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Published: Friday, 1/10/2003

Ex-Mercy official managed nurses

Catherine George, director of nursing services at the former Mercy Hospital during the late 1940s, died Wednesday in St. Luke's Hospital of possible congestive heart failure. She was 92.

Born in Paulding County, Mrs. George was reared in Paulding where her father, Joseph Miller, operated a Ford dealership.

She graduated from Paulding High School and moved to Toledo where she completed courses at the Mercy School of Nursing in 1931 to become a registered nurse.

During the 1930s, Mrs. George worked at the Irene Byron tuberculosis sanatorium near Fort Wayne, Ind. She became director of nursing services and met her future husband, who was then a patient there.

The couple dated after Mr. George was discharged from the hospital and his health improved. But they waited several years before marrying in 1943 in Paulding, Tom George, her son, explained.

“Before they got married, my dad, the consummate practical person, wanted her to have enough of a resume so that if something happened to him she would always have a full-time job she could go to,” he said.

She moved with her husband to Cleveland, then to Toledo, where she became director of nursing services for the 350-bed Mercy Hospital for several years.

“She was in charge of hiring and firing of the nurses and providing nursing services to the floors,” Helen Mae Dickman, a former teacher at the Mercy School of Nursing, said. “She made the [work] schedules. If nurses called in sick, she had to find replacements.

“She was very pleasant and she got things done. She handled things smoothly.”

Mrs. George left nursing after her son was born in 1949.

In later years, she became active in the Bay View Association near Petoskey, Mich. She and her husband took on a three-year project in the late 1970s to renovate the association's Women's Council Building.

“She worked with the architect, the preservation people, an interior designer,” her son said. “She had the budget responsibilities, the scheduling responsibilities.”

Mrs. George also was involved in supporting music programs and children's activities there.

In her spare time, Mrs. George enjoyed making excellent handicrafts, her son said.

“We have hooked rugs of very high quality,” he said. “I was 35 before I had a sweater that wasn't knitted by her.”

Surviving are her husband, Henry; son, Tom, and two grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in St. Joseph Church, Sylvania. The Reeb Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family requests tributes be to the Bay View Association or the St. Luke's Hospital Foundation.



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