George J. Maurer

Butcher had been a partner and owner of a venerable Carroll County butcher shop and meatpacking plant

  • George Maurer
George Maurer
March 01, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

George J. Maurer, a butcher who was a former partner and owner of Maurer & Miller Meats in Manchester, died Feb. 20 of progressive supranuclear palsy at the Brethren Home in Cross Keys, Pa.

The former longtime Manchester resident was 80.

The son of a carpenter and a homemaker, Mr. Maurer was born the sixth of 12 children and raised in Hastings, Mich.

When his father died, Mr. Maurer was 11 and got a paper route to help support his family. Three years later, he went to work for a neighbor who owned a grocery store.

A few weeks after starting, Mr. Maurer filled an opening in the meat department, learning the craft of butchering, which became his life's work.

After graduating from Hastings High School in 1947, he enrolled at Western Michigan University and took a part-time job working at Harding's Grocery Store in Kalamazoo.

While working at the store, he met and fell in love with another employee, the former Janet Arlene Neidlinger, whom he married in 1951.

That year, Mr. Maurer enlisted in the Marine Corps and worked stateside in food service until being discharged in 1954.

Mr. Maurer was working at a Kalamazoo meatpacking plant in 1960 when an old Marine buddy, Eugene F. Miller, asked him to consider joining him in operating the Miller family business. The grocery store and butcher shop was located in a white house at Routes 30 and 27 in Manchester.

"He agreed and packed up Janet and their six children and took them to Maryland, convinced that the opportunity would create a better life for their growing family," said a daughter, Rebecca M. "Becky" Bisbee of Belleville, Wash., who is business editor of The Seattle Times.

"His starting pay was $125 a week. Two years later, he became a partner and the company was renamed Maurer & Miller Meats. It thrived for the next 25 years, with the payroll swelling above 50," said Ms. Bisbee.

When his partner became sick, Mr. Maurer purchased the packing house part of the business in 1987, which he continued operating until selling it to his two sons in 1996 and retiring.

"He was a worker. For more than 25 years, he worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week; Saturdays were a short day; Sundays meant a quick stop into the store to make sure the freezers were operating and to take the temperatures of hams and bacon in the smokehouse," said Ms. Bisbee.

"On Wednesdays he ran a delivery truck full of beef, chicken and pork down to customers who lived in Pikesville, Reisterstown and Owings Mills. He announced himself as 'Butcher' when he rang the doorbell," she said.

The family of Margaret A. Miller, wife of the late Eugene F. Miller, owns and operates the grocery end of the business after selling the packing house to Mr. Maurer.

"We had a great relationship with George for 25 years," said Mrs. Miller. "He was always in charge of cutting the meat the way the customer wanted it and he did an excellent job."

Mrs. Miller added: "He was very good at making sure everything in the butcher shop was done just right."

Mr. Maurer's favorite cut of meat was a porterhouse steak, said family members.

He loved to eat and "I don't think there was a cut of meat he didn't like, but he judged restaurants on how they cooked his porterhouse steak," Ms. Bisbee said.

For years, Mr. Maurer enlisted family and co-workers in operating the hamburger and milkshake stand at the annual Manchester Volunteer Fire Company's summer carnival.

Mr. Maurer built floats for the fire company's' summer parade and for the Manchester-Lineboro Lion's Club parade.

"He built a fire captain's hat for the fire department. His later floats often had patriotic themes, such as Flanders Field with the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Bell with a bald eagle," his daughter said. "He derived great pleasure in creating designs and constructing ever increasingly complicated scenes and received many prizes for them."

Mr. Maurer was also active in community affairs.

In 1994, Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed Mr. Maurer to the Carroll County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, and he was subsequently reappointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening. He remained on the board until 2000.

He also had been a member of the Manchester Zoning Board. He had been a former president and an active member for 35 years of the Manchester-Lineboro Lion's Club.

A lifelong Democrat, Mr. Maurer was active in the Carroll County Democratic Club and often hosted fundraising bull roasts at his Manchester home.

Mr. Maurer was a "long-suffering" Detroit Lions fan, his daughter said, and a University of Michigan fan. He also enjoyed golfing.

After moving to the retirement community several years ago, he learned woodcarving, played bridge and helped with the annual turkey dinner.

He had traveled in his retirement throughout the U.S. and visited China and France.

He was a communicant of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in New Oxford, Pa., where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Maurer is survived by two sons, George B. Maurer of Westminster and Stephen L. Maurer of Manchester; six other daughters, Teresa Richards of Manchester, Barbara J. Crispin of Edgewater, Jill L. Maurer of Westminster, Angela R. Armstrong of Hagerstown, Judy K. Smith of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Amy M. Imbert of France; three brothers, Robert Maurer of Greensboro, N.C., Leon Maurer and Louis Maurer, both of Plainwell, Mich.; five sisters, Laura Saddler of Lakewood, Calif., Patricia Malcolm of Chesaning, Mich., Mary Davisson of Lansing, Mich., Janet Swain of Flint, Mich., and Jean Annable of Fort Wayne, Ind.; 20 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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