorter USSA races.

A celebration of George’s well-lived life will take place later in 2022.

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