Cornelia “George” Vercheski, 85, of Venice, Fla., passed away Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.
Born in Niles, Ohio, George was a first-generation American, born to Valeria Ordean and Filon Muntean of Romania.
George and the love of her life, Gene, moved to Venice in 1950 right after their wedding. They purchased a small convenience store, a Gulf gas station and a house right on U.S. 41 in South Venice and began their life together.
Their business expanded into G&G Metals, which entered into numerous commercial ventures.
They jointly developed the Early Wynn Bowling Alley in South Venice in the 1960s. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, they designed and fabricated specialty equipment and props for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Hanneford Circus, the Moscow State Circus, Holiday on Ice, the Ice Capades and the Ice Follies. In 1976, they refurbished rail cars for the Freedom Train in celebration of the U.S. bicentennial.
They designed, built, owned and operated The Brickyard shopping plaza, where they leased free space to what was then Manatee Junior College in the 1970s. At that same time, they ran the Travel by George travel agency and East of the Sun bookstore. George also maintained rentals in South Venice as U.S. 41 grew to four, then six lanes.
George was an avid reader, crossword puzzler and knitter. She loved the arts and was involved with Venice Theatre from its start as Venice Little Theatre at the Venice Municipal Airport to its current location.
She dabbled in sculpture, painting, pottery and stained glass. She loved to travel with friends and threw memorable parties throughout the years.
George was also a cat fancier and gave a home to numerous strays over her 63 years in Venice.
George is survived by her children, Leigh, Linn and Anne; grandchildren, Catherine and Rebecca; sons-in-law, Dan and Doc; close family friend Carol; brother, Larry, and his three children, Clinton, Phillip and Charmain; and many dear, dear friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gene.
Services: According to George’s wishes, a private remembrance was held at her home earlier this month, followed by a great party afterward to celebrate her life. Condolences and memories may be offered at: FarleyFuneralHome.com.
Contributions: Memorial donations may be made to St. Francis Animal Rescue, 478 North U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice FL 34293; or to a charitable organization of your choice.