Dr. George Gremple Hart, a lifelong resident of Lake Placid, died quietly at home on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in his 98th year.
Dr. Hart was the son of Edward and Sarah Gremple Hart. Edward Hart was an orphan in London, England, and arrived in the New World on the S.S. Numidian from Liverpool at Montreal in 1895 at the age of 14. Sarah Gremple came to Saranac Lake from New York City to cure for tuberculosis. Edward and Sarah married, and Dr. Hart was born July 22, 1916, in Lake Placid. He graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1934. He attended McGill University in Montreal and he received the degrees of Bachelor of Science, Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery. McGill is one of the few universities that awards the two degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery to the graduates of its medical school. At McGill, he was a member of the Osler Society and the Nu Sigma Nu fraternity. He interned at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and after World War II, he took training in obstetrics in Providence, Rhode Island.
In 1942, Dr. Hart joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a flight surgeon and was attached to the 46th Fighter Squadron for over three years, all service being in the Pacific area of combat. His last post was the bivouac area on Iwo Jima where many casualties ensued, and Dr. Hart was the only medical officer on duty following a banzai attack. For his actions, he was awarded the Silver Star for uncommon valor.
After World War II, Dr. Hart returned to Lake Placid, took more medical training and undertook the general practice of medicine. During his years of practice, he was a staff member at Placid Memorial Hospital, where he served several terms as president of the medical staff, and Saranac Lake General Hospital. He served as president of the New York State Academy of Family Practice in 1970-71. He was a member of the American Medical Association and the New York State Medical Society. During his years of practice, he delivered generations of babies born in Lake Placid, was the doctor on call for many of the hotels, made house calls as a major part of his practice, had office hours and was available to the community for their medical needs 24 hours a day. He covered school, community and international sporting events. He was the doctor for North Country School. In 1975, he was appointed medical director of Uihlein Mercy Center and served until 1987, when he retired from the practice of medicine.
Dr. Hart was an active member of the community. He was medical director of the Lake Placid Club and chairman of medical services for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. He served on the Lake Placid Board of Education from 1955 to 1970 and was president of the board for nine years. He was a member of the Lake Placid Hall of Fame, the Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid and the Lake Placid Sports Council.
Dr. Hart was a lifelong member of St. Eustace Episcopal Church. He served on the Vestry and was senior warden. He sat on the board of St. Francis Academy (Camelot) for many years. He was a member of the Lake Placid Lodge of Freemasons, No. 834, and of the Scottish Rite, the Shriners. He was a member of the Lake Placid Institute and the Lake Placid Historical Society.
Dr. Hart was an accomplished photographer, gardener and musician, playing the French horn and the violin. He compiled a genealogy of the history of Aberdeen Angus breed, and at one time he had 60 head of Angus cattle on his farm, Placidmere, in Averyville. He was widely read, with a special interest in history and music. He often said his favorite things in life were medicine, music, cows and bridge.
Dr. Hart is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ruth Paine Hart, and four daughters: Marilyn MacIvor (Rod, and the late Drew Shouldice) of Ottawa, Nancy Beattie (John Christopher) of Lake Placid, Ruth Mary Ortloff (Chris) of Plattsburgh and Elizabeth Barrett of Dallas. His son, George Edward Hart, died shortly after birth. His grandchildren are Dr. Elizabeth Shouldice (Jordan Clark) of Ottawa, Hart Shouldice (Sarah Fitzpatrick) of Ottawa, Sarah Galvin (Marc) of Lake Placid, Jonathan Ortloff of Boston, Chris Ortloff of Buffalo, Scott and George Pyzik, and Sarah and Hannah Barrett, all of Dallas. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren: Norah Galvin, Cody Pyzik, Samuel Clark and twins Drew and Muir Shouldice.
Calling hours will be held Friday, May 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the M.B. Clark Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid. The Masonic Lodge No. 834 will offer the Masonic prayer service at the funeral home at 6:30 p.m., followed by an American Legion prayer service offered by Post 326, Lake Placid, at 6:45 p.m. at the funeral home.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, May 17 at 2 p.m. at St. Eustace Episcopal Church, followed by burial at North Elba Cemetery. The Rev. David Ousley will officiate. A reception will follow at the Hart residence on Interlaken Avenue.
Donations in Dr. Hart's memory may be made to St. Eustace Episcopal Church or the Tri-Lakes Humane Society or the Dr. George Hart Scholarship Fund, NYSAFP (New York State Academy of Family Practice), 260 Osborne Road, Albany, NY 12211.
Relatives and friends are invited to "light a candle" and share a story for the Hart family to cherish or leave online condolences at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com.