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Sewickley physician had a gentle touch with patients, children

| Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Dr. George Riegel, who served his country as an Army Air Force physician during World War II and Korea and was considered a respected general practitioner in the Sewickley area, never abandoned the small-town values he espoused.

"Dad cared deeply about his patients and wanted to stay informed about what they were doing and what was going on in the community," said his son, Stephen Riegel.

Dr. George E. Riegel III of Sewickley, former medical director of the Dravo Corp., died on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, in Arden Courts Manor in Jefferson Hills. He was 92.

"Dad served as a school doctor for the Quaker Valley School District, Sewickley Academy and numerous parochial schools, and served on the Sewickley and Edgeworth boards of health, the Kiwanis and Sewickley Board of Trade," his son said.

"My father was a man who just wanted to help those who needed a helping hand. And this was one of the reasons he chose to become a doctor.

"Dad loved caring for children," his son added. "He had a gentle way about him and a gentle touch that both his patients and, especially, the children, appreciated.

"I can still remember how when the phone rang, whether it was in the middle of the night, Dad left the house to answer the call," Riegel said.

He said his father distinguished himself in the service.

"As an Air Force doctor, Dad also had the reputation of being a 'cool head,' both at Randolph Field in Texas or Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, who, when a plane crashed, was able to take control and direct the rescue.

"And this was true when there was an emergency at Sewickley Valley Hospital," Riegel said.

Born and raised in Williamsport, Lycoming County, George Riegel was an only child in the family of railroader George Riegel Jr. and his wife, Helen Riegel.

After graduation from Williamsport High School in 1937, he attended Lycoming College in Williamsport, served his country during World War II and received his undergraduate degree from Susquehanna College. While attending Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, he married Elizabeth, a nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

In 1954, following his service in Korea, he acquired a medical practice in Sewickley and went on to serve on the staff of Sewickley Valley Hospital as an occupational physician.

In addition to his son, Stephen, Dr. Riegel is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth A. Riegel of Delaware and Susan Price of California; and a grandson, Nathan.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth, in January.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Sewickley, where he and his wife taught Sunday school.

Friends will be received after the service. Arrangements are being handled by Copeland's.

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