Family and friends remember the man who was more than a Councilman

Jeanie Unseld
Jeanie Unseld
Wes Unseld
Wes Unseld
Dee Garrison
Dee Garrison
Marty Vowles
Marty Vowles

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On Monday, family, friends, and colleagues of Metro Councilman George Unseld remembered his life during a visitation at St. Stephen Baptist Church. Unseld died on June 10 at age 66 after collapsing in his City Hall office before a Metro Council meeting.

Unseld's daughter, Jeanie, said she will miss everything about her father.

"He was my moon. My sun and my stars," she said.

Jeanie expressed her happiness because she said she built many memories with her father. She described their relationship as beautiful.

"I was glad I had 43 years and I can't be anything, but happy," Jeanie Unseld said. "I'm just going to miss Daddy."

George's brother, basketball great Wes Unseld, flew from Baltimore to be at the visitation.

"I'm coping with it, because, right now, it hasn't hit me. I don't think," Wes Unseld said.

Sunday was the first time in 30 plus years, the brothers, did not chat on the phone. Wes said he will never forget the last conversation he had with his brother when they spoke about going to the river together with their dogs, smoking cigars, and watching them run around.

Wes said he learned new traits about his brother on Monday during the visitation from people who live in the community.

"Every one of them had basically the same theme of -this was a good man. I knew him as a good brother {and as} someone I loved," Wes said, who told us that between 1,000 to 2,000 people attended the first visitation. Mayor Jerry Abramson attended the second visitation.

In high school I could see him coming down the hall. He stood above everybody 'cause he was so tall," said Dee Garrison, a high school classmate.

Garrison, who lives in Atlanta, was in town visiting her mother when Unseld died suddenly. Although she had not seen George for 25 years, Garrison kept tabs on him and said the last time she saw George, Garrison said he was sick.

"My heart just melted 'cause he has been sick and he didn't look exactly the same, but his heart was the same," she said.

Garrison said she was watching the news, on Thursday when she learned Unseld was hospitalized.

"Today, my heart is broken," said Garrison.

Marty Vowels said Unseld, whom she met in 1973 when he was an educator, made an impact in her life. Vowles said Unseld was a major contributor to integrating schools. After she had started a club called Human Relations at Pleasure Ridge Park High, Vowles said Unseld was a big contributor.

"George came out and helped me get it organized," said Vowles. "I'm not sure integration would have gone as smoothly and as effectively as it had, if it had not been for George Unseld."

Vowels said the last time she saw her friend was 6 months ago.

"I can't believe he's gone," said Vowles. "You know, he wasn't that old. It's going to be a loss to this community. I hope people stand up for what he stood up for."

George Unseld's funeral service is set for 11 a.m. June 15 at St. Stephen Baptist Church, 1018 South 15th Street.

His daughter told us she plans to continue the local daycare centers operated by her father and is looking into other projects in Newburg area where the family is from.

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