Whitburn, George

Posted in Obituaries

George Whitburn, 92, of Morenci, Mich., died Feb. 22, 2008, at Lenawee Medical Care Facility in Adrian, Mich.

Mr. Whitburn’s story as an exemplar of the Manpower Training Act, titled “A Second Chance for George,” appeared in the June 1963 issue of Reader’s Digest.

The Manpower Training Act of 1962 sought to retrain workers who were unemployed and turn them into a national asset. After working under ground in three successive iron ore mines from 1941-1962 in Michigan and Wisconsin, the mines closed and left George unemployed. Supported by the Manpower Training program, he attended the Northern Michigan University Training Center in Marquette, Mich., to learn machine tool work.

After his training, he became a tool and cutter grinder at the Universal Machine Shop in Anvil, Mich.  He later became a teacher of machine shop at the school where he trained, the Northern Michigan University Training Center. He later served as a teacher of machine shop a Adrian High School and Lenawee Vocational Technical Center in Adrian, a position he held until his retirement. Mr. Whitburn was cited as an “outstanding” teacher, showing special abilities to  help students with problems in regular classes. 

Mr. Whitburn also excelled as a sportsman. He was an accomplished hunter and fisherman in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The first and third prizes his beagles won at a Northern Michigan Hare Association’s Upper Peninsula Championship Derby in Iron Mountain, Mich., helped the Gogebic Range Beagle Club win the top trophy. He thoroughly enjoyed golfing into his late 80s, recording a hole-in-one in 1993 at DeMor Hills Golf Course in Morenci.

Mr. Whitburn is survived by a son, Merrill (and Diane) of Ballston Lake, NY; a daughter, Marilyn (and Frank) Wiels of Milwaukee, Wis.; two step-daughters, Carol (and Arnold) Smith of Morenci and Connie Vinton of Adrian; three stepsons, Charles (and Grace) McCaskey of Morenci, George (and Pat) McCaskey of Morenci, and Roger (and Jeanne) McCaskey of Osseo, Mich.; four grandchildren; and other step-grand, great, and great-great-grand children, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Frederick and Mary Ann, first wife, Marie; second wife Betty; sister Della; and brothers, Cleo, Clyde, James, Walter, Wilbur and Thomas.

At George’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no public visitation or services. Arrangements are under the direction of the Anderson Funeral Home, Adrian.

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