FORT COLLINS, Colo. – George Bigelow Willson, 90, passed away on Nov. 3, 2019, at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.
He was born to Eugene and Marie Willson of Lusk. He grew up on a cattle ranch near Lusk that was established by his grandfather and great uncle in 1880.
He received a degree from the University of Wyoming in civil engineering, then served two years in Guam during the Korean war. After the war he taught at the University of Wyoming for seven years before taking a job in Maryland working on agricultural waste management and sewage sludge composting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
George went on to have a lifelong career doing groundbreaking research work in this area. He received multiple awards and traveled the world making presentations. His work continued after retiring from the government through personal consulting. As a consultant he did troubleshooting for regional governments throughout the US and for international governments abroad. He also wrote composting regulations for four states in the U.S.
His work has made a huge contribution to the environment around the world. In addition to this work he has given back to the University of Wyoming by establishing the George Bigelow Willson scholarship endowment for civil engineering students.
George met his wife Lois Ann Goodman while teaching at the University of Wyoming and they were married in the Methodist Church in Casper on Dec. 21, 1959. He was a loving, devoted husband and father of two children, John and Carol. The family moved to Maryland in 1965 but George and Lois returned west to Loveland, Colo., after his retirement. They returned out of a love for the land and its heritage. Here he continued his enjoyment of music through singing in the church choir. He carved wood sculptures. And he fished, even traveling to Alaska to deep-sea fish in his 80s.
George is survived by son John Willson of Cockeysville, Md.,; daughter Carol Phifer and her husband Steve Phifer of Fredericksburg, Va.; granddaughter, Amy Krieg and her husband Peter Krieg, and George’s great-granddaughter Hazel Krieg, of Charlottesville, Va.; grandson, Sam Phifer of Charlottesville; two sisters, Phyllis Hahn of Lusk and June Reed of Pensacola, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Lois Ann Willson, his sister Mary Jean Willson and his brother James Willson.
A memorial service will be 2 PM on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, at first Congregational Church of Loveland, 800 N Lincoln Ave., Loveland, CO 80537. The service will be presided over by the Rev. Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the University of Wyoming c/o Goes Funeral Care, 3665 Canal Dr. Suite E, Fort Collins, CO 80524, or to a charity of your choice. Please visit goesfuneralcare.com to share condolences.