Mr. Kropp first came to Sherwood in 1968 as our Swimming Director, recruited by Dr. Frank Morris, Sr. He served in this position until 2001. In 2002, he became Camp Director. After a onesummer hiatus in 2003 he was recalled to active duty as a Senior Field Director until 2011. From 2012 – 2013 he was again recalled to active summer service on an as needed basis for the boys &girls camp. He served Sherwood for 45 years.
Mr. Kropp was also a teacher of history at Calvert Hall during our winters from 1960 – 2012, 52 years.
George Kropp; beloved husband of Doris A. (nee Fangmann); devoted father of Barbara A. Charen and her husband Arthur, Susan L. Doyle and her husband James, Robert J. Kropp and his wife Liane; brother of Charles W. Kropp, Margaret Mary Arthur, grandfather of Grace, Thomas, Matthew, Kevin, Julia, Will, Ava and Leah.
When Icons Die – Mr. Kropp
The following reflection is from someone whom Mr. Kropp taught to swim. George also taught my children to swim. He was a teaching peer, a fellow student of history, a summer colleague for 15 years. I was his boss for 7 summers though he was always senior to me. I, too, was a poker and drinking buddy.
I hate change. I never wanted to grow up. As our parents and friends teach us by example how to pass over, it is hard on us who are left behind. When I die my loving God will allow me once again to ride the seesaw at the Playground, to be wholly free in the summer sun with no cares. The passing of Sherwood icons make you think of simple things. Reflections of … release. Simple matters of the heart.
I knew that saying goodbye to Mr. Kropp at his viewing and again at his funeral would trigger memories of my Dad. In the rainy hour drive through traffic to Mr. Kropp’s funeral, I thought of my Dad’s life and death again and again. Do we ever really get over the death of a loved one? There have been so many deaths in Sherwood lately. Each irreplaceable, each dearly missed.
Our friend, my mentor, died on Sunday, October 6th at 1:14 PM. While death happens all the time, I know right now that I will never forget Mr. Kropp. George, an old school provider. Not demonstrative, yet loving & kind, an anchor. You absolutely knew, without any reservation, that if he was on deck everything would go smooth and by-the-number. Thinking of his complete devotion to duty brings tears to my eyes. A loss for all of us.
Quis nos operor in vita refero per infinitio. What we do in life echoes through eternity. – Marcus Aurelius, Germanic Campaign, 79 A.D. This notion is representative of so many Sherwood residents. Living a meaningful life in the service of those we know, in close quarters for generations. In Sherwood this is a notion that transcends generations and genders, it applies to so many. The true connection between George and us is this notion of doing for others. That is Sherwood normal.
Mr. Kropp is forever more an example to us all. He exemplifies traits to which we all aspire and wish our children to aspire. Commitment, dedication, expertise, steadfast love, and above all, kindness.
In my 45 year evolution with George, I never saw him spiritually weak. I never heard him complain. I never heard him say anything bad about another. As a teacher, I emulate him. I’ve taught now 36 years and most likely I’ll do 50 years just like him. As Sherwood Camp Director I’ve always tried to be like George, always will. His devotion, his loving focus on those to his front, his capacity to take pain with no complaints.
In his death spiral this past year, a quote comes to mind that both George and I would know, D.H. Lawrence, 1909 (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Dozens of Sherwood members have passed in like manner. Never showing outward resignations, never publically sharing their fears. Facing death and not cowering. Perhaps like you, I privately weep for these brave souls. Examples we’ve known since childhood. This is how it’s done.
When my time comes I will be just like my personal icons. I will be brave just like them. Words strain and crack in the passing of yet another friend. A life so well lived. A great American in our midst. Like you, I will forever remember and sorely miss our friend, Mr. Kropp.
- J. George Kropp: Service through swimming (Article in The Capital 10.11.2013)
- J. George Kropp: Calvert Hall Educator (Article in The Baltimore Sun 10.13.2013)
- Longtime Calvert Hall teacher, swimming coach George Kropp dies (Article in The Catholic Review 10.9.2013)