NORTHAMPTON - George M. Childs, 89, passed away peacefully on Nov. 22, 2012.
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Born Feb. 4, 1923, in Northampton to Herbert L. and Cecelia E. (Dragon) Childs, he was the eighth of their 13 children.
A consummate entrepreneur, his business career started as a boy hawking newspapers. At the age of 17 he purchased "Charlie's Place", a soda fountain and cigar shop in Northampton. In the late 1940s he founded H. L. Childs and Son paint contracting company. The business grew to include a toy and hobby store which he ran with his sons for almost 40 years.
At the time of his death he was the owner of Valley Dolls and Miniatures in Northampton.
Described by friends as energy personified, George amassed a legacy of service to his community and church. Over the years he served on the recreation committee, the water commission, the board of health, the Williamsburg Police Association, the Hampshire Three County Fair committee and the Sanderson Heath Scholarship Fund, which he established.
He was a member of the Williamsburg Board of Education for 30 years serving as chairman for 20 years. He also served on the building committee for the Haydenville Fire Station, the Anne T. Dunphy School and was instrumental in preserving the Helen E. James Building and relocating the water trough to the grounds of the James Building.
Although he left high school after his first year, he received various citations from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for his commitment to education and civic service.
He co-chaired the bicentennial committee and chaired the 225th anniversary committee for the town of Williamsburg. He served on the board of directors of the former First National Bank of Northampton and was a charter member of the Williamsburg Rotary Club since 1952.
A devoted communicant of Our Lady of the Hill's Parish in Haydenville for over 60 years, he served on the Holy Name Society, was chairman for 15 years of the planning committee and chaired the annual Catholic Charities Drive for over 50 years.
Mr. Childs was named Man of the Year from the Diocese of Springfield in 1991 and Outstanding Man of the Year by the Joel E. Hayden Chapter Lodge in 1995. He is a recipient of the Rotary International Paul Harris Award. In 1991 the Williamsburg Annual Report was dedicated in his honor for his many years of service to the village of Haydenville and the town of Williamsburg. In 2003 he was chosen by the St. Michael's Guild to join the Bishops Circle of Stewards, a group of parishioners recognized for having given a remarkable amount of their time and talent to their parish communities and their diocesan family.
He leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Bernice A. (Golash) Childs; his three children, Kenneth, George A. and Cynthia Hanrahan; seven grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a sister, Ann LaSalle.
He is predeceased by four sisters and seven brothers.
Calling hours will be held at the Childs' Funeral Home on Monday, Nov. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. His Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Hills, Haydenville. Contributions can be made to Our Lady of the Hills Renovation Fun, Haydenville, MA.
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Nov. 24, 2012