Pie guy keeps mom’s legacy alive

 

 

George Oudhuis holds a card that has a photo of his mom, Eleanor, on the front.

Story and photos by WNLP’s Bob Wellinski 

He’s known as the “Pie Guy.” Nobody knows who his next “victim” may be, many times not even Pie Guy himself. On Friday, Oct. 23, George Oudhuis delivered pie number 661 to some unsuspecting person.

“So many lives have been touched by a simple pie. It’s a simple thing to do. It’s a feel good thing that resonates beyond the recipient,” said George. “The only thing I feel bad about is that I only give out one pie a week and there are so many deserving of a pie.”

George Oudhuis poses near the grave of his parents, Jan and Eleanor, in the St. Joseph Cemetery.

George’s story begins back on Feb. 23, 2008. His mother, Eleanor, a life-long pie maker, told him she was done making pies due to age and health issues. She also placed George in charge of picking up a pie (specifically blueberry, Eleanor’s favorite) for company who was to visit. He contacted a quaint, well-known diner located in Rolling Prairie, in the far northeastern part of LaPorte County. “Only Jenny Rae’s could make a pie like mom. She makes a fantastic pie the old Polish way, with lard in it,” he said.

For the next 23 weeks, George continued to pick up a pie and take it to his mom until she passed away Sept. 3, 2008.

Jennifer Corbett, owner of Jenny Rae’s Restraunt, asked George what he was going to do with the pie. George recalled, “Jenny’s crying. I’m crying.” He then told her, “I’m going to start passing them out to people who have touched my life. I don’t want to stop this. Somebody will enjoy this.”

He said he started with the people who came to Eleanor’s viewing, then relatives and friends.
“There are teachers and coaches out there I wish I could get a pie to. People who impact my life in some way. Somehow you want to thank them for making you the person you are. They helped mold you,” said Ouduis, a product of St. Joseph School in LaPorte.

George stated various things dictate who receives a pie. “Some people get a pie because of good circumstances or they somehow impacted my life. Some get it because they’re down or feeling bad.”

Corbett said she tries to put her spin on each pie, “making them with passion and creativity, incorporating his mom and my grandma in it.”

George attaches a card with every pie. The front of the card has a photo of a smiling Eleanor flashing a peace sign. Inside the card is inscribed with the following:

“My mom baked pies with love and shared them with a smile…One day she told me she was finished making pies. So, each Friday I began to bring then to her instead. I miss those times with my mom. Now every Friday I continue to share her pies, and a bit of her love, with someone special… and this week my Mom’s pie is for you. I hope you enjoy the pie and think of my mom with a smile!”

Corbett, a Catholic convert, said it’s George’s act he does with great love that has touched the lives of many people over the last 20 years.

“George is a very lovable, likable guy. Anyone who sees him coming with a pie will be more than grateful to him for doing this all these years. The world needs more acts like this,” said Corbett. “I even get a little peace and happiness from it.”

She said every pie he gives away he has a thought or reason behind it. “It’s to make that person’s life better, to put a smile to their face or uplift them in some way.”

People from all over the world have been recipients of a pie from the Pie Guy. He has sent pies to Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, all over Indiana. Even people from Europe has received a pie.
George recalled at time he went to pick up a pie and Corbett would take his money. He said somebody came in and paid for next ten pies. “It was unbelievable,” said George. Many times, George doesn’t know who the next pie recipient is going to be. Sometimes it’s a matter of running into someone at the grocery store, or a name will pop up out of the blue. He even feels his mom helps direct him to the next person.

“I imagine the Holy Spirit is hanging around my mom and my mom guides me every once in a while.”
George continues to have Sunday visits with his parents. He stops by St. Joseph Cemetery every Sunday and prays over their graves. George, and Corbett, stressed the importance of remembering those who came before us. Family traditions, much like the traditions of the Church, are especially important in shaping us and making us who we are.

“It’s all about remembering people before you. We start talking about my mom, then they start talking about their mom or their family,” said George. “A lot of people don’t know who their families are or their family history. It’s a sad state. People shouldn’t be forgotten just because they’re not here.”

Corbett feels honored that George and Eleanor feel the quality of her pies equals Eleanor’s. She’s aware of that pie connection George has with his mother. Corbett stated her grandmother, Grandma Pete Murphy “was a huge part of my learning for baking. It kinda hits home. He has that connection with his mom. He said nobody makes pies like she did and I was the only person she wanted to make pies. Makes it special.”

Both George and Corbett feel their mother and grandmother continue to live on through their pie partnership, one that Corbett continues.

“I hope we get to do this for a long time.”

5 Responses to “Pie guy keeps mom’s legacy alive”

  1. Bob Goethals

    Nov 02. 2020

    What a wonderful story! Reminds me of my mother who was also a wonderful baker and a cook at St Joe School. Its nice to read articles like this about people doing things for others. A refreshing change from the usual news of the day. Thanks George and Jenny for being a light in other peoples day!

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  2. Cathy Farrington

    Nov 02. 2020

    What a beautiful way to start a day by reading this story. Moms are very special people we never forget. Bless you for all your good deeds

    Reply to this comment
  3. John McVay

    Nov 03. 2020

    I work with the “pie guy” and he is exactly as advertised . Just don’t mess with his Packers or mail box, you’ll never hear the end of it!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Vickie Partain

    Nov 03. 2020

    How wonderful! George is a very giving man. Thank you George and Go Pack Go!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Debbie Dyer

    Dec 05. 2020

    What a beautiful touching story. George you are a very special, caring person. You touch so many lives in a special way. GOD BLESS YOU!

    Reply to this comment

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