George Edward Collyer


George passed away just before his eightieth birthday on September 21, 2018 at the Stanford Hospital, San Jose, California.  Most of his family was at his side.  His passing was unexpected as he had only recently been diagnosed and just started treatment for prostate cancer.

George was born October 16, 1938 in Chelsea, Michigan at a small hospital (for the time) that was a converted residence on Van Buren Street. His childhood started in the local area and within two years the family moved to Cavanaugh Lake, Chelsea, MI where George lived with his family until 1959.

George started school at the Riemenschneider School a one-room country school until 1950 when he started attending the Chelsea Public School system in Chelsea, MI.  While in school, George played both football and baseball, lettering in both sports. Upon graduation from High school in 1956, George attended Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Continuing his love for sports, George pursued his study in sports administration.  This love for sports carried throughout his life as he coached many teams in various sports in the communities that he lived in and was a licensed referee for high school sports.

In 1959 George decided that continuing college, at that time, was not for him, so off to California he went.  In 1960 George married Lois Jones Ciampaglia who had two very young children, David and Gina. These children were loved by George and became just like his own children.  Over the years they had four more children, Kari, Michael, George Jr. (Eddie), and Kisha. Landing a job in the insurance industry George became an Underwriter for one of the largest companies in the industry. Transfers within the insurance industry took him from Detroit, MI to New Haven, MI to Omaha, NB to Littleton, CO and to Rifle, CO where he owned a local Insurance Agency.

In 1986 with the collapse of the oil shale experimentation by two major oil companies in Rifle, CO the town collapsed and so did his insurance agency.  So back to San Jose, CA the family moved.  The stress of these times caused the marriage of George and Lois to fail and they were divorced in 1988.

George had a liking for the Real Estate industry and began to work in a R/E office in San Jose, CA in 1986 where he rose to the position of the Office Manager.  After a disagreement with the owners, George left the firm in 2000.  About this time George became aquatinted with a lady that became his life partner, Norma Jones Milligan. Norma had two children, Michael Fairly and Amber Fairly Griffiths. These two were more than stepchildren, they too were like his own children.  Norma was with George and at his side until the end.

Norma owned a Batteries + store and in 2001 George took over the management of the store.  George always enjoyed retail management and had worked in various stores since his high school days.  It was something he enjoyed doing and he excelled at it.  He worked at the Batteries + (now Batteries & Bulbs) store most every day until his death.

George is survived with his partner in life, Norma Milligan, his children; Gina Updike, Kari Ellis (of CO moving to CA), Michael Collyer, Eddie Collyer, and Kisha Poulsen, all of CA and a brother Douglas Collyer of Killeen, TX, stepchildren Michael Fairly of CA and Amber Fairly Griffiths of NM.

Step son, David Ciampaglia, proceeded him in death in 2014.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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