George John Portner Jr.
George John Portner Jr. of New Ulm, age 97, died peacefully on Thursday February 11, 2021 at the New Ulm Medical Center.
George was a lifelong farmer in Sigel Township on what became a Century Farm. He lived there his entire life, farming with his brother Raymond and his wife Angie. As a child, he attended rural Clear Lake School (Dist. #6/179), of which he was later on the school board. With his brothers and neighbors, George played kitten ball in the alfalfa fields and explored on the banks of the Cottonwood River. On occasion, George and his brothers rode friendly cattle bareback around the yard. He later attended Cathedral High School.
George met Angie at George’s Ballroom in New Ulm. The couple married on June 25, 1957 and had four children. George played softball with his children and attended their softball and baseball games at Sigel Ball Park, Johnson Park in New Ulm and later at the University of Minnesota for daughter Diane’s games. Collecting coins, chopping wood, playing Sheephead, fishing, polka music, the Brown County Fair, sweets (chocolate covered cherries and caramel turtles) and a cold Schell’s beer were his joys. He reveled in teaching his grandchildren how to drive his red tractors. His shy smile came out while also teaching them to hide in the raspberry bushes. He was a man of few words, yet talked fondly of the farm horses and dairy cows he grew up with, had a gentle way with animals, and doted on the family pets.
In the mid-1970s, George and Angie opened the House of Nutrition with another couple. It was the first health food store in New Ulm. They were both active members of the German Bohemian Heritage Society (GBHS), of which George was the treasurer for eighteen years. Together they traveled to Germany several times to meet distant relatives, visit family landmarks and experience Germany’s culture. They also hosted German visitors through GBHS activities. George enjoyed collecting donations from township farmers for church picnic raffles. He was also a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Blessed be his memory.
George is survived by his wife, Angeline (Meidl) Portner; children, Dorothy Howie of Dennison, Donna Portner (Robert Nevitt) of Inver Grove Heights, Diane (Richard) Barghini of Venice, FL, and George E. Portner III of Dover, NJ; grandchildren, Ryan Howie (Fey Vancamp) of Tucson, AZ, Anna Howie-Schmidt (Carl Schmidt) of North Pole, AK, Drew Nevitt (fiancé Katja Putzke) of Madison, WI, Mara Nevitt of Lincolnshire, IL, Dominic Barghini of Venice, FL, and Alexander Portner of Clinton, NJ; nine nieces and nephews; great nephew Brandon (Nicole) Portner; great-grandniece, Madilyn Portner; great-grandnephew, Jacob Portner; and many other relatives.
George John Portner Jr. was born June 26, 1923 in New Ulm to George Portner Sr. and Annie (Klinkhammer) Portner. He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Leonard (Alice) Portner and Raymond (Alice) Portner; and son-in-law, Rolland Howie.
A heartfelt thank you goes to the Nicole and Brandon Portner family, who took George and Angie under their wing the past several years and provided loving help.
Due to Covid-19 restraints, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
To leave an online condolence, go to: mvfh.org