George Frederick Eisele Jr “Fred”
Fred was a lifetime resident of Wilson County, Kansas. He was born July 31, 1939, to George and Mabel Eisele at their home in North Altoona, Kansas. Their family, including his older sister Elaine, moved to the farm just northwest of Altoona when he was a toddler. The family lived there when his sister Betty Ann and brother Norman were born.
Fred attended Kelly School his first grade year. He went to Fredonia for the rest of elementary school and high school. He participated in band, FFA, football, basketball and track. He received All-Tri-Valley League recognition in football, track and basketball. Fred received a State Farmer award his senior year.
Fred was a member of the Homebuilders 4-H club. His parents (George and Mabel) were the founding leaders of the club. The club’s first meetings were held at their house outside of Altoona. Fred’s sister Elaine was one of the first members, along with neighbor Emma Crites. Fred served as president and vice president of the Homebuilders 4-H club. Fred was involved with 4-H for 75 years. He served as swine superintendent at the county fair and as the county swine project leader.
He was a lifetime member of the First Christian Church in Fredonia. He served as an Elder of the church for many decades.
Fred attended K-State at Manhattan, Kansas his freshman year of college where he lettered in football and competed in high jump in track. His second year, he attended Coffeyville Junior College where he was on the track, football, and basketball teams. Fred returned to Kansas State University at Manhattan for his junior and senior year in college. Fred was a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity and worked at the beef building. He was on the K-State livestock judging team, poultry judging team, track and football teams. In high jump, Fred jumped his height (6’4”) his senior year and was ranked fourth in the nation. In 1958, he was a member of the National Championship Poultry Judging Team.
After graduating from K-State in Animal Science in 1961, Fred tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs football team (he didn’t make the team but loved to tell people about the tryouts). Fred applied and was accepted to the International Farm Youth Exchange program in 1961. He left for Argentina in September 1961 where he stayed with farm families and observed farming, dairy and livestock raising. He returned to Kansas in May 1962 where he shared his experiences and pictures at local community meetings.
One summer in college, Fred attended a picnic close to Yates Center for the Woodson County 4-H Junior Leaders. He met Woodson County 4-Her Helen Jackson that evening. Her first words to him were, “I bet your name is George or Fred.” His reply was, “You’re not going to believe me, but it is both”. He returned at fair time for a ferris wheel ride with Helen and they began dating. Fred married Helen Jackson on June 10, 1962, at the rural Maple Grove Evangelical United Brethren church in Woodson County.
Fred and Helen had four children: Lisa, Brenda, Don, and Sheldon. Fred was a strong supporter of all their school activities and did not miss a home game or band or choir performance. He rarely missed an away game as well. As part of that support, Fred was elected to the Fredonia USD 484 School Board for 8 years and served as President of the board.
In 1970, Fred and Helen’s home burned down. There was an outpouring of support from the community to support the family. As a result, Fred and Helen were strong supporters of the Wilson County rural fire district for the rest of their lives.
Fred was a Farm Bureau voting delegate to the Farm Bureau national convention in Washington DC in the early 70s. He was also active on the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Committee where he and Helen made lifelong friends.
Fred was active in the community. Fred was on the Wilson County Republican Central Committee, a delegate to the Republican State party, and active in politics for many years. He was active in campaigns for Senator Bob Dole and other elected officials. He was a Presidential elector for the President Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Fred was a Wilson County Commissioner for four years and served on the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission on behalf of Wilson County during that time.
Fred and Helen farmed and ranched their entire lives on their farm in rural Fredonia. In 1991, Fred became an inspector with the Kansas Department of Transportation. He helped build roads and bridges throughout Southeast Kansas. He retired from KDOT in 2004. After that, he stayed on as a consultant for Cook, Flat and Stroble for several years. He finally retired completely in 2013.
Fred is survived by his wife of 61 years, Helen Ilene Jackson Eisele, Fredonia, Kansas; sister, Elaine Ralstin of Newton, Kansas; four children: Lisa (Clarke) Eisele Estes, Ponca City, Oklahoma; Brenda (Jeff) Jackson, Lawrence, Kansas; Don (Jen) Eisele, Manhattan, Kansas; Sheldon (Crystal) Eisele, rural Fredonia; 8 grandchildren: Tanner and Archer Estes, Ponca City, OK; Jonathan and Sam Jackson, Lawrence, KS; Stark and Skye Eisele, Manhattan, Kansas; and Noel and Lane Eisele, rural Fredonia. He is predeceased by his parents (George and Mary Mabel Eisele), stepmother (Joyce Eisele), brother Norman Eisele, and sister Betty Ann Eisele.
Services will be at the First Christian Church in Fredonia, on Friday, October 27, 2023 at 10:30 A.M. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the service at 9:30 A.M.
The family would like to thank Morningstar Assisted Living, Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, Fredonia Regional Hospital, and the First Christian Church for their loving care and support during Fred’s illness with Parkinson’s.
Memorial remembrances are suggested to the First Christian Church and they may be left or mailed to Wickham Family Funeral Home, 510 North 7th, Fredonia, Kansas 66736.