July 14, 2024


Define Beauty Yourself

Remembering George McVey, a dentist devoted to peace

Remembering George McVey, a dentist devoted to peace

A dentist? A peace activist?

The Rochester media seemed a little surprised in the late 1960s that anyone could be both, but, then again, there was Dr. George McVey of Brighton.

“Rochester Area Has Its Own Dr. Spock,” headlined the Democrat and Chronicle on Aug. 12, 1968, comparing McVey to Dr. Benjamin Spock, the nationally known pediatrician and opponent of U.S. involvement in the war.

But McVey, who died on June 14, 2022, in Maine at age 94, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday, and who will be memorialized at Nov. 26 at 10:30 a.m. at Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester, wasn’t just a dentist. And he wasn’t just an activist.

Remembering George McVey, a dentist devoted to peace

He was a military veteran, a husband, a volunteer on behalf of the disenfranchised, the father of six daughters and a masters level swimmer and a swimming official.

“As daughters, we experienced lots of different cycles of my dad’s life,” says McVey’s oldest daughter Pam Babij of Baltimore, who recalls everything from their house filling up with activists to bicycle trips to Don & Bob’s on Monroe Avenue for chocolate almond or butter brickle cream. (Ordering butter brickle would tie up his tongue a little, a remnant of a childhood stutter that he had mostly overcome.)

Mcvey As Spock 1968

A native of Queens, McVey joined the U.S. Navy out of high school at the end of World War and attended Holy Cross College on the GI Bill, graduating in 1950. (Also in his class was basketball great Bob Cousy). McVey eventually settled in the Rochester area with his first wife, Patricia, and their family.

They had three very young daughters when Patricia died of cancer in 1963. McVey, who had been in public relations, was in the middle of a career shift then, attending dental school at the University of Buffalo.