George William Gritchen was born December 6,1928 at the Gritchen village in Grand Forks, BC to the family of Molly (nee Barisenkoff) and William Gritchen. He had four sisters: two older – Mabel and Polly, and two younger – Molly and Vera. He grew up in the Gritchen village and went to the Fructova school, which is currently home to the Grand Forks museum.

During his teenage years, he picked fruit with his brother-in-law Mike Androsoff in the Okanagan and when not picking fruit, he began working in the forestry industry with his father and continued working full time in the industry until his youngest son, Jim was born. George began farming full time in 1957 specializing in growing vegetables, selling and delivering his vegetables door to door in Rock Creek, Bridesville and Beaverdell. He continued farming full time until his retirement age of 65.

George began dating his beloved Phyllis Makortoff in 1953, and on December 21, 1954 they were married. George and Phyllis began their married life ln the Gritchen village where they started their family. Their first son Gary was born in 1955 and their first daughter, Katherine Sandra was born in 1957. ln 1959 they purchased land in Almond Gardens and began building their dream home which they moved in to in 1960. Their third child daughter Lorralne was born in 1960, just after they moved into their new home and their family was complete with the arrival of their youngest son Jim in 1955.

George and Phyllis were living their dream life, raising children, working the farm and George was happiest riding his tractor, plowing his fields and singing a Russian son. ln his youth, George loved the outdoors and loved to skate at Saddle Lake in the winter and play baseball in the summer. He always loved watching sports on W – especially hockey. Owning and running a farm was a 24/7 job, and although he was not able to travel much, he and Phyllis visited their daughters in Calgary, when their granddaughter was born in 1988 in Toronto, he and Phyllis flew to Toronto {this was the first time flying for both he and Phyllis) and during this trip they also saw one of the Seven Wonders of The World – Niagara Falls. They travelled to Vancouver lsland in 1994 and George actually stood on the shore of the Pacific Ocean….being careful not to go into the frigid cold waters…even though it was the end of July. They also travelled to Reno several times with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Maureen and Bill Koftinoff. During the years many family day trips were taken to the Okanagan and to Washington State. ln 2005 George became ill and had to sell the beloved farm in 2005 when they moved to their present home on 22nd Street. Phyllis took care of George for 5 years until late 2010 when, she could not take care of him at home. He resided at Sunshine Manor until his passing July 11, 2013.

George was pre-deceased by his son Gary in 2008, his mother Molly in 1950, his father William in 1954, his sister Mable in 2005, her husband Fred Postnikoff in 1989, his sister Polly in 2001, her husband Mike Androsoff in 1992.

George leaves behind his beloved wife of 58 years Phyllis, his daughter Katherine Sandra from Kelowna, his daughter Lorraine and son-in-law David Robertson from Okotoks, Alberta, his son Jim and daughter-in-law Lila from Burnaby, his grandchildren Adam, Luba and her husband Tyler, Sarah, Brent, Molly, Kelsey, Robble, Crystal, Trevor and Graheme and great-grandchildren Mikaela, Blake, Griffin, Kylie and Hailey. George also leaves behind his sister Molly and brother-in-law Peter Podovinikoff of Surrey, BC, his sister Vera and brother-in-law Donald Negrieff of Grand Forks, and his many nieces and nephews.

George was a life-long USCC member and a proud Doukhobour. He instilled his Doukhobour values of toil and peaceful life to his family, may he rest in peace.

A funeral service was held on Monday, July 15, 2013 at the USCC Community Center, Grand Forks, with burial following at the Sion Cemetery, Grand Forks. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Everett Baker of Grand Forks Funeral Home.

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