Taps sounded for George Ralston Hart, M.D., U.S. Navy Medical Corps (ret.) on Feb. 22, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty (Fleigh) Hart; his sister Sally (Hart) Lindemann of Portland, Ore., and her family; and his four children: Peggy, Jon, Hugh and Tricia and their families, which include 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was born to Jean Ralston Hart and Hugh M. Hart, M.D., in Pittsburgh June 6, 1925. He claimed New Wilmington as his home throughout his lifetime of travel. He attended the New Wilmington public schools, graduating in 1943, then attended Westminster College briefly before enlisting in the U.S. Maritime Service as a purser/pharmacist's mate. He served in this capacity for 3 ½ years during World War II. On conclusion of his service, he returned to Westminster College, where he became the second of a three-generation Alpha Sigma Phi legacy. He then transferred to Ohio Wesleyan University, where he met his future wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Fleigh.
After graduation in 1948 from Ohio Wesleyan with a BS in chemistry, he attended the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, receiving his doctorate of medicine in 1952. He and Betty married during medical school, in 1949. Following graduation, he served his internship and one year of general practice residency at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.
In 1954, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps. He served for two years as a destroyer squadron medical officer, and then began a residency in otolaryngology at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, the Navy’s deafness center. From there he was posted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Newport, R.I. After that, the family moved to Memphis, where Hart did a year of postgraduate study at the Shea Otologic Clinic. From Memphis, he received orders to return to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, eventually serving as the head of the residency program. In 1969 he was sent to Vietnam as commanding officer of the 1st Hospital Company, 1st Marine Division in Da Nang. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his services. Returning in 1970, his final naval posting was to serve as executive officer of the Annapolis Naval Hospital, Annapolis, Md., for four years.
Following retirement from the Navy in 1974, the Harts returned to New Wilmington, where Dr. Hart opened an ENT practice in New Castle, Pa., and lovingly owned a S. Market St home for 30 years. After retirement in 1990, Dr. Hart and his wife served as volunteers at St. Judes Hospital, Vieux Fort, St Lucia and at the Indian Medical Hospital at Sedona, Ariz. In addition to this volunteer work, Dr. Hart also served as staff president of the Jamison Hospital for two years, secretary treasurer of the County Medical Society for 10 years, and school committee representative in New Wilmington.
Dr. Hart and his wife were members of the New Wilmington Presbyterian Church, where he also served as a deacon and sang in the choir. Dr. Hart's passionate commitment to service led him to membership in the New Wilmington Rotary Club. He became president in 1981, then was elected to be district governor from 1996-1997.
Visitation will be at the Smith Funeral Home in New Wilmington, Pa., from 7-9 p.m. March 21, with a memorial service at 10 a.m. on March 22 at the New Wilmington Presbyterian Church. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the New Wilmington Rotary Club in lieu of flowers.
Submitted by: Hugh Hart