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George W. Niepoth

October 21, 1927 July 10, 2010
George W. Niepoth
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Obituary for George W. Niepoth

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George W. Niepoth of Milford, died at home in the care of his family on Saturday evening, July 10, 2010. He was 82 years old. Born in Detroit on October 21, 1927, he was the son of George W. and Margaret McVittie Niepoth. When he was twelve, his father died. Pearl Harbor was attacked when he was fourteen. After graduation from Cass Tech in 1945, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and, after boot camp, served as a classification specialist at the end of World War II. He returned home to go to college on the G.I. Bill and to commence his courtship of Mary Ann Heisserer whom he married "between semesters" on January 26, 1952 at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Melvindale.

George was hired by General Motors in 1951, and went on to complete his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering under a GM Fellowship program at Wayne University. When his duties with GM took him from the Fisher Building to the Proving Grounds in Milford, he and Mary bought a field and built a home on Duck Lake Road where they raised their family, planting deep roots. George later reported to the Technical Center in Warren but Milford was their home and St. Mary's their parish and faith and family were at the center of his life.

During his 35 years with GM, George led many of the company�s efforts in emission control engineering, and was Executive Engineer in charge of electronic control systems for engines and transmissions. George�s pioneering research led to the automotive industry switching to unleaded fuels, and he headed a group of researchers that are credited with the introduction of the world�s first automotive catalytic converter. George also worked extensively with engineers at Opel, Germany, Isuzu Motors, Japan, and Lotus, England, and holds multiple GM patents. In 2008, George was awarded the Global Spec �Great Moments in Engineering� award, and was nominated for the Draper Prize, the highest honor bestowed in the field of Engineering.

Successful career notwithstanding, George �just wanted to be a cowboy.� And like his father, George took a leadership role in everything he was involved in. He was the secretary for the Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association, served many years as St. Mary�s council president, and more recently, served as the parish bookkeeper. George enjoyed long conversations on all matters with his parish priest and was one of the founders of the Thursday morning men's group at the parish.

George Niepoth was a builder - in all ways. He planted seedlings and loved woodworking, making toys and furniture and remodeling rooms and building houses. After childhood summers on Mullett Lake in Northern Michigan, he built a cottage on Scott�s Bay for his own family where they summered in the 1980's and 1990's. When St. Mary's outgrew the old stone church in Milford, he helped build the church on the new site east of town, and was part of the committee that raised money and built the current church and its additions. He believed in the importance of family and personal responsibility, and pressed himself and his children to be their best. George Niepoth will be remembered as honest and unassuming, generous with his gifts and talents, a man who lived his faith with quiet dignity and grace and who saw in all of life's blessings and crosses, God's goodness and love.

He is survived by his sweetheart and wife of 58 years, Mary, by their daughter, Margaret (Rick) Wadsworth of Vernon, British Columbia and sons, Thomas (Linda) Niepoth of Winthrop, WA and Peter (Trinh Pham) Niepoth of Denver. Also four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His sister, Maxine Taylor of Milford also survives. He was preceded in death by sisters, Gretchen Tuoehy, Toni Allen and Jane McHale. Many nieces, nephews and a host of dear friends join with George's family in mourning the death of a good man and giving thanks to God for his life among them.

Friends may visit at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty, Milford on Thursday from 2-9PM where parish prayers will be said at 7 PM. Funeral Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1855 E. Commerce, Milford, Friday at 11 AM. Fr. Ron Anderson will officiate. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. Memorials may be made to St. Mary's Church. For further information, 248.684.6645

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