Obituary: George Middlemas, 72
George Middlemas passed away peacefully in Bachelor Gulch on Thursday, June 14, two days after celebrating his 72nd birthday.
George was born and raised in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State University and earned a master’s degree in political science from Pittsburgh University and an MBA from Harvard University. He pursued a business career at Chase Bank and Kekst & Co. before landing a position in the venture capital unit at Citicorp in New York City, where he found his true calling: working with young entrepreneurs creating and building new businesses and technologies.
George was also with Inco Venture Capital and joined Apex Venture Partners in Chicago in 1991, where he spent the rest of his career. George was an active investor and on the boards of many young, successful companies, including America Online, Concord Communications, Security Dynamics, eSpire, Data Critical, Online Resources, Pure Cycle, Tut Systems, VP Net and many others. He was an inspiration to many talented and creative people and received immense personal fulfillment helping others build successful enterprises.
After sustaining a severe injury in high school gymnastics, George was not an athlete in college; however, he loved everything about the athletic program at Penn State. For many years, until the death of his beloved Joe Paterno, whom he so admired, George attended most of the home football games and many away games.
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One of his greatest joys in life was cheering on the Nittany Lions. He was an active supporter of the university’s Intercollegiate Athletic Program and a member of the Paterno Library Development Board and the Library Advisory Council. He created several special athletic scholarships and student tutoring programs, as well as providing funding for the library’s historical collections, including the Albert M. Petska Eighth Air Force Collection, named after his father-in-law.
As a young man growing up in the small town of Oakmont with a great golf course, George developed a lifelong love of golf and played many rounds there, as well as at Olympia Fields in Chicago and Red Sky Ranch in Colorado. One of the highlights in George’s career was investing in his hero Arnold Palmer’s golf management company in the mid-1990s. In addition to golf, George enjoyed skiing and had a home on the ski slopes of Bachelor Gulch, where he spent many wonderful winters and summers.
George was a history buff and particularly enjoyed reading about World War II and Winston Churchill. He also enjoyed opera and had just joined the board of the Phoenix Opera Co., having recently moved to his retirement paradise of Scottsdale, Arizona. He absolutely loved all things Pittsburgh — the Steelers, the Penguins, the Pirates.
He will be missed by his family and friends for his wit, staunch conservatism, which he enjoyed sharing with one and all, perseverance and enthusiasm for the businesses and people he believed in and his love of fine wine. His generosity with his time, his passions and his laughter was unending.
George is survived by his wife, Sherry, and brother Jack and Coleen Middlemas, of Oakmont. Memorial celebrations of his life will be held at later dates in Oakmont and Chicago.
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