George Kenji Otsuji passed away on April 30, 2024 at the age of 81.

A Service of Love and Remembrance in celebration of George Otsuji will be held on Tuesday, May 07, 2024, 1:00 pm at Newton Fellowship Church. Laughter and tears are encouraged. His friend, Bob Enns will officiate. Internment of the cremains will prelude the service at Oakville Cemetery.

George was born on October 2, 1942 in Morris, Manitoba to Kihyoye (George Sr.) and Fumiko Otsuji (Furukawa). The eldest of 6 children, George was a faithful and loving brother and remained committed to them right until his death.

George showed exceptional skill in athletics, leadership and was extraordinarily clever. He was scouted in baseball by the NY Yankees. Finances prevented him from pursuing this opportunity. George also worked on the Omichinski and Kitchen Farms. Finishing his apprenticeship with Manitoba Hydro his first posting was Winkler. He began as a lineman and retired as a Manager in the North and South Regions at the age of 55 completing a long and successful career. He made many lifelong friends or “Old Buggers” (his words) during his tenure. Dad loved sharing stories of his time in Hydro.

George met Winona Smith in Oakville, MB while she was boarding with Ella Vezey. He wooed her with homemade pies made by his mother, claiming he made them, (it didn’t take much in those days). A romance had begun. They were married December 23, 1967 at the Christ Church in Portage la Prairie. It was a beautiful, cold Christmas wedding.

They welcomed Brent (1970), Sarah-Lynne (1972), Georgina (1981) and Kenji (1982). They raised their family in Winkler, Oakville, Birtle, Gillam, and back to Oakville where they settled down in the house that George and his Dad built.

Being heavily involved in his community, he served as a member of the Lions Club, Community Club, Village Committee, Portage Credit Union Board, Oakville Centennial Committee, Rink Board, Fair Board, Curling Club, Active Living Center, Hydro X and in many other clubs and capacities. He was a mentor to many young people through coaching and playing numerous sports like hockey and baseball. In later years, George became a “Golf Fanatic”. He achieved the coveted “Hole-in-One’. His favourite course was Southport. He loved to curl with the Burnside Curlers, play pool, snooker, cribbage, cards, reading, watching old westerns and playing Hearts and Solitaire on the computer. Dad always had a project on the go and was a jack-of-all-trades. He could literally do anything and could always provide an answer or fix. He loved carpentry and woodworking, electrical, plumbing, building and he spent countless hours volunteering his time and efforts in projects for family, friends and community. He gave generously and selflessly of his time and skills.

George and Winona began a joint venture with Leonard and Judy Essay owning and running Creed’s Corner Store for a few years. George and Winona also bought the “Old King House” in Oakville renovating and running a successful Tea House. You wouldn’t believe the pots of soup and size of the Veggie Sandwiches. He was famous for his corn chowder.

After retirement from Manitoba Hydro, he went back to work at Armwood Windows and Doors for 12 years. His was in Human Resources and Sales. He loved travelling and serving his customers. He also loved working with his son Brent.

His love language was feeding people. Dad was a phenomenal cook and host and nothing brought him more joy than to gather those he loved most and welcome even strangers to his home. You could gauge how much he liked you by how many types of meat he served. (The minimum was a 2 meat meal.) George volunteered as a camp cook at Jubilee for many years and loved feeding campers and staff. George was also a prankster, and known for his wicked preferred brand of humour and “George’isms”. He loved to “remove” his thumb and steal your nose. Dad had nicknames for everyone he knew. Anyone who knew George, knew he loved to stockpile and it became a running joke.

Dad was always ready with wisdom and advice, insight and a listening ear on every topic you could imagine. He imparted incredible knowledge to anyone who wanted to sit and visit with him and he certainly loved to visit.

George was devoted to his family. He was a man of integrity and you could always count on him. He always did the right thing (whether he wanted to or not!) He consistently provided the very best he could afford. He was an incredibly and beyond generous soul. His friends and neighbours knew him as a generous gift giver always, but especially at Christmas. (They probably have tons of toilet paper, garbage bags and tins of chocolate to remember him by.)

Recently George gave his heart to the Lord. Best decision he ever made, securing his place in Heaven. He was led in the Sinner’s prayer by his wife Winona. It was a significant and deeply impactful moment, and his transformation was profound.

Following being hospitalized for 10 weeks, George passed comfortably, peacefully and surrounded by friends and family. He knew his destination was Heaven.

George left this earth highly respected and deeply loved. His memory and legacy will be cherished by his wife of 56 years, Winona (nee Smith); children/grandchildren: son Brent (Kim): Mikayla (Peter) great-grandson Liam, Keesha (Dustin), Tyler; daughter Sarah-Lynne; daughter Georgina (Jonah): Caylen, Hannah, Aubrey; son Kenji (Cheryl): Keane, Claire, Ivy; siblings: Jean Silo, Vera (Stuart) Boyd, David (Mona); in-laws: Linda (Alan) Wright, Linda Smith, Debbie Smith; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and close friends and neighbours, and of course, his feline companion George Maki III. (Dad was always an animal lover).

George was predeceased by his parents, brother Allan and infant sister June, parents-in-law Jack and Sarah Smith and brothers-in-law Grant and Gale Smith.

An era has ended. Family get togethers will now seem a wee bit hollow.

Thank you Dad, for everything. Godspeed. Rest in peace and Rise in Glory.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13

As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made in George’s memory to a charity of your choice.

A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.