George W. Kelloff, 96, passed away on Sun. Oct. 29, 2017 at home in Fountain Hills, AZ with family by his side. George was born in Segundo, CO on Feb. 22, 1921. His parents, Lebanese immigrants, owed a grocery store and movie theatre in Aguilar. George lived and worked in the family business until enlisting in the US Navy in 1941. He was stationed aboard the USS Mindanao in the Pacific Theatre and served for the duration of the war. Proud of his military service, he was an active member of the VFW until his death. In later years he had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC on an Honor Flight. His grandchildren loved to listen to their “Jido” tell stories about his time in the service. He loved family time especially with his grand children at their family cabin. George was a talented musician. He loved all music, especially the big band sound and played in a dance band before, during and after the war. He spent many hours entertaining shipmates with his songs, saxophone and skits. After the war, he formed the George Kelloff Orchestra, playing evening dance jobs around southern Colorado. One evening while playing, he met Edna Mae Cunico, Sopris, CO and they began a love affair lasting until his passing. He attended Adams State College in Alamosa, CO on the GI bill and graduated with a degree in music. He taught his grand daughters to appreciate polka music which they sang on the way to the cabin and back.
In 1955 George and Edna Mae moved to Monte Vista, CO and opened the Star Drive-In. A creative entrepreneur, he gave birth to a unique concept of a drive-in/movie motel in addition to many other business ventures. In 1964, he gave Monte Vista the unique distinction of having the world’s only movie motel receiving worldwide attention. He was most at home selling tickets in the box-office at the Star Drive-in for many years. He was active in many civic functions in Monte Vista. George retired from the motel and theatre business in 2002 at the age of 80. During retirement George and Edna Mae made their home in Fountain Hills, AZ enjoying many friends.
George was preceded in death by his parents Najib and Susan, brother, Mitchell, sisters, Olga, Edna and Rose. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Edna Mae, son George (Judy) Kelloff, Fountain Hills, daughter Susan (Craig) Miner, Monte Vista, grandchildren Nicholas Miner, Ben Kelloff, Shayla Miner and Mary Kelloff, godson Gary (Susan) Machetta, Denver and many nephews and nieces. Cremation was chosen. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday November 25th at 10:00 am, Church of the Ascension Catholic Church in Fountain Hill, AZ.