George Wedel, CEO of Wedel’s Nursery, Florist and Garden Center, Dies
George Eugene Wedel, CEO of Wedel’s Nursery, Florist and Garden Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away Sunday, June 21, just a few days past his 81st birthday, as announced in their enewsletter and Facebook page. He was loved by so many in his community, business, church and family. George was born June 16, 1939, and grew up in Kalamazoo with his three brothers, Harley (deceased), Richard (deceased) and Roger.
He met his high school sweetheart, Joyce Christensen, at Kalamazoo Central and they were married January 31, 1959. They had an exemplary marriage, loved each other unconditionally and showed all those who were around them what a Godly marriage looks like.
George & Joyce had three children, Terrie (Dana) Schwartz, Andrew (Danielle) Wedel, and Bonnie (Richard) Russell. Their grandchildren are Nathan (Lindsey) Schwartz, Andrea (Gary) Truax, Nicholas Schwartz, Zachariah Wedel, Caleb Wedel, and Eli Wedel and great grandchildren, Dylan, Jackson, Alaina & Callen Truax and Stella Schwartz.
Anyone that knew George knew that he loved the Lord. God gifted him with great Biblical insight, an amazingly positive disposition and leadership skills. He knew it was best to show people how to live rather than just telling them. In 1986, he and Joyce were some of the founding members of Country Christian Evangelical Free Church in Scotts. He taught Sunday School, led the youth group, and was an elder for many years. He was active in the Forgotten Man Jail Ministry for many years and also served with the Gideons.
George’s parents, Harley & Isabelle Wedel, instilled an exceptionally strong work ethic in him. His father, Harley, started Wedel’s Nursery, Florist & Garden Center in 1946 at the foot of Westnedge Hill in Kalamazoo. He quickly got his sons to pitch in and help sell vegetables and later evergreens, which led to an assortment of other garden plants & products. In 1969, the business needed more space, so it was moved to the corner of Milham and Westnedge, which was ultimately outgrown again. George led the way to building and expanding to the current location at 5020 Texas Drive. Joyce, Terrie, Andrew, Bonnie, and now 4th generation Wedels Andrea, Zachariah, and Caleb have all caught his enthusiastic love for gardening and have worked and continue to work at Wedel’s Garden Center. George told his family regularly how much he appreciated working with them.
The love George had for plants was contagious. He truly enjoyed his plants, flowers, lawn & trees. On his property in Scotts, he lovingly planted his own arboretum. Every time the garden center got a new tree variety in, he made sure to purchase one and add it to the collection.
George was a businessman, but he knew business wasn’t just about selling, it was about relationships. He made friends with everyone he met and was continuously finding ways to help others out. Generosity was part of his every-day life. Everyone enjoyed George – you would be hard pressed to find someone that he did not get along with!
George was the most giving father and husband and loved most to be with his family. There were many fishing trips taken and he especially loved the trips to Drummond Island and Lake Erie that he and his son-in-law, Dana, planned. If he had it his way, his whole extended family would be invited over every Sunday. Sometimes to play volleyball, sometimes to enjoy a pot roast, always to talk and enjoy each other.