Mary Geo Nikolas

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Mary Geo Nikolas of Penn Yan, beloved mother of Seanna, Kerry, Michael, Molly, and John Bolger, died peacefully on November 26, 2022.

Mary Georgiana Nikolas was born in 1939 in Pittsburgh, PA, to parents Arthur Francis Nikolas and Elvira Foster (McLain) Nikolas. She grew up in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood with her parents and her brothers Arthur (Nick) and George, who predeceased her. She graduated from South Hills High School in 1957. Mary Geo moved to Penn Yan to attend Keuka College. She graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She later earned a master’s degree in library science from SUNY Geneseo.

Her marriage to Edward A. Bolger ended in divorce. She was married to Ronald S. Tomion from 1985 until his death in 2014. They resided in Dundee until moving back to Penn Yan in 2012. As a widow, Mary Geo reembraced her family surname, Nikolas.

Mary Geo enjoyed a long and fruitful career as a librarian and journalist. She worked as a librarian at Penn Yan Public Library, Dresden Elementary School, Penn Yan Elementary School, and Penn Yan Academy. (“I got my love of books and reading from her,” one Dresden graduate reminisced recently.) Making a career shift, during 1991–1998 Mary Geo was publisher and editor of the Dundee Observer. She and the Observer received multiple awards from the New York Press Association, including Writer of the Year in 1992. After selling the newspaper, Mary Geo managed to stay retired for only a few weeks before becoming director of Dundee Library until 2008. She was active in the community in American Association of University Women (AAUW), Dundee Rotary Club, and Yates County Chamber of Commerce. Friends and loved ones remember Mary Geo as an avid reader, excellent writer, crackerjack editor, talented artist, and principled practitioner of kindness.

A celebration of Mary Geo’s life is planned for Sunday, April 23, 1–4 p.m. at Milly’s Market & Cafe, 19 Main Street, Penn Yan, NY.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to honor Mary Geo’s memory may do so by making a philanthropic gift in her name to the Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund (A03934) at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Gifts can be mailed to: URMC Advancement, 300 East River Road, Box 278996, Rochester, NY 14627, or made online at: by selecting designation “Other” and noting “Parkinson’s Disease Research Fund (A03934).”

2 Condolences

  1. Barbara Allardice on January 18, 2023 at 8:46 am

    Thank you Mary Geo for all you meant to your friends, Keuka College and your community. Barbara Allardice, Keuka College 1961

    • Kerry Bolger (Mary Geo's daughter on March 25, 2023 at 10:51 am

      Barbara, thank you so very much for your kind words to Mom.

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