George Kelsall, 92, passed away of natural causes Monday, May 18th, 2020 at Achieve Rehab and Nursing Facility in Liberty, NY. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA George was the son of the late John and Bertha (Shane) Kelsall. He is survived by a brother, Robert S. Kelsall of Lancaster, PA; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and some very special friends. He was preceded in death by his brother, C. Roland Kelsall.
Born and raised during the Great Depression, George recalled riding in the back seat of the family car while his father sold cookies to supplement the family income. When he was older, George used his wagon to sell beets up and down the alley in his block. Later he had a paper route.
In his early adult years, George traveled the country to become a migrant worker. He enjoyed recalling and telling stories about the interesting ways fruits and vegetables were harvested on industrial farms in the 1940s and 1950s.
Eventually George began working in hotel kitchens, learning the chef trade. For many years he traveled up and down the east coast working in well-known hotels and restaurants. He settled in the Catskill region of New York to work in a large resort hotel. Like most of the Kelsall men in the family, George loved to cook. For a niece's wedding, he cooked an entire roast beef dinner for 100 people in a church kitchen by himself.
In his retirement years George volunteered as a fire policeman first at Woodbourne, then Liberty and finally at Bloomingburg fire companies. He found great purpose in this job and worked as many hours as he could. He recalled that he wanted to help as much as he could to help the volunteers who had full-time jobs.
George had two dogs in his lifetime. He found an injured dog in his yard one day. The dog had been shot and had lost a lot of weight. George nursed him back to health and named him Baker. As Baker grew and grew, George realized he had a Belgium Malinois. Baker became a great protector, a best friend and a great source of comedy. George would walk him down to the creek and Baker would wade into the water to fish for rocks, carrying them home in his mouth. Later, Cleo came to George. She was a sweet little dog who loved to walk. After George was diagnosed with emphysema he and Cleo began walking several miles a week on local rails to trails. We all believe this greatly benefited his health.
George always felt that his greatest achievement was earning his GED around the age of 73. This gave him the confidence to complete multiple courses related to fire company procedures.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Arrangements are under the care of Colonial Ramsay Funeral Home in Liberty, NY. For additional information, please contact the funeral home at 845-292-7160 or visit www.colonialfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
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