George James Conlin: “Gorgeous George”

November 17, 2017

Great-grandpa Conlin always had a twinkle in his eye and a handful of candy or fig newtons. Once, I asked Great-grandma Conlin why she kept a giant bowl of butterscotch candies on the table and she responded: “I need the candies to keep Grandpa sweet.”

George James and Ida (Ove) Conlin

George James Conlin, who the family playfully referred to as “Gorgeous George”, was born, on April 24, 1892,in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. When his parents sold the family farm in Todd County, Minnesota in September of l912, George headed to Pingree, North Dakota to manage his parent’s recently acquired hardware store. Ida Ove had come to Pingree as a schoolteacher from Park Rapids, Minnesota. Rumor has it that George met Ida in the bank vault in Montana where she was working. They married February 11, 1917.

Ed Hart with George and Ida on the Hart Homestead.
Agnes (Conlin) Gregoire and her father George on the Conlin homestead.

After the store sold, George went to Poplar, Montana to work for Lundeen’s in the hardware department and to play baseball, which was his lifelong passion. The couple homesteaded in Montana, and by 1926 Ida had delivered four daughters, Agnes, Mary Elaine, Kathleen, and Marguerite. Between 1926 and 1927 the family was searching for greener pastures. They spent a few months in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Christmas in Monticello and a few months in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They lived with George’s brother Pat and wife Elizabeth until a house was available for the family, with the girls attending Catholic School. Finally, in 1927 the family returned to Poplar, Montana.

Grand Opening of Conlin’s Store in Great Falls.

While in Montana, the couple owned and operated a furniture store in Scobey. They also moved to Great Falls, Montana and Grand Coulee, WA where George worked for a hardware store before retiring to Ephrata, Washington in June 1965. George remained active in his retirement by working half days for a Coast to Coast Hardware store and coaching a Babe Ruth baseball team.

“His Last Team” published June 29, 1972. Courtesy of Grant County Journal, Ephrata, Washington.

George passed away March 10, 1980, at the age of 87 in Ephrata, Washington. Both George and Ida were active in the church and left a legacy of caring, love, and community spirit.

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