Upper Iowa University joins the Fayette community in mourning the death of George Capell, a former longtime UIU employee and area volunteer.
George Vernon Capell, age 89, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on September 12, 2016, while living in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was a 63-year resident of Fayette, Iowa, before moving to Michigan in 2013.
George was born October 21, 1926, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to George Vernon and Ethel Pearl Capell. He graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1944. During World War II he served in an army infantry rifle platoon with the 40th Division, 160th regiment in the Philippines and in Korea, advancing to the rank of Corporal. At the conclusion of the war, he played saxophone and clarinet in the Army jazz band, performing for U.S. troops during the Korean occupation.
Following his discharge from the army he enrolled at Simpson College, graduating in 1950 with a B.A. degree in mathematics and secondary education. He moved to Fayette in 1950 and began teaching at Fayette Community High School. He taught mathematics, physics, and driver’s education, and started the guidance and counseling program for Fayette and West Central schools. While teaching in Fayette he met his wife of 59 years, JoAnn (Burke) Capell, and they were married in 1954. In 1956, he received a M.A. degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Iowa.
In 1963, George became an admissions counselor for Upper Iowa University, where he served in various administrative capacities, including Assistant Director of Admission and Director of Financial Aid, before retiring as Registrar from Upper Iowa in 1993. He was a member of the Iowa State Education Unit. He served Fayette County on the Fayette County Solid Waste Management Commission. He was a member of the Fayette Lions Club, American Legion and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. He was also a founder and charter member of Big Rock Country Club in Fayette, serving the club in numerous roles. He and JoAnn were active club members for nearly 45 years. In 1985 he became the first and, so far, only member of the immediate family to record a hole-in-one, which he did on the 6th hole at Big Rock.
George is preceded in death by his wife JoAnn, parents George and Pearl Capell, sister Helen Johnston and brother John Capell. He is survived by his children Greg (Marcy) Capell, Georgie (Curt Surls) Capell and Susan (Peter) Jebson, as well as by five grandsons and one granddaughter. A gathering and celebration of George’s life will take place Saturday, Oct. 15, at 9:00 a.m. at Shkelton Hall at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Fayette, with a funeral mass to follow at 11 a.m. Memorial may be directed to Maple Memory Lane Memory Care at Maple Crest Manor in Fayette, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, or the Fayette County Food Shelf.