Paul G. Wedel, Founded LGH Nursing School and Health Campus, Linden Hall board member
Paul G. Wedel, born the first of four children on Jan. 1, 1927 to the late Helen C. and Paul John Wedel in Elizabeth, N.J., died Sunday, July 6, 2014. He was a resident of Lititz.
Paul grew up in Maplewood, N.J., and later moved to Alexandria, Va. There he attended George Washington H.S. and later transferred to the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., where he graduated in 1944.
Paul joined the Navy in October of that year, where he served as a hospital corpsman at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, until he was discharged in 1946. While serving an additional four years in the naval reserve, Paul attended the University of Virginia for two years, then transferred and eventually graduated from the American University in Washington, DC. But not before he reenlisted and was called up to serve active duty during the Korean War, in the Naval Medical School, and graduating from AU in 1952.
His plans to attend medical school after graduating were dissuaded by a dean at UVA, who encouraged him to seek a profession in an “up and coming” field of hospital administration. He received his master’s degree from Northwestern University in 1955, by which time he had served as resident administrator at Polyclinic Hospital in Harrisburg, and was already working as assistant to the administrator at Williamsport Hospital, and eventually assumed the role of chief administrator. Paul worked at Williamsport Hospital for 10 years, where he also served on the Loyalsock Township School Board, and the Williamsport Little League.
Paul began work at Lancaster General Hospital on April 1, 1964. His first month there, the Department of Labor and Industry told him he had to shut down part of the hospital due to fire and safety issues. His core goals for the hospital were to provide and attract: 1) superior facilities and equipment, 2) highly trained staff, and 3) attract the best possible physicians.
Seeing a need for trained nurses, Paul succeeded in convincing the board to construct the School of Nursing in 1967 (later helping to establish nursing degrees at both Franklin & Marshall and Millersville U.). Once the nursing school was built, construction for the 10-story north wing was launched, while simultaneously demolishing outdated structures on Lime Street. During this, Paul led the establishment of the Education and Training department, and progressive employee benefits. Over this time period, the employees at the hospital tripled from 1,000 to about 3,000 full and part-time employees.
LGH started attracting the best physicians including a Family Medicine Residency, headed by Dr. Nikitas Zervanos, and cardiology unit under Dr. Richard Mann, as well as leadership in radiology, ultrasound, radiation therapy, surgery, pulmonary medicine and pathology.
Paul’s proudest achievement, however, was the approval by the Board of the LGH Health Campus in April of 1990, which at the time was perceived to be a large risk but has since proven to be a significant pillar in the county’s healthcare capabilities. Paul officially retired from LGH on Jan. 1, 1992, but stayed on for two more years as a consultant to the Hospital Foundation in the construction of the Health Campus.
Paul dedicated his life to building the highest quality healthcare and culture of excellence which continues today.
Additionally, he volunteered for many community service organizations, too numerous to mention all, however, serving in multiple executive roles including President of both the Lancaster Rotary Club and Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, boards of Millersville U., Moravian Manor, Inter-County Hospitalization, American Red Cross, Linden Hall, James Buchanan Foundation and the United Way to name a few. He actively attended St. Thomas Episcopal Church, and served the church and diocese in numerous executive roles including Vestry, Jr. and Sr. Warden, Diocese Trustee, Councils and Committees. He was a member of the Hamilton Club, Lancaster Pirates, Masonic Lodge #43 F. & A.M., American Hospital Association, Military Officers Association of America, and Sigma Chi.
Mr. Wedel is survived by his wife of 65 years: Jean Martin Wedel; and their four children: Dana Wedel of Oakland, Calif., Laurie Wedel of Lancaster, Paul John Wedel of Los Angeles, Calif., and Kurt F. Wedel of San Francisco, Calif. In addition, “Opah” is survived by eight grandchildren: Steve and Matthew Musser, Monica Henderson, Ashley Marsh, Natalya Fiore, Madelaine, Caroline, and Spencer Wedel; and 12 great-grandchildren: Hayes, Marshall and Coulton Musser; Lauren, Jack, and Elizabeth Henderson; Hunter and Walker Musser; Korrigan, Pierce and Rhett Marsh; and Hunter Fiore. Paul is also survived by his younger sister: Diana Riley, of Seabrook, N.H.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 301 St. Thomas Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 11 a.m. Family will greet friends at the church from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the service. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Paul G. and Jean M. Wedel Healthcare College Fund, LGH Foundation, 609 N. Cherry St., P.O. Box 3555, Lancaster, PA 17604 (checks payable to: Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences – please memo: Wedel Fund).
To leave an online condolence for the family, visit KASnyderFuneralHome.com. Arrangements entrusted to Kearney A. Snyder Funeral Home, Lancaster.