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George Peter, age 91 of Wayne, formerly of Paramus passed peacefully on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, he came to the United States in 1959, settling in Manhattan with his beloved wife Helen.
He was on the Greek Olympic swim team in 1938, where he won gold medals for both free-style and backstroke. He continued to enjoy the sport throughout his life, and shared his enthusiasm with those around him. He attended the University of Athens, studying for a law degree when he was drafted into the Greek Army, serving proudly for three years in the Infantry during the Greek Civil War under perilous conditions in mountains of northern Greece. Upon returning to civilian life, he was employed as a vice-president at the Ionian Bank of Athens. While working there, he met his wife Helen and they were married. He and his wife then moved to New York where he worked for Greek Line, formally known as the The General Steam Navigation Company of Greece, which was a passenger ship line that operated transatlantic voyages. He worked in the New York offices of Greek Line, handling public relations throughout the United States and Canada. He created a Greek Language radio program in New York, called "Greek-Line-Time", in which he discussed and promoted travel to Greece.
The program was highly regarded for his eloquent voice and use of Greek language. He produced, wrote, edited and performed the program himself, and often co-wrote segments with his wife Helen. As the jet age replaced passenger ships as a means of transportation, Greek Line was no longer in operation. George went back into the financial business, working at the Irving Trust Company, at One Wall Street, until his retirement in 1987. He was a founding member of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey.
He spent most of his married life, and raised his two children happily in Paramus, New Jersey. He greatly loved his wife and family , and his most cherished moments were the times spent with them.
Surviving is his adoring wife of 59 years, Helen (nee Papharizanou), his devoted children Dennis Peter Sklavakis and his fiance Brenda Blum, and Erriette and Constantine Lenas. George also leaves his adoring granddaughters, Alexandra Helen and her fiance Sean Parker, and Victoria Elizabeth and his great-granddaughter, Winter Victoria. Also surviving are his sisters, Nitsa Kempf, and Mary Rigas and her husband Jim, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral Services will be held on Friday at 10:30 AM at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 467 Grandview Avenue, Wyckoff, New Jersey. Visiting will be on Thursday, from 2-4 and from 7-9 PM at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home (www.vpfh.com), 257 Godwin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ.
Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
Published in The Record/Herald News on Apr. 10, 2013