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George Ernest Kallenbach


George Ernest Kallenbach, 91, of Erwinna, PA, in the presence of his family, passed away at his beloved home, Hidden Valley, on Thursday June 13, 2024.

Born on November 15, 1932 to the Reverend Ernest A. Kallenbach and Edna F. (Bender) Kallenbach in Tuxedo Park, NY, George spent his youth in multiple New York and Pennsylvania towns as his father was called to serve various parishes. With every transition, George created friendships, learned skills through odd jobs, and began the antics and life experiences which would become material for his many future stories. Ever friendly, inquisitive, and industrious, George was a perpetual learner and avid sharer of knowledge, whether his audience wanted to learn it or not …

George graduated from Berwick High School, and with one suitcase and $45 in tuition, headed off to The State Teachers College at Bloomsburg. Upon earning his degree in Elementary Education in 1954, George was drafted into the US Army. During his 2 years of service in Frankfurt and Berlin, George developed lifelong buddies with whom he shared grand escapades throughout Europe, including frequenting a pub or two and ascending the Alps to teach themselves to ski.

Upon returning to the US, George embarked on his lifelong career in education, starting as a 5th grade teacher at Shelmire Elementary in Centennial School District. During summer work at the Oceanic Hotel in Ocean City, NJ he developed a dislike of sand and a love of boats, which he owned in various types and seaworthiness for the remainder of his life. George’s placement at Shelmire was surely divinely planned, as it was here on the playground that he met fellow-teacher Connie, who was dazzled by his good looks, charm, and TR3. After a brief courtship they married on June 16, 1962, beginning their 62 years together. The following year, with a new baby and a desire to be closer to home, George moved to Linden Elementary in the Central Bucks School District. During this time he attended Lehigh University and earned a Master of Education degree and Principal’s Certification.

George’s first Principal position was at Buckingham Elementary School, under the guidance of Paul W. Kutz, a mentor who became a friend. He thrived in this role, building strong relationships with staff that endured into his final days. Believing that schools and parents should work together to create circumstances in which children could flourish, he developed a robust parents’ organization. George’s philosophy was to help children develop their individual strengths and to encourage them to explore the world and become perpetual learners. He believed that sometimes the most important lessons are learned from mistakes, and, though he cheered accomplishments, the process and the effort were what he most applauded. Creating an atmosphere for learning, where students and staff treated each other well, felt safe, seen, and heard, and also had fun, was his passion. Following 15 years at Buckingham and additional principal roles at Barclay and Gayman, George finished at Kutz Elementary when he celebrated his retirement in 1993.

George and Connie lived their entire married life at the most beautiful place in Bucks County, Hidden Valley, on the banks of Tinicum Creek. Here they raised four daughters, imparting values of hard work and self-sufficiency, as well as love for adventure and playfulness. While George was humble, he was his family’s Super Fan and was most proud when he was cheering on those he loved. Dinners out were rare, but there was always room at the table for the many who dropped in and joined the family for food and fellowship. Travel and adventure were resonating themes throughout George’s life, while the grounding of faith, family, living one’s values, and togetherness were essential foundations.

And toys. When boats and tractors and convertibles were not enough, George pursued a lifelong dream and began flying lessons at age 50, soon after acquiring his pilot’s license and a small plane. His final flight, with childlike glee, took place on June 7, 2024.

Known affectionately as ‘Uncle George’ to many nieces, nephews, and adoptive family members, George shared a commitment to hard work, strong values, and spirited adventures that shaped many lives. Whether it was putting up firewood, problem-solving a task or relationship, teaching skiing, water skiing or how to drive a stick shift, or planning flying or boating adventures, George inspired full participation in life, created bonds, and cemented values across generations.

With George leading the way, family adventures, often with others in tow, took them on ski trips to Vermont and excursions throughout the country and Europe. George and Connie’s dream of owning a house on Lake George became a reality in 1999, providing years of joy at Bufflehead Lodge for many. While the lifelong efforts of caring for two properties may have eventually slowed George down, most agree that he never got old.

George always expected one’s best, leading by example as he showed up with his own. Kind, but not always easy, a tough-love George moment has become the source of much laughter, as well as an oft-repeated phrase of encouragement – sometimes the best advice in persevering really is to just ‘Shut Up and Ski.’

An active community member, George participated in various service and leadership roles at Christ Lutheran Church, the Tinicum Civic Association, the Tinicum Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, and as an ambulance driver for the Erwinna Fire Department.

George was a proud and loving husband, brother, father, father-in-law, grandfather, and great-grandfather. In addition to his wife of nearly 62 years, Constance Edmonds Kallenbach, George, Dad, PopPop, Uncle George, GGG is survived by his children:

Adele (Dan) Kendra, Elizabeth Bell, Kirsten (Jim) O’Brien, Jeanette (Kyle) Filipowicz; grandchildren Jessica (CJ Castillo) and Daniel Kendra, Tyler, Derek and Avery Bell, Ivey and George O’Brien and great grandchildren Eleanor and Lorena Castillo, his sister Mary Fowler and brother Mark (Dottie) Kallenbach, and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, family members and friends.

A celebration of George’s life will be held on Friday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 353 E Dark Hollow Rd, Pipersville, PA 18947. Calling hour will begin at 9:30 a.m. Following the service, a reception will be held in the parish hall, where we’ll be playing George’s favorite Big Band music and providing plenty of desserts.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Doylestown Hospice or Tunnels to Towers.

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