(L to R) Chad Carlson, Maile Ilac Boeder and George Hohwieler at the ground breaking for the Aurora Cooperative Corporate Headquarters.As many did, my staff and I learned that George Hohwieler lost his battle with cancer on Monday. Later on, during our weekly management meeting, the core staff and I sat reminiscing a bit about him. We talked about how it was always nice when he’d stop by the office to say hello on his way to one of the many meetings Aurora Cooperative held in our facility. How at nearly every meal he ate here, he tried to stop and thank the staff for their work. Most memorable was his appreciation for warm chocolate chip cookies which we served at many of those meetings. George was kindly remembered.

One of my board members suggested that I consider posting a few words on our social media about George. It’s taken me some time to put my thoughts into words, but here it goes.

I remember very clearly the February morning George Hohwieler called my cell phone to set up a meeting with me even though I had taken vacation day that day. It was important and if possible, he didn’t want to wait. Not 20 minutes later, he was nervously sitting in my office, sharing with me an amazing idea brought to him by Chad Carlson. Sharing his excitement, Chad and I took the idea and ran with it. Just a few months later, with the blessing of both of our boards of directors, George and I signed the lease that allowed the Aurora Cooperative to build their corporate headquarters on 3 acres of The Leadership Center’s property. It was through this process and seeing the project to completion that I learned some of my most valuable professional and life lessons.

George taught me to:

  • Think big and act small.
  • Plan well and work hard.
  • Surround yourself with smart people with good ideas, then give them the end goal and let them chart the route to success.
  • Advise when necessary.
  • Keep learning.
  • Don’t be afraid of criticism but know your worth. Do not over or under value it.
  • Be humble and stay humble.
  • Be sure to know what is important and why. Keep that in perspective.
  • Above all and most importantly, make time for your family and keep your faith.

Like so many this weekend, we will gather to say goodbye to this incredible man.

George, while it was a privilege to call you client, partner and advocate; it was more an honor to call you mentor and friend. Thank you for your work, your vision and all you did. You will be missed.

To George’s family and friends and to the staff of the Aurora Cooperative, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Maile Ilac Boeder
Executive Director of The Leadership Center

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