George W. Bookless Jr.

George W. Bookless, Jr., 81, a long-time resident of Galena, Illinois, passed away on May 24, 2024, after suffering from congestive heart failure and its complications. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. The Furlong Funeral Chapel, Galena is assisting the family. George was born in Terre Haute, IN, on October 12, 1942.

He grew up in Franklin Park, IL, where his parents moved after World War II. His father served in an Army Air Force photographic unit, so George always had a darkroom to fool around in as a boy. He graduated from Knox College with a BA in English and a Minor in Biology. Not decided on a career, a college classmate suggested he speak to Sargeant Shriver about the Peace Corps, and so off he went in 1965 for an assignment in Nigeria, where a civil war began shortly after his arrival, making him witness horrible suffering and atrocities. He served as Senior Education Officer attached to the Schools Broadcasting Unit of the Ministry of Education. In addition to writing and directing television science programs, he became head of the photographic unit and, in his spare time, traveled with the only Peace Corps doctor, helping to dispense medicine and aid to the surrounding villages. He learned to speak Hausa and contracted dengue fever and malaria during his almost 3-year stint and returned to the US in 1968, after receiving his draft notice, weighing only 87 pounds. He taught school briefly, then worked as a producer for Coronet Films in Chicago.

He married Lynn Giles in 1970, who blessed him with two loving children, William and Jennifer. While on assignment photographing eagles, he fell in love with Galena and moved his young family here, where both children were raised, and started a freelance photography business.

On September 19, 1998, he married Kathy Puszczewicz in a ceremony on the front porch of their home on Wight Street in front of many relatives and friends. George served as Alderman at Large for the City of Galena from 2001-2005, where he was instrumental in the downtown reconstruction project; funding, relocation, and construction of the new wastewater treatment plant; development of the bike trail; planning and funding for the renovation of Recreation Park and the swimming pool; and advocating for the relocation of City Hall and the city garage. He also supported Wal Mart coming to Galena but with conditions requiring they meet the city’s terms, not their terms, which they ultimately did.

During his life, George enjoyed camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, gardening, cooking, sharing stories, and listening to the radio. He loved sitting on the front porch of his home on Wight Street, drinking a beer and smoking cigarettes. When asked what he would like done with his ashes, he half-jokingly said he wanted his brother, John, to shoot them out of a canon and into the sky. So, whenever you hear the cannon boom in Grant Park on July 4 and other occasions……. think of George.

George is survived by the best thing that ever happened to him: his loving wife, Kathy; daughter Jennifer (Jay) Stienstra and son William (Susan) Bookless; grandchildren Alexander and Anika Kerkhoven, Billy, and Betty Bookless; sister Joan (Jack) Juhlin; brothers John Bookless and William (Stacy) Bookless; Denmark sister Britha (Jan) Mikkelson; mother-law, Eleanor Puszczewicz; in-laws Linda (Dennis) Fillippo, David Puszczewicz and Al Bonvini, Michael (Dawn) Puszczewicz; Lynn Giles; and many nieces and nephews.

His parents, George W. Bookless Sr., and Wilma Bookless preceded him in death.

The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses & physical therapists at Midwest Medical Center, Hospice of Dubuque, and his many friends, including members of The Cabin Club.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

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