George Harrison Fick passed from this life on April 6, 2015, under hospice’s care at Home With Friends in Plover, WI.
George was born on March 19, 1956 to Eugene S. and Mary Noble Fick, in Stevens Point, WI. Soon after birth, George was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. His birth mobilized his parents to attain the best in-community resources for George. This ultimately enhanced the educational, recreational, independent living and employment opportunities for all persons with developmental disabilities within Portage County.
Mary, George’s mother, learned to paint watercolors in order to stay awake late into the night, since George had cardio-respiratory problems from birth. George’s parents would not allow him to be sent away to an institution or school, a common practice in that time. Mary returned to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to obtain a degree in Speech Pathology, to help George to speak more clearly. Gene and Mary sought the guidance of other programs to learn how best to educate George, since there was not space in a local classroom. At age 7, George entered the Stevens Point Area School District, continuing until age 21.
Upon leaving school, George went to work for his father at the Noble Hatchery, on the south side in Point. He helped to feed and water chickens, fold papers, sweep and other jobs. He was a companion and great help to his father. When Noble Hatchery closed, George and his father worked thinning trees on family-owned land. George helped to remove the brush created in logging, and drove tractor loads of logs out to the roadside. Of this he was very proud.
George grew up in a family including two sisters, Terrie and Mary J. The family frequently enjoyed time out in the country- fishing, planting trees, camping, bicycling, sledding and hunting. Soon the family began taking longer camping trips to the mountains out west. It was a new challenge for George, but he mastered the art of fly fishing, catching trout which his mother would fry for dinner on the campfire. They could also be found many weekends camping in Northern Wisconsin or Canada, where George and Gene loved to walleye fish, often with Terrie’s family.
It wasn’t long after his parents retired that George, along with his parents, became campground hosts in Medicine Bow National Forest, west of Centennial, WY. He spent his summers fly fishing with his father, sister- Mary J., and many other friends they made while camping over the years. He also enjoyed elk hunting in Wyoming every October.
George and his father were enthusiastic deer hunters, annually going to the Curry cabin in Warren, WI. He enjoyed the camaraderie of being with his father and friends. It was one of the first things he wrote on his calendar each new year.
During the winter months, George loved ice fishing with Terrie’s family. He was a doting uncle to his nephew, Steven, and his niece, Allison. He engaged in deer and turkey hunting with her family, too.
Traveling with his parents to Florida, to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters, he soon learned to play shuffleboard. He became a “line judge” for the Gull Aire Village Shuffleboard Club, mastering the technique of the game, equally able to challenge the best of players.
In addition to school, as a child George participated in the swimming and bowling programs begun by his and other caring parents, for children with developmental disabilities. He loved these and other activities, participating in the White Oak Day Activity program up until the end of his life.
George is survived by his sisters, Terrie N. (Randy) Groshek and Mary Fick Monteith, his nephew, Steven Groshek of Polonia, WI, niece, Allison (Ahren) Schaefer and great-nephew, Kaden Schaefer of Derwood, MD. He was preceded in death by both parents in 2014.
Cremation will take place, and condolences may be sent to: Terrie Groshek 7617 Co. Hwy. Z, Custer, WI 54423, or to: Mary Fick Monteith 2252 Monroe St., Laramie, WY 82070. Memorial contributions may be made to: Hunter Safety.
A Celebration of Life will be held on a date yet to be determined.