February 12, 2012

C George Eklund

Carl George Eklund died on February 12, 2012, at the age of 95.  George was born in the Swedish Hospital in Brooklyn and later resided in Lincoln Park and Morristown.  As a teenager, he voluntarily dropped out of school for five years and took a job as a “Printer’s Devil” in order to help support his mother and two sisters.  In 1934 he joined the CCC’s (Civilian Conservation Corps camp #241 of Morristown), and while a member was able to complete his last three years of high school, graduating from Morristown High School in 1939 as an honor student.

George joined the Army in September 1940 and served in the Quartermaster Corps and the Transportation Corps before being appointed to Officer’s Candidate School in August 1942, graduating as a second lieutenant in November.  In August 1943 he was sent to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater where he was a supply officer and promoted to first lieutenant.  He was honorably discharged in May 1945, following which he joined the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, where he served 40 years, most of the time as a Central Office Technician.

In 1963 George was honored to be one of the first 65 nation-wide employees to attend a nine-month training course for the first Electronic Switching System, which was located in Succasunna, N.J., and dedicated in 1965.  He was an active member of the Morristown Chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America, H.G. McCully Upstate Chapter #12, and for 30 years George was the Chairman of Community Services.  During this period he designed, and, with the help of his co-workers, installed an intercom system at Camp Nejeda, a learning camp for diabetic children in Stillwater, N.J.  George retired in 1986 at age 70.

George had many interests.  He learned to swim by studying a book by Johnny Weismuller, and while in the CCC’s won several swimming medals.  His pride and joy for many years was his 20-foot Shark Catamaran, which he sailed on Lake Hopatcong.  He also enjoyed archery, woodworking, home repair and gardening, but he especially loved singing.  He studied under Walter Blazer of the Manhattan School of Music and had an extensive repertoire of liturgical music.  Over the years he was a member of several church choirs, but most importantly, for 18 years he was a tenor soloist in the Madison Methodist Church, excelling in oratorios.  He was also a soloist in the Morristown Methodist Church choir and a member of the Morris Choral Society, the Sussex County Oratorio Society, and the Montclair School Community Project.

In 1942 George married the former Shirley A. Lanterman of Morristown, who predeceased him in June 2011.  In 1947 they moved to Succasunna, where they resided for the rest of their lives.  George was married to his beloved Shirley for more than 69 years.  

A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 24, 2012, at 3:00 p.m., in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, 57 East Park Place, Morristown, N.J., and a private burial will follow in the Church Memorial Garden. 

If anyone wishes to make a memorial contribution in lieu of flowers, it may be made to Compassionate Care Hospice of St. Clare’s Hospital, 400 West Blackwell Street, Dover, New Jersey 07801

Arrangements are by the Davis and Hepplewhite Funeral Home, 96 Main St., Succasunna (973-584-7264)  davishepplewhitefh.com.

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