George Hargrave, 1940-2018

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 15, 2018

George Russell “Rusty” Hargrave of Albert Lea died Friday, May 11, 2018, at his home after a brief struggle with cancer.

Rusty was born Dec. 3, 1940, in Spencer, Iowa, and grew up in Webster City, Iowa, where he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1959. He graduated from AIB College of Business in Des Moines in 1963.

He married Judy Smith, also of Webster City, on Jan. 18, 1963, at Albert Lea United Methodist Church, and they made their home in Albert Lea.

George “Rusty” Hargrave

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Rusty was a craftsman, who saw his work of installing tile as an art. He worked for Floorcrafters for many years and then owned his own business, Rusty’s Ceramics. He taught at Riverland Community College and Faribault Correctional Facility. Rusty refused to retire and continued to take small jobs until recent months. His tile works adorn many homes and businesses in the area, as well as churches throughout Minnesota.

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and serve, Rusty went on many mission trips, notably to Costa Rica, Guatemala and Louisiana. He also volunteered for the local Habitat for Humanity.

Rusty was very active at Albert Lea United Methodist Church, serving as Sunday school teacher, singing in choirs, as a trustee for many years and most recently as a custodian.

A stock car driver at 13, Rusty loved watching Nascar. He enjoyed bluegrass music, camping, feeding birds, and, if he was sitting, he usually had a cat on his lap. Rusty posted on Facebook almost every morning: “GMBG (good morning boys and girls) feed the kiddos.” He was always seeking ways to make a difference in people’s lives and he wanted his death to do that as well.

He made an effort to contribute DNA to learn more about pancreatic cancer and planned his memorial service to be a testament to his passion for compassion and justice.

Rusty is preceded in death by his parents Emma (Gadsby) and Ivan Hargrave; and two sisters, Patty Nicholson and Jean Abbas.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Judy Hargrave; daughters Michelle Hargrave (Kelly Coyle) of Mankato, Melissa (Jim) Bruesehoff of Warren, Michigan, and Victoria (Paul) Spyhalski of Austin; grandsons Zane Coyle, Chad Bruesehoff, David Bruesehoff and Theo Coyle; brother, Ron (Martha) Hargrave; sisters Betty (Merrill) Blackburn and Alice (Orville) Sangland; and many nieces and nephews.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Albert Lea United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at Bonnerup Funeral Service. Memorials are preferred to Reconciling Ministries Network, the Ecumenical Food Shelf or donors choice. Rusty asked that people bring canned goods instead of flowers for the service.