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Br. George K. Phelps, O.S.A. (1923 - 1943)


Br. George K. Phelps, O.S.A. entered eternal life on July 10, 1943.

George Kraus Phelps was born on June 19, 1923 in Rockford, Illinois to Schley Scott and Ethel (Kraus) Phelps. He was baptized on July 15, 1923 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Rockford. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 18, 1936 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Rockford.

After receiving the first six years of his elementary education at St. Mary Grammar School, Rockford, George completed Grades 7 and 8 at St. Patrick Grammar School, Rockford. He then enrolled in St. Thomas High School, Rockford. After three years at St. Thomas, he entered the Augustinian program of formation at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, where he earned his high school diploma.

On September 9, 1941, George was received into the Augustinian Novitiate. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 10, 1942.  Following profession of vows, he began collegiate studies at Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania.

After successfully finishing one year of college, Brother Phelps and other members of the Augustinian community were vacationing at Sea Isle City, New Jersey. He was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean along with four other students when a high wave caused him to tumble over and a stiff undertow carried him away from shore.  Three of his fellow swimmers searched for him when he failed to come to the surface. A fourth ran along the beach to the nearest lifeguard station for help.  Lifeguards and a crew from the Sea Isle City Coast Guard Station patrolled the area for two hours before the body was found washed into shallow water about a half-mile away. Artificial respiration was applied for two hours before he was pronounced dead.

Brother Phelps was an excellent student and an accomplished musician. He played flute, piano and organ. His was the first death among members of the new Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Augustinians of the Midwest), founded in 1941.

Brother Phelps is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Winnebago, Illinois.


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