George Youth Center celebration set

BARNESVILLE – The 50th anniversary of the Albert S. George Youth Center in Barnesville Memorial Park will be celebrated Saturday with a program and refreshments between 9:30 and 11 a.m.

Special recognition will be given concerning the late Albert S. George, whose generosity made the center possible.

Reminiscences from representatives of those involved during the early days of the center are planned. These include the architect, William M. Stubbs, now of Florida; the contractor, the late Walter Tickhill; and the first park director, the late Bob Fleming. Comments also will be made by others associated with the Youth Center over the years.

Ken Keylor will serve as master of ceremonies for Saturday’s anniversary celebration, which is open to the public.

George’s support and generosity not only resulted in the construction of the Youth Center at the park, but it was a major factor in the creation of Barnesville’s lighted baseball field.

The bulk of his $250,000 estate in 1950 named three major benefactors after the death of his wife. Those three were Barnesville Hospital, Memorial Park and the youth of Barnesville. He was an avid baseball fan and served as president of the Park Lights Association which provided funding for the lights for the baseball field. He also served as treasurer for Memorial Park Pool Inc.

Quite a controversy resulted over the location of a youth center. The majority wanted it downtown close to the schools. Others who had checked the short-lived success of centers in other towns voted to put it at Memorial Park where it has served the youth and community year round for 50 years.

Barnesville Hospital received a bequest of more than $100,000 from George’s estate, and the money was used for a 22-bed addition completed in 1964. It included a new pediatrics room, an examination room, an additional surgery and recovery room with modernization of the entire operating suite, a new and bigger laboratory, an enlarged radiology department, a new labor room, and a new nurses’ lounge in the maternity suite. The latest and most modern equipment was added.

George was a man of diverse interests and occupations. He was associated for 20 years with the M-K Grocery chain, serving as vice president and assistant treasurer during its wholesale and retail ventures. In addition, he founded the Barnesville Locker and Storage Co. on South Chestnut Street. In 1941, he bought the Howell Milling business and operated it under the name, Hilltop Mills. South of Barnesville on Ohio 800, he established a farm with a herd of Guernsey cows.

Mr. and Mrs. George were members of the First Methodist Church and gave the chimes which played each evening from the church’s tower.

Some of the other bequests in Albert George’s will went to the Methodist Church in Lloydsville, town of his birth; the Masonic Lodge, Order of Eastern Star; and several former employees.

After a long illness, George died in Barnesville Hospital in September 1950, but thousands continue to enjoy the benefits of his legacy.