George Lukens Bloomsburg
George Lukens Bloomsburg was born March 28, 1931 in Salmon Idaho. His parents, Walter Glen Bloomsburg, a civil engineer from the Seattle area, and Helen Daniels Bloomsburg, a Quaker schoolteacher from Pennsylvania, left their respective professions and families in 1919 to marry and start a vegetable farm on the banks of the Salmon River. George completed the family, joining two sisters (Betty, Barbie) and a brother (Joe). Many of George’s life-long interests and values were born and nurtured in that family and farm — love of education, the satisfaction of hard work, ingenuity required to design / construct homes and sewer systems, resourcefulness, necessity of driving heavy farm equipment at a young age, diverting and managing water to ensure a steady supply for farm use, generously helping others and most of all an unwavering devotion to family.
When George was 11, his parents and the two boys still living at home moved to a homestead ranch on Coeur d’Alene Lake, outside of Worley, Idaho. They gave up household running water and electricity in Salmon for the very rustic lake house, knowing they wouldn’t have the option to install either in the near future due to World War II rationing. George graduated from Worley High School in 1948 at age 17, in a class of 14. His father died suddenly of a heart attack that summer. George started college majoring in Agriculture, but struggled to find a solid direction. After one year, he enlisted in the Army, and fought in the Korean War. George was a member of Company “C” in the 279th Infantry regiment. When honorably discharged, he had achieved the rank of Sargent.
When George returned to the family home on the lake, the family had expanded to include his mother, brother, his brother’s wife, a baby, and another on the way. Things were a bit crowded, so his sister-in-law introduced him to her Whitworth college friends…including Hilma Lou Ulijohn from Spokane, who became George’s bride on February 27, 1955. George returned to college on the GI bill at the University of Idaho in Agricultural Engineering. The young couple split their time between Moscow during the school year and working and relaxing at the lake in the summers. Their home was a trailer, 8′ wide and 30′ long. George earned a Bachelor’s in Engineering in 1957 and his Master’s in 1959. The family grew with the births of daughter Lynda in 1955, and son Carl in 1958.
In 1962, the family moved to Fort Collins, Colorado so George could earn a PhD and pursue his goal of teaching at a university. They returned to Moscow in 1964, and George became a University of Idaho Engineering professor and life-long Idaho Vandal. Their family was complete with the arrival of daughter Carol in 1965.
During their years in Moscow, George and Hilma participated in many community groups and activities. They were active members of the First Presbyterian church. George participated in bowling teams, square dancing, and cheered on Vandal football and basketball teams for many years. He served as the President of the Moscow Swim Team Parents Association, a Board member of Parks and Recreation, and a member of the 279th Infantry Association. He was a devoted husband, father, and son, visiting his elderly mother every Sunday for many years.
His career included appointments in the Departments of Agricultural Engineering and Engineering Science, and he served for several years as the Director of the Idaho Water Resources Institute. He enjoyed working with international students and led summer trips with them to tour water resources structures in Idaho. Family vacations often featured long camping trips on the way to NSPE and ASCE summer conventions.
George and Hilma built their final home at the lake following their retirement from the U of I in 1992. They were blessed to live there full time for ten years, and another ten years of “snow birding” to Spokane Valley during the winters. They were active in several Plummer and Worley groups, including the American Legion, the Worley Community Church, and the Grange. They enjoyed hosting their children, grandchildren and other family and friends who relished swimming, water skiing and boating, and appreciated the outdoor beauty at their home.
George and Hilma moved to Good Samaritan retirement home in Spokane Valley in 2015. While George understood the need for the change, he continued to ask “is there any work I could do at the lake? let’s go there…” until his final days. He passed on at Good Samaritan on January 27, 2018.
George is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Hilma of Spokane Valley; daughter Lynda and son-in-law Gary Mong of Kennewick, Washington; daughter Carol and son-in-law Cliff Slaughterbeck of Lynnwood, Washington; 10 grandchildren, 2 great grandsons; daughter-in-law Mary Bloomsburg of Pasco, Washington; brother Joe and sister Barbie, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Betty and son Carl.
A Memorial Service will be held for George on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 1:00 PM. The Service will be held at Worley Community Church, 30203 S. 1st Street, Worley, ID 83876. There will be an informal family gathering at the Fairview / Rockford Cemetery, Sunday, April 8 at 11:00 AM. The family requests that donations in George’s name be made to the Good Samaritan of Spokane Valley bus fund (address: 17121 E 8th Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99016) or the University of Idaho.
COPYRIGHT 2020 BY KXLY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.