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Pie Guy keeps mother’s legacy alive with sweet deliveries

103020George OudhuisPieGuy

George Oudhuis (aka, The Pie Guy), of LaPorte, holds a card that has a photo of his mom, Eleanor, on the front. George attaches a card with each pie that he hands out weekly to a person who has touched his life. George credtis Jennifer Corbett, of Jennie Rae's Restraunt in Rolling Prairie, for making his pies to the quality of his mom approval. (Bob Wellinski photo) 



NWIC correspondent


        ROLLING PRAIRIE - He’s known as the “Pie Guy.”

        Nobody knows who his next “target” may be, many times not even Pie Guy himself. On Oct. 23, George Oudhuis delivered pie No. 661 to another 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 Oudhuis. “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.”

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

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

        Jennifer Corbett, owner of Jenny Rae’s Restaurant, asked Oudhuis what he was going to do with the pie he picked up after his mother’s death. He recalled, “Jenny’s crying. I’m crying.” Then he 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.”

        Oudhuis 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 help mold you,” said Ouduis, a product of St. Joseph School in LaPorte.

        Oudhuis has criteria that dictates who receives a pie. “Some people get a pie because of good circumstances or because 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.” 

        Oudhuis 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 them 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 Oudhuis’s small act done with great love that has touched the lives of so 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 on 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 and all over Indiana. Even people from Europe have received a pie.

Oudhuis recalled a time he went to pick up a pie and Corbett wouldn’t take his money. She said somebody came in and paid for the next 10 pies. “It was unbelievable,” he said.

        Many times, Oudhuis doesn’t know who the next pie recipient is going to be until the last minute. 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,” he said.

        Oudhuis continues to have Sunday visits with his parents when he stops by St. Joseph Cemetery every week and prays over their graves.

        Oudhuis and Corbett stressed the importance of remembering a family’s ancestors. They added that family traditions, much like the traditions of the Church, are especially important in shaping and forming each individual.

        “It’s all about remembering people before you. We start by talking about my mom, then they start talking about their mom or their family,” said Oudhuis of the pie recipients. “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 Oudhius believes that the quality of her pies is worthy of his mother. She’s aware of the pie connection Oudhuis has with his mother, comparing it to her connection to her grandmother. Grandma “Pete” Murphy “was a huge part of my learning to bake. It kind of 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 (after she stopped). (That) makes it special.”

Both Oudhuis and Corbett feel their mother and grandmother continue to live on through their pie partnership. “I hope we get to do this for a long time,” she said.

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