George passed away of natural causes on November 23, 2023. He was 93.
May we mourn an amazing man, but may we also celebrate a life that was lived like no other.
George Brocke – the words that resonate deeper than just someone’s name. They represent a legacy, a business, a family man, a leader, a great neighbor, a pursuer, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great – grandfather.
George’s legacy lives deeply in our small town of Kendrick. Born August 22, 1930 to George F. Brocke Sr. & Emma Brocke. His deep roots to this town were anchored from the beginning. A busy hardworking man throughout high school, George played football, baseball, and basketball and was part of the basketball team that took the 1947 Idaho State Championship. The first state title for Kendrick!
In April 1947, George married his high school sweetheart Helen Harris and that same year they welcomed their son Dean Brocke.
Working custom hay baling and harvesting with his brother Gene Brocke until 1950 when he began working at George F. Brocke & Sons, Inc full time. This is also when he began to pour his heart into the civic roles and duties within the community. In 1950 he joined the local fire department. In 1953 George helped charter the Lions Club in Kendrick. He was the last remaining charter member. In 1953 George also served on the Latah County central committee, was a Boy Scout Leader, Little League Boys Baseball, Kendrick City council, and Mayor of the City of Kendrick for two years.
George was named President and manager of George F. Brocke & Sons in 1959. The 50’s were pinnacle for the Brocke & Sons business as they started to change they business model from being just a seed processing plant to adding peas and lentils to their list. George became very active in Idaho Pea & Lentil Association, serving mostly on the research committee and later on the Idaho Pea & Lentil Commission.
George’s family grew in January 1968 when his son Dean married a fellow Kendrick resident, Lynda Fey. Dean & Lynda had two children Deena and Bert. George referred to his grand children as, “wonderful blessings.” Helen worked full time at George F. Brocke & Sons covering the bookkeeping, payroll and posting all of the grower settlements. George created a true family owned business.
In 1971, George’s father, George F. Brocke, Sr. passed away. He was serving as part of the Idaho State House of Representatives at the time. George F. Brocke, Jr. was voted in to take his father’s place from 1971-1972.
George’s work travels took him all over the world and Helen was able to accompany him on all his overseas trips. George & Helen visited Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Hong Kong, England, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Caribbean and many more. Many of these places they visited for business and toured with the US Dry Pea & Lentil Council.
Throughout many years of travelling, George & Helen made so many international friends and many of whom came to be known as family. George was always keen on making sure his relationships with customers were always on a deeper level and Dean and Bert have carried on this way of business. George made sure that Brocke & Sons was always a small family owned business with big values, and big hearts. George & Helen made sure to take time for themselves too, one of their favorite places to visit on vacation was Hawaii. They were always excited to bring gifts home from their travels for their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
George was extremely innovative and not afraid to try something new. When overseas with Helen in 1978 they visited a factory in Taiwan that was removing the skin off beans with a stone machine. George thought to himself, “the red lentils with the skin removed could give us a totally new product.” George was aware of red lentils in the WSU research program but skinning them was a completely new idea. So, George shipped a stone machine from Taiwan to little ole’ Kendrick. The instructions were in Chinese, so they had to do a lot of experimenting on their own. Once the skins were removed from the red lentils they then needed to be washed and dried to be ready for polishing. The final product was named Decorticated Red Chief Lentil which George F. Brocke & Sons started marketing and still does to this day.
George was a big promoter of the “quail” logo of his family’s company. George had quails all over his house. Quail coffee cups, quail wind chimes, quail silverware, quail napkins, glass painted quail, quail paintings and the list could go on forever. His love for his family business was inspiring and the quail will live on forever! George’s son Dean Brocke became President of George F. Brocke & Sons in 1997 and eventually his grandson, Bert Brocke, who is currently president, took over in 2019. Bert is 4th generation to carry on George’s legacy.
George’s sweetheart of 66 years, Helen, passed away in 2013. George was the official mail man for George F. Brocke & Sons, after his retirement. He would always walk in everyday with a smile on his face and whistling a tune. He really enjoyed still being part of his family business after retirement and Dean and Bert enjoyed having his smart business mind around the office. George Brocke leaves behind a legacy. He was a legend. Today-George F. Brocke & Sons, Inc is George’s legacy and his family will continue on for many years ahead. George was innovative and was always forward thinking. George’s son, Dean, and his grandson, Bert, will carry on George’s love for family, legumes, deep relationships with customers, and our amazing little community. Many employees that we still have today know George from either being employed by him, or having him around all the time. Some employees recall the days of George teaching them the best way to sweep up green peas on the floor.
A father, grandfather, great-grandfather, family man, businessman, community enthusiast, political pursuer, friendly face, a great neighbor and simply an amazing man.