George Eldridge Obituary

George E. Eldridge
George Eldridge
George E. Eldridge

April 2, 1934 - October 15, 2010
Born in Des Moines, IA
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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George Eldridge, (Daddy Pop to his grandchildren), age 76, surrounded by family, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer on Friday, October 15, 2010 at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Funeral services will be 2:00 pm, Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at Westover Funeral Home. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Burial will take place at Glendale Cemetery.

George was born April 2, 1934 to Robert and Florence (Hakanson) Eldridge in Methodist Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa. George graduated from East High School, Des Moines, Iowa in 1952, continued his education at Drake University, receiving a B.S. in Biology in 1956. He received his Masters in Public Administration from Webster College in Missouri in 1978.

George entered the Air Force in 1957 and earned his wings in May, 1958. He continued his service to the country flying KC-97s, HC-97s, and HC-130s. He flew in excess of 20, 000 hours, with stations of duty in numerous states, Guam, Philippines, Azores, Bermuda, Labrador, Japan and a tour of duty in Tuy Hoa, Viet Nam.

George's Air Force career focused on search and rescue, coordinating as many as 1600 missions a year. He assisted on the Gemini and Apollo missions, flew in the James Bond movies "You Only Live Twice" and "Goldfinger", and led the first Para Rescue deployment on the Canadian North Slope. George was responsible for the most extensive search in North America when House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and Representative Nick Begich were lost in the Alaskan Wilderness.

George was awarded numerous medals of commendation, including 7 air medals, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was appointed by the Governor of Alaska as an Emergency Medical Services Advisor, but forced to decline the appointment due to Military regulations.
After retiring as a Lt. Colonel from the Air Force in 1985, George began a second career flying commercial airlines. He retired from Great Lakes/ United Express in 1995.

George was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing and golf. One of his proudest moments was when he shot a hole-in-one on May 24, 1997. He was recently inducted into the East High Hall of Fame for outstanding track accomplishments.

George and wife Bel were long time residents of Bloomington, Minnesota, recently relocating to Clive. George is survived by his wife Bel, daughter Kristey (Dave) Baerwald, son Jay (Ann) Eldridge, daughter Kathleen (Forrest) Aldrich, 10 grandchildren: Leisa, Christopher, Nicholas, David, Emily, Kaitlyn, Caroline, Marianne, Lauren, Morgan; 8 great grandchildren: Madelynn, Connor, Elizabeth, Taylor, Gracie, Abigail, Kylie, Aiden; brothers Bob (Barbara) and Charles (Freda) Eldridge, 6 nieces and one nephew. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family for a Memorial Fund being established in George's name.


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Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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Westover Funeral Home
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
2:00 PM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Tuesday, October 19, 2010