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George Hermach

September 10, 1922 — April 20, 2024

George Rudolph Hermach died peacefully at the age of 101

In his beloved Eugene, Oregon, April 20, 2024.

 

He was born September 10, 1922 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His father, Franz, was born in

Attnang/Puchheim, Austria and mother, Barbara Dauenheimer, was born in Konigsburg, Galicia.

George said his parents grew up in the final zenith decades of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire

and moved to the USA in 1914. George was the youngest of four children which included

brothers Francis and Carl and sister, Rose. He recounted that Saturdays were the big baking day

with his mother and sister making bread and cakes. They played a lot of outdoor games with

neighborhood children, went roller skating, biking, and to Diversey Beach. There was

homework each day and his father would carefully check their work, requiring that the work be

done correctly, no matter how long it took. His dad told his children a lot of stories in the

evening, including a continuing saga about the “Black Rider” which was a story of high

adventure.

 

The family made it through the Great Depression in Chicago. He enjoyed a sports association

for gymnastics, basketball, and volleyball. He got interested in photography and classical music

and began his lifelong love for art. George believed his ability to wander the streets of Chicago

developed his initiative and self-reliance. He recognized the important contribution of his

parents’ membership with the Proletarian Part and the Freethought Society which had a school

that taught him and the other kids economics, evolution, humanism, and history. They called it

the “Wide Awake Club.” This and the Chicago Mountaineering Club, gymnastics, and thoughtful

family mentors, all developed his core beliefs. George attended Austin High School in Chicago and after working several years, enlisted in the Air Corps.

 

He moved to Eugene, Oregon, met and married Martha Ruth Hermach in 1944. Their parents

settled on a homestead they named Tannenwald (German name for fir forest) and a homestead

called Cedar Flats on the Willamette River. George said he helped his tool and die maker father

learn new skills for farming their land. They had no electricity, telephone, or transportation for

about a decade. He served in the Navy Air Corps during World War II and built his skills as a

pilot, flying small planes and loving air shows most of his life.

 

His first son, Timothy, was born in 1945. Three more sons followed, Thomas, Terry, and Ted.

With the GI Bill, George graduated from University of Oregon school of Architecture and Allied

Arts, with a focus on Psychology. During college he worked as a carpenter and built the large

grain silos downtown. His first job out of college was as a counselor. The family lived in student

housing near campus, a house on McKinley Court, then moved to a home. George built a

plastics business, Plasti-Products Company, around on River Road in Eugene. George hired 10

employees and changed the name to Architectural Plastics Corporation.

 

The family bought a place on Irving Road with his parents living on the property. He moved to Virginia in 1969 for work and moved back in 1971, when they moved to their forever home in Eugene on West 29th Street. George joined his brother Carl’s company, Publishers Equipment Corporation, marketing offset printing presses and helped make it a booming success. This business had him commuting to Dallas, Texas from Eugene. On selling that business with great fanfare, George began a career in consulting.

 

George loved hiking and camping in Oregon’s forests and mountains. The family loaded burros

and trekked into the wilderness with friends. He encouraged people to travel the world. He and

Ruth enjoyed UnTours in Switzerland. He said UnTours relied on teaching you how to navigate

the area like a local. They spoke often of their time in Bora Bora, New Zealand, London, and

Austria. They enjoyed chartering large sailboats with their siblings in the Caribbean. They

enjoyed no place more than their beloved Oregon wilderness. Many camping trips included a

red VW bus, packed full of family. In their 70s they continued their adventures in an airstream

trailer and an RV. George built a two-story garage next to the family home to house his trailers

and with a large shop for him to keep building and fixing things. They had a large network of

close friends enjoying the outdoors and rousing discussions of society and politics. Many

pinochle games of enriching conversations and untold dinner parties, lots of slide shows and

home movies viewed on repeat, were enjoyed in their beautiful mid-century modern home.

His greatest joy in his final years was rewatching home movies. He advised everyone to make

videos, hear voices, see movement, capture life in memory.

 

George maintained a keen interest in a healthy diet from an early age. He encouraged family to

eat dandelion greens, all the greens, and keep it natural. He loved the plum dumplings his

mother made which the boys learned how to make. He also had a sweet tooth and especially

liked cream puffs with Bavarian cream filling. He started jogging before it was popular.

Exercising was a lifelong pursuit. Into his 90s he was walking Eugene’s steep hills daily and

keeping his mind sharp with rousing discussions of world events.

 

His journey was filled with many challenges, excitement, hard work, and much joy. Their legacy

of four sons, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren lives on. The particularly strong

bonds between George and his parents, brothers, and sister and with Ruth’s brother and sister

was a foundation for his life. This large family shared problems and successes and worked

together for the benefit of the family as a whole and for its individual members.

 

George is survived by his sons: Tim and his wife Deborah of Eugene, Tom of Portland, and Terry

of Valdez, Alaska. His grandchildren: Kristina of Olympia, WA, Benjamin of Eugene, Jon and his

wife Elizabeth of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Alice of Seattle, WA. His great grandchildren:

Konrad of Davis, CA, Leopold, of Seattle, WA, and India of Seattle, WA.

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