Never a seeker of the limelight or accolades, George Bukovich desired brevity in the announcement of his death.
"George wanted his obituary to only say that he lived a good life," his obituary reads. "His family had a need to say more."
Bukovich, who was born on the Iron Range and lived in Fridley before his death, was a successful engineer at the forefront of computing and credit card technology, a friend and mentor to students with special needs or from difficult living situations, an avid traveler and outdoorsman, and someone whom friends and family often relied on for advice.
"I think that he's a humble person. He never really wanted to stand out and brag about his abilities, which were tremendous," said wife Jean Bukovich of Fridley. "I looked at him when I was dating [him] and thought, here's somebody I can trust and believe in. I wanted to marry him. I decided to do that the first date."
The couple were married for more than six decades.
Bukovich, 87, died May 16 after falling and sustaining a head injury two weeks earlier, said son Paul Bukovich of Sauk Rapids.
"I never considered it. He was really active," Paul said. "He just stood up and fainted."
George and Jean planned to move to Sauk Rapids to be closer to family during the pandemic. They purchased a house on the Mississippi River — near Paul, his wife Ana and their children — but they never got the chance to move in.
George spent his last days at Quiet Oaks Hospice House in St. Augusta.
"I spent all my time with him," Jean said. "They say when people are in this situation, their hearing is enhanced and they can hear what you're saying even if they may not be able to respond. I kept talking to him and bringing up good memories and telling him how I felt about him and what a wonderful life we had."
George had degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and business administration. He worked for a number of companies in the Twin Cities, including UNIVAC, Datacard Group and Hartzell Manufacturing.
After he retired, George started working with students in the Twin Cities at the suggestion of his wife.
"I thought that he would be a great substitute teacher for high school math and science," Jean said. "Once he got his training, they called him to work in an alternative school and that's where he stayed. He loved those students."
Paul Bukovich said his father spent a lot of time outdoors hunting and fishing. But George's love of the outdoors wasn't so much about the sport as it was the quality time it allowed him with friends and family, Paul said.
"One of the things that we all understood about my father is he was always present with each of us — everyone — and in the moment," Paul said.
George's positive and humble outlook on life is reflected in how he saw trials and tribulations not as reasons to fret but as opportunities to learn and grow.
"One of the things that he always said is life is like a tapestry," Paul said. "What we see is all the knots and loose yarn and the disorganization. But what God sees is the beautiful tapestry of what our life really is. He believed that."
In his eulogy about his father, Paul said everyone who knew George has memories of how he made them feel.
"Which I believe is his true legacy. Which indeed is how he would most want to be remembered — living," he said.
In addition to his wife and son, Bukovich is survived by his grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Deanna. Services have been held.
Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299