George Duensing, one of Southern California’s truly veteran coin-op technicians, passed away on Oct. 1, 2019. His lengthy career installing and repairing machines for a variety of companies, as well as for his own operations, began in 1954 at Seeburg’s L.A. distributor, Minthorne Music Co. Another of SoCal’s veterans, Hank Tronick, served at the time as the dealership’s General Manager.
George was lucky enough to train with the other techs there, and worked his way up to a position as shop foreman. As one fellow said, “he had a talent for fixing the stuff.” Eventually, he was called out onto the road to cover outside warranty calls that included trips to Las Vegas and to rotate in the new Seeburg VL200s jukeboxes for Gene Minthorne’s Las Vegas music route customers.
Then came the Duensing family-owned business, Newport/Balboa Music Co., and the purchase of the Straw Hat Pizza in Palm Desert, Calif. Before Disneyland opened (1955), he’d installed Seeburg’s legendary Bear Guns in various arcades. Then, coincidentally, he worked at Disneyland from 1967-70 repairing the same games he’d delivered in 1955.
George started another music and games route in the ’70 s called Music Systems Enterprises, Inc., which took him from Orange County, Calif., to Las Vegas. During this time, Sega offered him a position in Vegas to work at both Circus Circus and Luxor maintaining arcades. Then, a transfer to Irvine, Calif., offered the opportunity to open the first Sega City as lead tech. His technical skills now called for travels around the U.S., Canada and Mexico, troubleshooting problems and even installing early player card systems in games.
On the personal side, George always showed an interest in flying. He eventually bought his own Grumman plane to make those trips to Vegas and other cities a lot faster than all the lengthy driving his career originally required. His wife of 52 years, Carol, said buying that plane was the highlight of his life. (After Sega came other opportunities as an independent tech for such firms as MaxFlight and Stern Pinball, installing and troubleshooting equipment and traveling to many places in North America and even occasionally to Europe.)
On the social side of coin-op, George Duensing made many friends over his lengthy career. He and Carol were among those last members of the Century Club with Steve Epstein before shutting that once-vibrant organization down. Besides Carol, George leaves his daughters Terre Duensing and Julie Glossbrenner, grandchildren Brianne and Janelle, and two brothers, Ron and Jerry. His philosophy, said Carol, was to enjoy the moment, which she said was summed up in Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life.
Rest in peace, old friend.