George J. Vareska was born in 1919, in Mád, Hungary, in the heart of the Tokaj- Hegyalja wine growing region. He was the oldest of three children; his father was employed in the wine business, his mother was a homemaker. His formative education included grammar and secondary school in Gödöllő and Nyíregyháza. As a young student, he was an active and enthusiastic boy scout, having attended two World Jamborees and various leadership training camps held in Hungary. His life-long love of philately likewise began at an early age. As a youngster, he developed his love for Hungarian folk music and art, as well as a fondness for cooking.
He entered medical school at the University of Debrecen, and graduated cum laude in 1943. Immediately after receiving his diploma, he served as a doctor in a Hungarian infantry unit on the Russian front. As part of a military hospital unit, he, along with the unit, found himself in the city of Neuburg an der Donau, in Bavaria, Germany at the end of World War II. In Neuburg he worked in the medical laboratory under the auspices of the United Nations. Once Neuburg was no longer under American jurisdiction, he worked in medical laboratories in Rosenheim and Munich up until 1950, when he and his wife Martha, immigrated to the United States.
Dr. Vareska secured an internship in Norfolk, Virgina in 1951, and after successfully completing his internship, he entered into a five year residency program in pathology at De Paul Hospital in Norfolk. He became a member of the American Board of Pathology in 1957, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio with his family to begin work as a pathologist at Suburban General Hospital. Later, he worked at Marymount Hospital, Huron Road Hospital, and for the majority of his professional career, at Mt. Sinai Hospital. During his years of professional work, he was instrumental in training residents in pathology; he focused his professional expertise on the area of anatomic pathology, and he served as an instructor in anatomy at the medical school. Along with his partner, he co-founded Southgate Medical Laboratory, a private laboratory, in 1961. George Vareska loved his profession and was passionate about medicine. His professional interests included dermatopathology, cancer research, and teaching. His collection of slides that he prepared over his long medical career was his prized possession.
“Dr. George” had many hobbies and interests outside of his medical life. He hosted a weekly Hungarian language medical radio program. He was fascinated with the American Civil War; his breath of knowledge of the Austro-Hungarian military was developed over years of collecting stamps, and he had a special talent for growing roses. He remained an avid stamp collector, active in the Hungarian Stamp Club in Cleveland, and the Hungarian Scout Stamp Collectors. His love affair with scouting lasted throughout his adult life. He served as scout master of the local Hungarian boy scout troop, as well as a scout instructor and camp cook. Scouting was his primary form of relaxation, a chance to leave the world of medicine and the business of healthcare for a few weeks in the summer. His commitment to mentoring young Hungarian-Americans through Hungarian scouting served as an example of what heartfelt service looks like.
As a Hungarian-American medical doctor, he helped found the Hungarian Medical Association of America. It was a vision of collegiality that he shared with his Hungarian colleagues, and later the annual meetings in Sarasota, Florida were some of his favorite times in the year.
George Vareska was a generous man, not only with his precious time and talents, but also with his monetary resources. As a family man, he was a patient father to two children, a loving husband, as well as an affectionate grandfather. As a boss and business owner, he was respected and well-liked. He had the admiration of his colleagues. As a friend, he was loyal and always ready to lend a helping hand. His commitment to the Hungarian-American community was constant and never wavering. He carried and nurtured his love of his Magyar heritage with him until his death in March, 1988.