George Messner, 95, of Lockwood, MO passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on January 9, at Cox Barton County Hospital in Lamar, MO.
George was born in Williamstown, PA to George Anthony and Carrie Shomper Messner on February 2, 1926. He attended Williamstown area schools, graduating in 1943. He interrupted his senior year of high school to join the Navy as a 17-year-old, eager to assist with the WW II efforts. He was selected to attend Naval Mine Warfare School in Virginia, where he was trained to retrofit steel destroyers to become minesweepers, undetectable by radar, an unprecedented technology at that time. He joined the USS Forrest in Texas with primary responsibility for the highly technical mine sweeping activities of the ship. The Forrest was attacked by a Japanese kamikaze bomber in the Pacific Ocean near Okinawa in May 1945. She eventually made her way back to Boston where she was decommissioned due to extensive damage. George was awarded five medals of commendation for his courage, resourcefulness and devotion to his country.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, George attended Penn State University and took classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then joined Royal McBee typewriter in West Hartford, Connecticut as a mechanical engineer. He married, designed and built a family home, and raised five children in South Windsor, Connecticut.
In later years, his career took him to Japan, Holland and California, during which time he developed several patents related to electric typewriter technology, toys, and multiple other inventions. In the late 1980s, George retired to Lockwood, MO where he pursued his lifelong interest in agriculture, developing a herd of MRI cattle; the first of that breed introduced to the United States. He also established a fruit and nut tree orchard using his expertise in grafting and hybridizing of novel varieties of tree nuts.
In his late 80s, George’s interest turned to viticulture. He designed and planted three acres of grapevines on his Lockwood property, establishing one of the first vineyards in Dade County.
In his early 90s he developed another patent for a device that maximizes the production of grapes relative to ground space availability, combined with adjustable exposure to the sun.
Throughout his life he was an active member in both the New England and the Nebraska Nut Growers Associations. In recent years, he was an enthusiastic member of the Tin Can Sailors, the National Association of Destroyer Veterans.
George is survived by his wife Lelia Messner of Lockwood; four children, Cheryl Baldino (Lou) of Harleysville, PA, Peter Messner (Diane) of Souderton, PA, Gary Messner of Quakertown, PA and Susan Messner of Joplin, MO; three step-children, Mark Carlos (Josephine) of Westcliffe, CO, Kim Smith (Bernie) of Franktown, CO, and Debbie Hobell of Monument, CO; brothers-in-law, Bill Friess of Greenfield, MO and Rollie Friess (Pat) of Fayetteville, AR; eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Ross Messner in 1990.
Visitation will be held at Konantz Warden Funeral Home on Friday January 14, 2022 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM. A military service with honors will be held at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pennsylvania on Thursday January 20, 2022 at 2 PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Convoy of Hope, PO Box 1125, Springfield, MO 65801 or Doctors Without Borders, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741–5030.