BEDELL, GEORGE C., 84
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Rev. Dr. George C. Bedell, II of Gainesville died Wednesday, November 28, 2012, in the E.T. York Hospice Care Center, following a long illness.
Dr. Bedell was born May 13, 1928, in Jacksonville, Florida to legendary trial lawyer Chester Bedell and Edmonia Bedell. He attended Fishweir Elementary School, and later Robert E. Lee High School, Class of 1946, where he served in student government and was the lead singer in a swing band.
After serving 27 years in various capacities in Florida's state university system, George Bedell retired in June, 1994. For the seven years prior to retirement, he was Director of the University Press of Florida, the book publishing arm of the state university system. During his tenure the number of new titles published tripled and sales quadrupled.
Prior to his experience in academic publishing, Dr. Bedell served 16 years on the staff of the Florida Board of Regents. Appointed Director of humanities and Fine Arts in 1971, he also served as Executive Vice Chancellor 1980-81, and Vice Chancellor for Administration 1984-87.
He was Director of Personnel & Faculty Relations during the period when Florida's public sector collective bargaining law was enacted and chaired the bargaining team for the Regents during the first two contract negotiations with the faculty union. He subsequently chaired the lobbying effort for the university system.
Dr. Bedell was an ordained priest of the Episcopal Church and served parishes in the Diocese of Florida from 1953 to 1964. He was twice elected to represent the diocese at the national church's triennial convention. In 1967, he joined the faculty of the Department of Religion at the Florida State University in Tallahassee and was tenured.
He earned a B.A. in English with honors at the University of the South (1950); a M.Div. at Virginia Theological Seminary (1953); an M.A. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1966), and a Ph.D. in Religion at Duke University (1969). The University of the South made him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law in May, 1991.
He is the author of Kierkegaard and Faulkner: Modalities of Existence (Baton Rouge:LSU Press, 1972) and has published a number of articles and delivered a number of papers at national and regional professional meetings. He is co-author of Religion in America (New York: Macmillan, 1975 & 1982).
From 1985 through 1998, Bedell served as a trustee of the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, Jacksonville, and the second largest private foundation in Florida. He served as chair 1987-89 and 1993-95.
Dr. Bedell was a founding board member of Gulf Coast Community College, 1956-62, a member of the Tallahassee City Park Board, 1972-76, and a member of the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, 1990-94. He has served as a trustee of the Newberry Library, Chicago, 1995-2001 and was a member of the board of directors of Episcopal Relief and Development, New York, from 1996 to 2000.
He was appointed a Trustee of the University of the South in 2008 but resigned in the fall of 2008, citing his health as the reason for his resignation. In that year, he was asked to consider appointment as the dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary, which he also declined.
He holds membership in the Modern Language Association, the Florida Historical Society, and the National and Florida Trusts for Historic Preservation, among other organizations. He was a Rotarian 1953-2008.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Reed Bedell, of Gainesville; three sons, George C. (Cynthia) Bedell, of Tampa, Frank M. (Ashley) Bedell, of Orlando, and Nathan G. (Elise) Bedell, of Birmingham, Alabama; one brother, Donald H. Bedell, of Jacksonville; one sister, Martha Bedell Alexander, Charlotte, North Carolina; five grandchildren, Chester, John, Nate, Emily and Walton Bedell, along with his four legged friends: Danny, Diane, and Whitfield.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 11:00 A. M., in the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 100 N. E. First Street, Gainesville, with The Right Reverend John Howard, The Right Reverend Charles Keyser, The Right Reverend Frank Cerveny, Rev. Louanne Loch, and Rev. Barnham McCarty, officiating. The family will receive friends at a reception to follow in Page Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the George and Elizabeth Bedell Scholarship Fund, Sewanee: The University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383.
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Published in Gainesville Sun from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2012