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Published: 4/10/2005

Nursing home manager was fire chief, civic booster

DESHLER, Ohio - Clyde R. George, a nursing home manager who helped establish a variety of local community services, from a kindergarten to a fire department, died Tuesday in the Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, Findlay. He was 84.

Mr. George died of a heart attack, family members said.

Born into a family of farmers in rural Hancock County, Mr. George graduated from Findlay High School in 1940.

Following high school, Mr. George worked odd jobs in the Findlay area until World War II broke out and he enlisted.

As a sergeant in the Army, Mr. George was stationed in Puerto Rico maintaining a motor pool and serving as a military policeman until he was discharged in 1945.

Returning to Findlay, Mr. George sold dairy equipment for several years and was married in 1947 to Justina Gilbert, a local nurse.

That marriage would soon change his career: Two years later, he and his wife were asked to co-manage the Hancock County Nursing Home in Findlay, where his wife worked.

"He knew he'd be working with people, and enjoyed that. Still, he really surprised everyone when he took the job - especially his wife," said his son, Bernie.

He was soon known by patrons for being approachable and easy to talk to.

"My dad was one of those fellows that never met a stranger. Wherever he worked, it was like a family situation, as close as you can get in a business," his son said.

Also that same year, Mr. George co-founded the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department - located right next door to the nursing home - and served as fire chief for a decade and a half.

"The sirens for the fire house were actually in his office at the county [nursing] home," his son said.

The fire department wasn't the only community organization Mr. George would get involved in: He was always active, his son said, with "little things," from helping to build the local high school's football stands to helping to organize the first kindergarten classes at the Liberty-Benton school district, adjacent to Findlay.

"Everyone knew Dad. He was very common, very down to earth. He and his wife were married to their work and the community," his son said.

In 1964, Mr. George switched to the private sector, managing the newly built Oak Grove Quality Care Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Deshler, which he bought in 1969.

He sold the home and retired in 1987 to spend time in his garden and with his grandchildren.

Mr. George was a member of the Oakdale United Methodist Church, the Deshler Chamber of Commerce, Deshler American Legion Post 316, the Henry County Fair Board, and the Patrick Henry High School Athletic Boosters.

Mrs. George died in 2000.

Surviving are his sons, Jim, Steve, Bernie, and Bob; sister, Ellen Yates, and nine grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. today in the Rodenberger Funeral Home, Deshler.

The family suggests tributes to the Deshler Emergency Medical Service, the Deshler Fire Department, or to the Patrick Henry High School Athletic Boosters.



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