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Geneseo still benefiting from gift

The bachelor son of a Swedish immigrant and Civil War veteran, George B. Dedrick became one of Geneseo's greatest benefactors.

When he died at 87 on March 2, 1960, he gave $1.2 million to form the Geneseo Foundation. The gift's current value, $5 million, equals the cumulative dollar value of grants made by the foundation since his death, said Dean Decker, president of Central Trust and Savings Bank.

Over nearly 40 years, the foundation has helped build a library, community center and hospital additions. Other beneficiaries have included more than 80 organizations such as nursing homes, the historical association, the city parks department, local students in the Close-Up Foundation program and student athletic and music programs.

Mr. Dedrick inherited his father's grocery and dry goods store and was president of Central Trust and Savings Bank from 1920 to 1959, although he didn't work inside the bank.

He was president of the first Geneseo Retail Merchants Association and helped to bring a canning factory and seed house to the city. He later served two years as president of the Chamber of Commerce and 10 years as president of the City Telephone Company. Outside banking and his store, his first love might have been the library, which he served as a trustee for 62 years.

The Geneseo Foundation will continue to have ``significant impact on Geneseo'' in years to come. ``It's virtually impossible to measure its impact,'' Mr. Decker said. ``It will allow many things we have just come to accept as being there to continue where many communities have had things disappear, services discontinue.''

In his will, Mr. Dedrick directed that money go to charitable, benevolent, civic, scientific or educational purposes which the board of managers felt ``most effectively assist, encourage and promote the well-being of mankind and primarily the inhabitants of the City of Geneseo and surrounding area in Illinois.''

Other purposes specifically mentioned in the will were medical research, care of the sick or handicapped and public recreation facilities.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.