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George Klacan 01/24/2024

Dr. George Robert Klacan passed unexpectedly at home on January 24, 2024 at the age of 90.
George was born November 26, 1933 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to parents George and Alma. He met his future wife, Mary Lou Kirchner, in high school and took her to senior prom; they married in 1955. He completed his undergraduate degree in Soils at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before being drafted into the US Navy. Following his military service in Hawaii, a mentor encouraged George to return to school and seek his doctoral degree. After completing his Ph.D. in Soils in 1962, he began a storied career at Green Giant in LeSueur, Minnesota. He retired from Green Giant in 1999 after many contributions to the science of food production, specializing in pest management and plant pathology.
George and Mary Lou raised four children, Beth (Corey), Phil (Paula), Annie (Greg), and Carolyn (Owen) with love and good humor. A lifelong student of the world, George sought out many adventures including running three marathons, research trips to China, and caring for an estate in South Africa. His eight grandchildren cherished spending summers at the cabin on Bluewater Lake, and his great-grandson loved reading stories on his lap.

George will be remembered fondly by family, friends, and anyone fortunate enough to be served one of his legendary Manhattans. He was an avid lifelong supporter of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and he sponsored the summer internships of students through a scholarship in his name. Memorials can be made to the George R. and Mary Lou Klacan Scholarship fund at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
A Celebration of Life was on Friday, February 2, 2024 at 2:00 PM at Hope Lutheran Church, 3337 Kingsbarn Avenue, River Falls, Wisconsin, with visitation beginning at 1:00 PM.

Click here to watch the recording of George’s service.


  • Arlene Runkel Posted January 26, 2024 7:02 pm

    I still have the beautiful black Hawaiian photo album you brought back for me from Hawaii….And the time in Minn. you took Bob and I to George’s office at Green Giant to get mushrooms for Mary to make dinner for us…A REAL TREAT.
    Great memories…

  • Tom Graham Posted January 28, 2024 12:23 pm

    George was my boss the summer of 1969 when I worked at Green Giant Ag Research. Great man, great boss. Lots of fun and a learning experience. Rest in peace George

  • Jean Loudon Posted January 29, 2024 2:44 pm

    I only know you through your amazing son Phil who has shared so much talent with HOPE Lutheran. Your legacy lives on in the next generations.

  • Vicki Camery Weber Posted January 30, 2024 7:06 pm

    George and Mary were friends of my parents back in the Ag Research days in Le Sueur. Condolences to your family. I am sure you have a million wonderful memories to console you.

  • Paul and Karen Harguth Posted January 31, 2024 6:50 pm

    Mary and family – we are so sorry for your loss. George was a wonderful boss and friend. We have always been grateful to George fo hiring Paul, which brought us to LeSueur. We enjoyed all of those GG Ag Research picnics, which brought all of us together, even after retirement. RIP George.

  • Ramona Schlueter Posted February 2, 2024 4:11 pm

    I worked for George for 12 years at Ag Research Green Giant in Le Sueur, MN. He was a wonderful man. One thing that I admired was his parenting to his children. He had a daily word that he gave to his kids at breakfast table that they had to learn to spell and know the meaning of and use it in a sentence thru-out their day and report back at the family conversation that evening at the dinner table. Everyday, I in the Lab. would say ” well George what’s the word for today?” What a vocabulary I learned along with his children. George had so much to offer others in his life. He will be missed. I just lost my husband Al of 64 year so I know how tough the grieving process is. Prayers to you Mary and all you kids in the coming days. George certainly touched my life.

  • Elaine Baumann Posted February 9, 2024 11:15 am

    My deepest sympathy to the entire Klacan family.

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