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Anthony J. St. George, 84, built nursing home in Eden

Jan. 9, 1933 – July 29, 2017

When Anthony J. St. George graduated from Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1960, he was one of only two men in his class.

“He wanted a different, male-oriented career,” his daughter Carolyn says. “He thought he was going to hate nursing, but he loved nursing. He said it was the most rewarding part of his career.”

Mr. St. George, a registered nurse, went on to build a nursing home in Eden and operated it for more than 20 years. He died Saturday in his home in Eden after a short illness. He was 84.

The Buffalo native enlisted in the Army in 1952 after graduating from Grover Cleveland High School and expected to be sent to fight in the Korean War. Instead he was stationed in Germany, in West Berlin, where he became fluent in German and fond of German culture.

Attaining the rank of sergeant, he served in the honor guard at Spandau Prison, but had no interaction with the high-ranking Nazi war criminals who were held there.

While in Germany, he also exchanged letters with Maureen Kelly, a favored employee of his mother, who was a registered nurse and operated a small nursing home in Buffalo. When he was offered a chance to go to flight school and become a helicopter pilot, Maureen convinced him to come home instead. They were married in 1956.

His mother encouraged him to go to nursing school. After he began working in epidemiology for the state Department of Health, treating patients with sexually transmitted diseases, she further encouraged him to study at Cornell University and become a licensed nursing home administrator.

By then, his mother had moved to Eden, where she had grown up, and established a nursing home in a large Victorian house on North Main Street. When she turned over operations in 1966 to Mr. St. George and his wife, who had become a licensed practical nurse, they moved their family into the big white house and built a modern 40-bed facility nearby on George Street.

“It really served the community,” his daughter says. “The staff was local. The patients were local. It provided a lot of jobs and it provided a lot of care.”

Now Absolut of Eden, they sold it in 1988.

“It was a tough decision, expand or retire,” his daughter recalls. “For my father, it was a 50-50 thing. The first of his grandchildren was being born and he chose to support his children and his grandchildren. He gave everyone his time. He knew what in life was really important and that was people.”

Active in the community, Mr. St. George was a volunteer firefighter, a member of Newell-Faulkner Post 880, American Legion, in Eden; and a longtime member of the Eden Chamber of Commerce. He volunteered regularly to work at the Eden Corn Festival.

He and his wife maintained a winter home in St. Petersburg, Fla. She died in 2012.

A lover of nature and the outdoors, he enjoyed fishing, cooking and singing, and was an accomplished poker player. Two weeks before his death, his daughter notes, he won $600 at poker in the Seneca Allegany Casino.

In addition to his daughter, a retired nursing home administrator, survivors include two sons, John, a retired systems analyst, and James, a registered nurse; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

 

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