George F. McCleary Jr.

George Franklin McCleary, 85, passed away Sunday, June 26, at Neuvant House in Lawrence.

George was born April 9, 1937, in Springfield, Ohio, the son of George and Timmer McCleary. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1955 and then attended Yale University on a Naval ROTC Scholarship. He graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in geography in the spring of 1959 and was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy. After leaving the Navy, he earned his master’s degree and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He taught at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., before becoming an associate professor at the University of Kansas, where he worked for more than 35 years. During his tenure at KU, he was also heavily involved with freshman advising and commencement ceremonies for several years.

He married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn Baldwin, in June 1959. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, Lawrence; his sister, Ann Shuttleworth, Springfield, Ohio; three sons, Joe, and his wife, Heather, Centennial, Colo., John, and his wife Zoe Ann, Woodbridge, Va., and Frank, Blue Springs, Mo.; one grandson, Eli, three granddaughters, Evan, Audrey and Sydney; and two nephews, Eric and Joel.

George was involved for several years with the Boy Scouts of America, including planning camping trips and organizing pine wood derbies. He traveled the world for work, visiting Antarctica while in the Navy, and presenting papers at international cartographic conferences. He also traveled for pleasure with his family. He was also a connoisseur of wine, frequently visiting wineries during his travels and bringing home a case or two of wine. That passion also led him to work with friends in Lawrence to produce their own wine.

He also was a fan of the fine arts and frequently attended concerts at the Lied Center at KU.

The family encourages donations to the Friends of the Lied to help support the performing arts.

Services will be announced at a later date. Online condolences may be left at www.rumsey-yost.com.

Messages & Condolences

From Peggy Clauss Norstog...

Hugs and God’s blessings to Marilyn, who was my SHS classmate with George, and to their family. I enjoyed seeing them at our class reunions and visiting with them there. I am sorry to learn of George’s death and send my sincere sympathy.

From Jenifer Janousek...

I’m sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

From Jim Mayo...

George was an honorable man who cared about what scouting could do for young people. He was generous with others

From Larry & Judy Hathaway...

Our condolences to the McCleary family. George was one of a kind and a good friend. We shared many good times over the years.

From Thomas Christie...

My deepest sympathies to the McCleary family. I always enjoyed visiting with George when I was over to their home working with Marilyn- one of my favorite people. May you find peace in all your many loving memories.

From Jane Miranda Messer...

My heart goes out to Marilyn and their family. We were high school friends and would often meet, again, at high school reunions. God bless you all.❤️

From Dave Linthicum...

Some of us called him “Coach”; lots of great memories via orienteering and scouts with him; 40 years later I remain very active in both. As an Eagle Scout and already an orienteer in 1978 arriving at KU, it was “Coach” with whom I bonded immediately. Can’t imagine possibly having a more dedicated cartography advisor and confidant, and one who was always understanding and forgiving…. for example, when he had to get a night’s worth of my pen-ink drafting in the lab tactfully re-done by someone else (too soon after a grad. student Happy Hour for me!)

From Gene Wee...

I don’t recall why I decided to take a cartography course with George but that led to a serious interest and life-time hobbies in mapmaking and orienteering. He was as active helping me promote the sport as any other Orienteer Kansas member. Over the years we crossed paths at Lied Center events and had brief discussions on the California wine industry. As a local Boy Scout leader he often leaned on the orienteerers to help. And through George I made friends with many in the geography department. Dee and I offer our condolences to Marilyn, Joe, John, and Frank.

From Karen Heeb...

Heartfelt condolences to Marilyn, Joe, John, and Frank. Neighbors for many years with lots of good times.
Thoughts and prayers, ❤️🙏🏼
Karen Heeb, Jay, Jon, and Joe

From Peggy Dickison...

George was my advisor at KU, but he also was the person who got me into orienteering. Before I ever tried the sport, he got me out to the woods to “fieldcheck” an orienteering map. I have spent my career as a cartographer, and he once called me one of his “success stories” because of that. We’d meet up at occasional cartographic or geographic conferences and catch up, which was always a treat. He had a huge impact on my life, and I will miss him.

From David Guinty...

He was my advisor at ku and I took one of his classes. My condolences to his family.

From Michael Eglinski...

My condolences to George’s family. I met George through orienteering. I remember talking with him a few years ago at the Geography Awareness Week orienteering on campus. We had a good chat about the sport and maps, followed by a dinner and more map-talk. He will be missed.

From Frederick S McMillan E-7 USN Ret...

Fair winds and following seas. One of my best professors and adviser. 1987-1990

From Phillip Wrigley...

My heartfelt condolences to all of George’s family. As an Eagle Scout who grew up in Lawrence, I am thankful for all he did to make our childhoods and community better.

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