Stendell, George Walter

January 5, 1943 - January 18, 2014

You probably didn’t know George Stendell, but you would have liked him. Those privileged enough to be close to him delighted in his big heart, fine intellect, clever wit, and gentle soul.

George was born on Jan. 5, 1943 in Oak Park, Ill., the much-loved son of George Rudolph and Hilda Groh Stendell and baby brother to Judith Stendell Wollenberg.

George grew up in Forest Park, Ill. and graduated from Proviso West HS in 1961. He headed to Oregon State University to explore his lifelong love of the outdoors by majoring in forestry but discovered that he and Smokey the Bear didn’t get along, as he always liked to say.

He then joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Munich. There he met the love of his life, Gerda Mader Stendell, a vivacious German who worked on the base. The two just clicked, Gerda’s bright passion a perfect complement to George’s sweet strength. Friends called them the Siamese Twins because they were always together, always holding hands. They married in 1967 and recently celebrated 46 years together, a lifetime of happiness yet still far too short. In later years he marveled over how they always got along so well. During his final illness, he proudly told his doctors that Gerda was an angel. Gerda said that George was her life.

George and Gerda returned to the U.S. in 1968. George graduated from UI-Chicago in 1970 with a degree in management and began working for the U.S. Govt. Accountability Office. He earned his MBA in 1973 from the University of Chicago and became a CPA. He joined the Dept. of Justice, eventually rising to Regional Inspector General in Dallas.

George’s greatest source of pride was his two children, Aaron and Leanne, who both became lawyers, which he liked to tell anyone who would listen – even though he had always enjoyed a good lawyer joke. George was never more joyful than while spending time with his son. He adored Aaron’s wife, Jamie Bult Stendell, and was a tender Pop-Pop to their three children, Ayla, George Russell, and Adelaide. He lived for their weekly sleepovers and rejoiced when baby Adelaide, who will be too young to remember him, giggled in glee when she saw him and napped with him for hours during one of his final days.

He and Gerda spent countless beautiful evenings at Leanne’s house, and Leanne and George shared a special bond. They could talk for hours, about all things big and little. He was always and forever Leanne’s fiercest supporter.

As Gerda evolved throughout the years from schoolteacher to founder and president of Access Language Center in Richardson, George savored her achievements – never more so than when the business’s success allowed him to retire early from the DOJ and join Access as its Vice President.

George and his family were avid travelers, and he and Gerda especially enjoyed enchanted years in their vacation home in New Orleans. He loved pets his entire life, and they loved him back; it was rare to see him sitting at home without one or another in his lap.

George died at home on Jan. 18, 2014 with his loving family at his side, after an all-too-brief but thankfully painless battle with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. He had just reached his 71st birthday. He would want us to tell you that if someone you love suffers from chronic acid reflux, they need to be regularly monitored by a doctor.

We will miss our darling George – his dear kind soul, his lifelong love of learning and amazing wealth of knowledge, his nimble but gentle sense of humor, his honesty and decency, and his outsized presence in our lives. We are richer for having known him.

George is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, friend and brother-in-law Kenneth Wollenberg, nephew Kevin Wollenberg, niece Lisa Wollenberg Sachdev and family, and other dear friends. He is predeceased by his parents and his sister.

George’s life will be celebrated on Feb. 1, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. at Aria Funeral Home, 19310 Preston Rd, Dallas 75252.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements are under the direction of

ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral 
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252

15 replies on “Stendell, George Walter”

Richard mcvay says:

Sorry to hear that George has passed away. I enjoyed working with him.

William Morring says:

I worked with George in the Inspector General’s office. He was a true professional and I had the greatest respect for him.

Mireille Jeannot Venezia says:

Sincere Condolences to the family .I met George in 1974 when I joined the GAO, George was one of my first supervisor and soon distinguish himself as he was in my book, the fairest and most down to earth supervisor I had. I later followed him to the department of Justice where he was not just my supervisor, but a trusted friend — I could go to him with any problem and he was there to help. George moved to Dallas as the Regional Manager, but he was never further than a phone call away. I owe George a debt of gratitude and will miss him a lot. George will stay in my heart and prayers. God Bless

Ferris Polk says:

George was both wicked smart and wicked funny, making him a great joy to work with. Those of us who soldier on at the Department of Justice missed him when he entered that well-deserved retirement, and we miss him more today. Farewell old friend.

Dominic Gagliardi says:

I worked with George at the IG’s office. He was a very intelligent, very likable person who provided leadership and much-needed humor. I learned from him, and I will miss him.

Dave Davis says:

Almost 50 years ago, I served with George in the U. S. Army, while stationed in Munich at Headquarters, U. S. Army Area Command.
His sense of humor made him a welcome person to live and work with, and I remember him as being very insightful, with a keen understanding of human nature. I offer my sincere sympathy to his wife Gerda, and to his children and grandchildren.

Carrie Fleming says:

I was very sorry to hear of George’s passing. I worked with George on a couple of projects and he was always professional, helpful, and funny.

Roxanne Powers says:

I will never forget that George and Gerda welcomed us into their home for get-away weekends when ours burned down. True, true friends.

One of the things I remember most is that George had a wicked laugh which was used at all the appropriate moments (with a twinkle). I’m sorry we all lost contact but this will not happen again with Gerda. Thinking about the years we missed laughing makes me very sad. We always think we’ll go on forever and have time to touch base. It’s not true and we should all realize it. He was one great, funny, caring person.

David N. Dill says:

For the two wonderful years I knew George while stationed in Munich, West Germany he and I were very close friends. George owned a small red Ford and 5 of us traveled to and visited 8 countries. The 5 of us were Frank Castner, Dave Davis, Juan Tovar and myself. We really were close friends and George was our leader. I could tell you stories for 3 hours straight. What a remarkable human being. I loved him dearly and may he forever rest in peace in the arm of our Father God in Heaven. Bless you my good friend. You are my hero.

Buddy and Angye Strittmatter says:

Dear Gerde, Fri 24 Jan 2014

We will invade heaven with prayers that the Good Lord with take George into His Holy Kingdom soon.

With deep sympathy

Buddy and Angye Strittmatter

Spencer Hendron says:

This is very sad news and I am so sorry to hear it. George was my supervisor at the Chicago Regional Audit Office and it was a pleasure indeed an honor to work for him. A brilliant, witty and all round decent guy who always made the days work enjoyable in some way. My condolences to the Stendell family and friends. George was a soldier…Ruhe in Frieden mein guter Kamerad.

Carol Pierce says:

Dear Gerda, I am so sorry to hear about George. I never had the pleasure to meet him but I have read about him and he must have been a wonderful husband, friend and family man. My heart goes out to you at this sad time. Hug.

Jorge Leyva says:

Mr. George was an honest decent man. I met him through Gerda at Access Language Center. When I needed help he was always there and I will always be grateful for that. He was a loving husband to Gerda, a great father to his children. He loved his family. Mr George, as we called him, earned my respect.

Now he is up in the heavens resting in peace.

My condolences to Gerda, his children and family.

Jay Hamdan says:

I am Jay Hamdan, Gerda and Gerorge’e only and favorite Arabic interpreter. I have work for them since they established Access. The two have always treated me like a family member. They respected, valued, and admired me. That’s special to experience and see these days from people. George was classy, educated, and human. He maintained his professionalism while at work, treated everyone as special as he could. We all love you George. I will miss seeing you in the office as I sop by from time to time. And don’t you worry. Gerda is like a sister to me. I will be there for her if she ever needs me. Rest in peace. We love you.

Frank Castner says:

I met George while serving with the
U.S. Army in Munich, Germany. I remember when George’s parents flew
from Chicago to Munich and took George, David N. Dill, David H. Davis, Juan M. Tovar and myself out
to dinner in one of the better restaurants in Munich. After that
visit George was driving a red Ford. We traveled throughout Europe in that car without even as
much as a flat tire. When reading
George’s obituary and condolences
it is obvious that George lived a life worth living. My thoughts and
prayers go out to George’s wife Gerda and his family.

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