Former governor George Leader dies - abc27 WHTM

Former governor George Leader dies

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? Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ? Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

George Leader, a former governor of Pennsylvania and the founder of the Country Meadows and Providence Place retirement communities, has died.

A spokeswoman said Leader died in his sleep early Thursday at Country Meadows of Hershey, where he resided. He was 95 years old.

Leader grew up on a York County chicken farm and went on to become a one-term Democratic state Senator before he was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1955.

His landslide victory, at the age of 36, came while Pennsylvania was a heavily-registered Republican state and surprised the rest of the nation so much that Time magazine featured Leader as its cover story the following week.

Leader served as governor until 1959 and made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1958.

In 1962, Leader and his wife founded a company that provided skilled nursing and rehabilitation that, by 1968, developed into a publicly traded corporation known as Leader Healthcare Organization.

Leader Healthcare merged with CENCO, an Illinois-based healthcare provider in 1982, and Leader left the company shortly thereafter.

Leader then founded Country Meadows Retirement Communities and launched its first assisted living community in Hershey in 1985.

He eventually turned over the company to his children and started the Providence Place Retirement Communities, where he served as chairman, president and CEO until the time of his death.

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