George Michael Embree passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on November 12, 2023 after a brief illness. Mike was born February 28th, 1947 in Ottumwa, Iowa. He graduated from Ottumwa High School and served in the US Army in Viet Nam. Upon returning home he attended Indian Hills Community College. From there he moved to Davenport, Iowa and began his 40 year career with WGBlock. His career included management and sales. He was instrumental in the creation of the USGA approved golf sand and serviced upward of 250 golf courses. His customers became his friends and his career earned him the nickname “Sandman”, and probably, his single digit handicap. He was a member of Oakwood Country Club and played at every golf course he could. This included organizing many winter trips to the Gulf coast with good friends.
In 2010 he relocated with his wife of 30 years, Susan, to Gilbert, Arizona where they spent the last 13 years.
Mike was a true competitor, enjoying racquetball and running with the Cornbelt Running Club, which led to his other nickname “Coach”. Mike also enjoyed biking, riding his Harley, landscaping, hiking, and camping. In the last 20 years he developed a passion for art, creating intricate and beautiful paintings. Mike built and painted beautiful and durable bird houses, carrying on a tradition taught to him by his grandfather. He also hand painted walking sticks which he sold at local art fairs. All of Mike’s friends and family are avid collectors of his expansive collection of works. Mike was an avid music lover, his taste covered all genres. He enjoyed going to concerts with his wife and children and often rocked concert tees and bandanas.
Mike was affectionately referred to as Papa, because his role and influence was so much larger than the role of Father and Grandfather. Mike was a very involved father and grandfather. He attended all of his children's events (even ones that made his eyes roll) to show them support. He also coached his daughter and granddaughter's softball teams and spent many hours after a long day's work playing catch. A common rite of passage for Papa Mike’s children and grandchildren was going fishing with him. He not only taught them to catch a fish but more often than not he also taught valuable life lessons on these fishing trips.
He is survived by his wife Susan Embree, children Joshua (Melinda) Embree of Gilbert, Arizona, Sara (Jeremy) Schutte of Seattle, Washington, Katy Embree of Davenport, Iowa, their mother Kathy Graff, children Tami (Dan) Eastlick and Tina (Joe) Eastlick of Ottumwa, Iowa. Step children Meredith (Eric) DeSmet of Davenport, Iowa, and Dennis (Emilie) Goodall of Mesa, Arizona. 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Siblings Larry Bogle, Jerry Torgerson, Dixie Lee, his late sister Debbie, and many loved nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held in Gilbert and in the Quad Cities.