George Shaffer Dibelka, born 31 May 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois to James Charles Dibelka Sr. and Susan Kurzenknabe Shaffer Dibelka, died peacefully at his home on Hammond Ranch in Weed, California on the afternoon of 21 November 2017 following a series of health complications.
George attended public schools in Chicago, but graduated from Hemet Union High School in Hemet, California where he had moved to live with his maternal grandparents. That is where he met Wilma Juanita Tyler whom he subsequently married.
George served in the US Navy during and following WW II at Naval Air Stations on Guam and Saipan as an Aviation Electronicsman, and during the Korean Conflict aboard the USS Los Angeles, a light cruiser.
Following his release from the Navy, George did undergraduate work at Whittier College in California and graduate work at the University of Illinois. These studies resulted in his employment as a private consultant to the Department of the Navy during the development of the first atomic sea vessels and the initial skylab.
George and Wilma had married 19 October 1952 at the home of his grandparents in Hemet. They had three sons, John, Michael, and Mark, all born in the Los Angeles area.
In autumn of 1976, the family relocated to Southern Siskiyou County living first on Wisner Road while George developed some raw acreage on High Meadow Road in Hammond Ranch into a home for the family. They moved onto the land in 1978 where they have resided ever since in the house handbuilt by the family. George was a “homesteader” before it became a buzzword. He liked to brag he hadn’t paid a utility bill since September 1978.
George was a co-founder and charter member of the Hammond Ranch Volunteer Fire Department.
George’s main away-from-home activity was his continued involvement in ham radio. His call was AB6UE and he was an active member of the Mt Shasta Amateur Radio Club. He had been instrumental in the development of the club’s participation in local bicycle and run events over the years for which the club provides Health and Welfare communications and uses the practice as preparation for emergency response if and when needed. These events have included the Summit Century, the TinMan, Castle Crags, the Mt Shasta 4th, the Biketoberfest, and the Headwaters Trail Runs.
George was a good man. He did good work. He raised a good family. He was known and respected as well as valued and loved. He died softly surrounded by family. He is survived by wife Wilma; son John of Dunsmuir; son Mark, daughter-in-law Kamille, and grandson Paul of Hammond Ranch; granddaughter Mikayla of Rochester, New York; and grandson Tyler of Holley, New York. He was predeceased by son Michael.
There are no plans for an immediate service. However, the family does plan for a memorial wake in the future.