Dr. John G. Sheedy spent his life making life better for others.
Sheedy, 78, of Hollidaysburg died Wednesday at his home of complications from Parkinson's disease and cancer.
Sheedy was best known as a family physician in Altoona and attending physician at Altoona Hospital for nearly 40 years, retiring from Blair Medical Associates in 2002.
Dr. Ralph Macek said Sheedy asked him to go into practice at his Union Avenue office in 1969 and they worked there for 22 years before moving to Blair Medical Associates.
"We had separate practices but we covered for each other," Macek said.
Sheedy was a low key, very intelligent man, Macek said.
"I don't think I ever saw him get angry or really upset about anything. He would quietly volunteer for things and never let people know about it," Macek said. "He never ever turned down an opportunity to do something for somebody."
Sheedy also was committed to the community.
In 1968, Sheedy co-founded the Home Nursing Agency, served as its first medical director and was a long time board member and chairman of the board for multiple terms.
"He guided us through all of the clinical issues; he was always available to our clinical staff," Senior Vice President Becky Willnecker said. "He was always there to help."
Willnecker called Sheedy a remarkable man.
"He was one of the most brilliant people I ever knew; he had an answer for everything. He came from the old school of the medical profession: He put the patients first," Willnecker said. "He was a physician that didn't need the book."
Beginning in 1976, he became a long-term member of the board of directors at Mount Aloysius College, twice serving as chairman of the board.
"His contributions were substantive, constant and very meaningful to the growth and current stature of the College, and he remains the only person ever accorded Emeritus Trustee status," college President Tom Foley said. "I know that he leaves many friends at Mount Aloysius who will miss his leadership, his example of humility and his warm and personal manner."
He served on the board of Garvey Manor Nursing Home since 1986 and for an extensive portion of his career, he also served as the medical director for both Garvey Manor and Blair Christian Home.
Sister Joachim Anne Ferenchak, Garvey Manor administrator, called Sheedy a "gentleman physician."
"He had a gentle way in everything he did. He had a deep spirituality behind his professionalism," Ferenchak said. "He always looked to help people. He cared for many residents. He always took time for people and was always looking to see how he could help people to make their lives better.
"He always looked at ways to stay at the forefront of nursing care. When we started talking about a replacement facility, he wanted us to have a facility that would meet the needs of the elderly, both present and future, with innovative personal touches to improve people's lives."
Henry Codd, a friend and neighbor for more than 30 years, said Sheedy was a very kind man.
"Never in 33 years did I hear him speak an ill word about anybody," Codd said. "He lived a life of quiet intensity. He was an avid gardener and loved his roses. He loved to cook and developed a degree of expertise in that. He was a connoisseur of wines; he had an extensive collection of various types of wines."
A funeral Mass was held Saturday at St. Mary Catholic Church, Hollidaysburg.