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June 24, 2024

George Rock

George Rock

In Remembrance of George Lee Rock  1925 – 2014

While we mourn the passing of George Rock, CALC’s Director Emeritus, we also celebrate his life—the life of a visionary. It was George’s vision of using a non-profit organization to preserve land that led to the formation of the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy.

He educated us by bending our ears every chance he got! He was a relentless believer in the cause and wasn’t afraid to tell the world about it on a one-to-one personal basis. George acted on his convictions, serving on the board until term limited out.

Margo Copley knew George as “Lee”, because at church he went by his middle name. Her family referred to Vicky and Lee as their “Church Grandparents.” They had no grandparents living locally and the Rocks always made a point to make her daughters feel special.

George introduced the idea of a conservancy to Margo over coffee after church and his enthusiasm was contagious. Margo says, “There has never been a better ambassador for the conservancy than George. He was the workhorse who made it tick and we owe it all to him.

We all hope we make him proud as he looks over us from above. We’ll miss you, George.”

George’s Conservancy Highlights:


1995 – George co-founded The Cadillac Area Land Conservancy with Tom Rensberry

1996 – George put an easement on Waldeck Island.

1998 – George put an easement on a lot on Friedrich Strasse Drive adjoining Waldeck Island

2001 – George established the CALC endowment fund in the Cadillac Area Community Foundation with a generous donation

2003 – George put an easement on a lot in Evergreen Platt with a view of Stone Ledge Lake

2006 – George put an easement on his 80 acre farm

2007 – George donated Waldeck Island to CALC turning it into a preserve open to the publicrock-Waldeck

George Rock, CALC Co-Founder (Deceased 2014)

“I had the unique privilege of growing up on a 111 acre farm including the west shore of Stone Ledge Lake and a 9 acre Island, in Clam Lake Township of Wexford County. It was an “idyllic” experience where a neighbor boy (Bud Lemon) and I spent our days roaming the land with “Huckleberry Flynn” experiences, fishing, rafting, hunting, etc. in general avoiding our parents to stay away from “work” projects.”

“The farm was established by my Grandfather (Frederick Rock) homesteading 80 acres in section 28 in 1870, with the 40 acres in section 33 through his father, Heinrich Rock, who purchased the property from a Railroad Land Grant. Frederick later sold 30 acres of his homestead to a brother-in law and acquired the 11 acres on the lake in 1891. After discovering the island property had not been platted in the original government survey he acquired the property from the railroad in 1898 who originally owned the property through a land grant. Generations passed in the Rock family, but the property continued to be held in extended family ownership.”

“Fast forward now to 1950 when my father, George Rock, died leaving only the 40 acres he inherited to his widow. Facing the prospect of another property sale out of the family, I went to my brother, Frederick, and convinced him that we should buy the farm from our Aunt Ella which we did with our Mother staying on the farm during the summers. The land was leased to neighbor dairy farmers where farming continues with feed crops to this day. Over time life around the rural areas in northern Michigan changed dramatically. The new highways and demand for recreational property (especially water based) changed life dramatically. Farm owners were overwhelmed with the demands from developers with sub-divisions popping up every where. Stone Ledge Lake, formerly thought to be a local enclave, was soon overwhelmed with newcomers! Where at one time visitors were allowed to open the pasture gates on the lake fields, owners had to seal the gates and install “No Trespassing” signs.”

“After retiring to the family farm in 1990, Vickie and I, pursued information on Conservation Easements that we had acquired in past years from the Little Traverse Land Conservancy. Tom Rensberry of Wexford Co. was also interested in donating a Conservation Easement on his property. So in 1995, with the help of John Rohe, of the LTLC, we drew up the charter for the Cadillac Area Land Conservancy, so that our friends & neighbors could preserve their farms and woodlands for future generations!”

George Rock

Currently, CALC continues to add to the amount of land preserved under conservation easement and preserves open to the public, thanks to the efforts of the vision and determination of George Rock and Tom Rensberry, founders of CALC.