George Edward Taft, 83, of Battle Creek, Michigan died peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at Heritage Assisted Living. George was born January 13, 1940, in Battle Creek, Michigan to Donald J. and Edith M. (Nelson) Taft. He grew up in Battle Creek and graduated from Lakeview Schools in 1958. George was an Eagle Scout in his youth, enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in 1962, and was active for seven years. He attended Kalamazoo College and Northwestern University. After graduation, George took an accounting job with a company out of Detroit where he worked remotely in Africa, France, and England. Upon his father's death, George took over the business, Mr. Don’s Restaurant, and ran it for over 30 years until his retirement in 2000.
He met his wife, Paula Deanna Morgan, at a USAF Thunderbirds party during Battle Creek’s first balloon festival. They were united in marriage on July 10, 1971, at First Presbyterian Church in Battle Creek. Surviving are their three children, Jason Taft, Geoffrey Taft, and Kimberly Taft of Battle Creek; two grandchildren, Finnegan Murphy and Fitzpatrick Murphy; his sister, Marjorie (Jack) Troxel of Spring Lake; two nieces, Michelle Tanner of Spring Lake and Christine (Jon) Zoutendam of Traverse City. He also leaves behind several lifelong friends that became family over the years. George was preceded in death by his wife, Paula, and his parents, Donald and Edith.
After retirement, George stayed active in the family business. He still enjoyed offering his expertise to help his children succeed with their three ongoing businesses in the Battle Creek area: Mr. Don's Restaurant, Maudie's Coin Laundry, and Duffy's Party Store. In fact, you were likely to run into him checking in on them up until his passing.
George was an active member of the community. He served on the Harper Creek School Board for 20 years and was able to hand each of his three children their diplomas. He also served on the Emmett Township Board, was a member of the Battle Creek Jaycees, taught students through Junior Achievement, and helped start the Battle Creek Restaurant Association.
George really enjoyed ham radio (Call Sign W8UVZ), which took him all over the world. Over the years, he enjoyed walking, traveling, fishing, snowmobiling, playing tennis, and other outdoor activities. He was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and was even able to attend a Tigers World Series game. He loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday, January 4, 2024, at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care. A service to celebrate his life will be held immediately following at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. A family committal and interment will be held Friday at Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (https://www.stjude.org/). Personal messages for the family may be placed here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.