George Marko passed away of natural causes at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, December 6th; he was 95. George was born in Portage, Pennsylvania, a small mining community in the Allegheny Mountains, on January 4th, 1921, the fourth of seven children, to Andrew and Mary Marko. As an infant, the family moved to Reitz Number Two, another mining community near Central City, PA where he spent his formative years. Life was difficult for immigrant families living in primitive company housing that lacked basic utilities until George was older, but he had a strong family where everyone learned to pitch in with the boys helping with a garden and milking their cow and the girls doing the cooking and cleaning. However, George’s hardscrabble upbringing honed an intense work ethic and entrepreneurial
spirit that paid ample dividends later in life. In early 1942, with the United States thrown into World War II, George enlisted in the Army Air Corps where he saw life outside coal country for the first time. In Madison, Wisconsin, where he was being trained to be a radio operator, that his intelligence and perseverance changed the rest of his war experience. George mastered his trade so well that he was assigned to a training squadron where he would help to develop bomber crews for the Eighth Air Force. George arrived in Boise in early 1943 and immediately fell in love with Boise, and soon enough, one of its fair ladies. George met the love of his life, Bonnie, née Castor in the summer of 1944 in one of those serendipitous ways that only wartime can produce: while swimming at the Natatorium even though Bonnie was deathly afraid of water and was cajoled there by a friend. They soon started courting and were married on December 26th, 1945, shortly before George was due to be transferred to California. George and Bonnie began their marriage in Stockton, California where he got a job with Edison Brothers shoe company after his discharge in 1946. They moved to various locales as George worked his way into management, ending up back in Stockton where they lived through the 50’s. In 1960, with his first and only child, Kurt on the way, George took a promotion and moved to Riverside, California. George and Bonnie built their small family in Riverside where he worked in retail management, took night classes to become an accountant and eventually started his own business. In 1964, while still employed in retail, George and Bonnie started a liquor and convenience store that they built into one of the most successful in the area. He also completed his accounting coursework and eventually landed an auditing position with the State of California.
In 1973, the family left the California rat race to rejoin Bonnie’s family in Idaho,
where George spent the rest of his life. He soon got a position with the Idaho Tax Commission and later the Department of Employment (now Labor), where he made many friends before retiring in 1987. The family enjoyed the many opportunities to spend time with Bonnie’s parents, Roy and Retha Castor, sister and brother-in-law Bethel and Albert Roark and ample extended family.
In retirement, George enjoyed playing golf with old work buddies and caring for his ample lawn and garden. He also cherished trips to Jackpot, Nevada, where he didn’t often win, but always had a good time. George made many friends at Cactus Pete’s over the years, but he and the family particularly appreciate the special treatment hotel manager Nidzara Masic gave him over the years.
George is survived by his wife, Bonnie, and son, Kurt and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Andrew (Jr.), John and Michael, and sisters Mary, Anne and Helen. Graveside burial services will be at the Meridian Cemetery on Friday, December 9th at 2 pm. Instead of flowers, the family would prefer a memorial gift to the Stanford
University Neurosciences Institute , Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, 326 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305-5018.