This January my second cousin died. He was a historian by profession (one of many) and the keeper of so much about the Tyrrells. In December I went to visit him and we had our last conversation about genealogy and family. We talked about his funeral and what we thought heaven would be like. He believed that he would be able to see family and ask them the questions he always wanted the answers to, and be with his dogs. I never did ask him what the questions were. I wish I had.
I have always wondered how a preacher could say “a person was ready to die”. It is my decision when I am at that place and it will happen. George Verne Tyrrell Jr. made his decision on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 4:20 am in Truman, Minnesota at Heartland Senior Living Center with his family.
George was born to Mildred (Gilbert) and George LaVerne Tyrrell Sr. on February 23, 1936 in Brainerd MN. They lived the up north life moving to various cities, Riverton, Aitken, Minneapolis and finally New Ulm, Minnesota. In New Ulm he participated in the Turner Hall, Boy Scouts, basketball and helped out at his parents shop The New Ulm Hobby and Gift Shop. He graduated from New Ulm High School in 1954. He went on to gain his BS Degree in Education at Mankato State University with a History Major and a Geography Minor. During college he worked as a surveyor, loved bartender at the Kaiserhoff and softball coach. He was united in marriage to one of his softball students, [redacted] in Truman MN on June 16, 1962. From 1962-1964 he taught Jr. High Social Studies and Science in Browns Valley MN. He also taught Jr. High Social Studies in Red Wing MN for 1 year in 1964. In 1967 he completed a Masters of Arts Degree in Museum Studies through Oneonta State University in Cooperstown, New York. He authored the book “Potters and Pottery of New Ulm, Minnesota” using his college thesis in 1978. George accepted a position with the Northern Indiana Historical Society in South Bend, Indiana as the Director. He was there until 1969 when he returned to his MN roots by becoming the director of the Olmsted County Historical Society Center/Museum, Mayowood and The Stoppel Farms in Rochester, Minnesota. During his time in Rochester from 1969-1985 he collaborated to design and move the OCHS to its current location southwest of downtown Rochester and started the Annual Threshing Bee on the site grounds. In 1986 he became the site manager for the Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center in Waseca, Minnesota. In his tenure with Museum work he was the traveling museum and program consultant for the AASLH in Nashville, Tennessee, an Independent consultant to various historical societies throughout Minnesota, a board member of the Minnesota Historical Societies Folk Life Center, a member of the Minnesota State Arts Council on Folk artist selection and a board member, legislative liaison and lobbyist for the 1st District Historical Assembly of Minnesota. He was also a founding member of the Rochester Rotary Club. George always wanted to run his own bar and that dream became a reality when he opened John Hardy’s BBQ in Mankato MN in 1985. He had a place where storytelling was welcome and he could serve people his favorite food, from one of his favorite people during his days in Rochester, Minnesota; John Hardy.
He moved back to “The Ranch” in Truman, Minnesota in 1992 and was a self- employed historian and restoration consultant along with farming his own garden and helping with the farmland where Janet and George lived. He retired in 1996 from all work except family historian and storyteller. Genealogy was a passion of his and he loved collecting pictures and information on his ancestors.
He loved nothing more than telling a good joke, a funny riddle, song or story to all who would listen. He was a “world” class fisherman on Farm Island Lake where his beloved red cabin stood and Mille Lacs Lakes. He hunted his fair share of pheasant, duck and grouse while teaching his nephews, nieces, daughters and grandchildren a thing or two about guns and their history. He was a bird lover who knew just the right feeders and feed to attract birds from all around including a few squirrels. He was a farmer at heart and had his feet and hands in the earth in every place he lived. He enjoyed nothing more in February then planning his garden full of beautiful bounty.
He remains in the hearts of those who knew him [information about living family redacted]
Meeting him in heaven are his parents Verne and Millie Tyrrell; sister and brother-in-law, Ginger and Robert Hammel ;parents in-law, Henry and Lenora Schultz; brother-in-law , Casper Rullman; nephew, Darren Golnitz and many cherished relatives and friends he has yearned to see again. There are also a few dogs ready to run with him, Zan, Ginger, Zan the 2nd, Snipper, Poika, Sur and Dahlia.
Our family thanks you for all your support and love to our George the last 22 years since his life took a path he wasn’t expecting. Hug each other and spread love. In words George requested, “Now fish, pheasants and ducks can rest more peacefully.”
Memorial donations to a historical society in your area to further promote his legacy or the Truman Public Library.