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TZAVARAS, George GEORGE TZAVARAS George Tzavaras, (1912 - 2012) went home to be with His Lord and Savior and his beloved late wife Irene, on April 8, 2012. He passed away peacefully of natural causes at 100 years of age. He is survived by his two sons Ted Tzavaras and Nick Tzavaras, daughter-in-law Marsha, grandson George Alexander Tzavaras and his wife Mary Nichole, granddaughter Christina Tzavaras Edwards and her husband Dylan Edwards, granddaughter Irene Nicole Tzavaras Narvaez and her husband Francisco Narvaez, and grandson George Nicolas Tzavaras. He is also survived by his great grandchildren George Theodore, Alexander Leonidas and Angelina Sophia, Cynthia Tzavaras, mother of George and Christina, his sister-in-law Lena Tzavaras, nephew Peter Tzavaras and his wife Sharon, his niece Paula Tzavaras Rind and her husband Joel Rind and their daughter Zoe Rind Ryan and her husband Dennis Ryan. George was born in a small village of Homatero near Kalamata, Greece in February, 1912 and from a very early age had the dream of finding a better life in the Americas. With no money and only the clothes on his back, he left Greece at the age of 17, sailing on a freighter to Havana, Cuba, where he joined his older brother Theodoros. With few skills, but full of determination, he worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, eventually moving with his brother to the Republic of Panama where he found a job as a pushcart vendor, selling fruit to the locals. He was a frugal young man and saved every spare penny until he was able to buy a tiny restaurant in partnership with his brother. The time finally came when George was ready to settle down and start a family, so he traveled back to Greece to find a wife. He met and married his beloved Irene, bringing her with him to Panama. They were devoted to each other for 44 years, until she passed on March 26, 1991. George and his wife continued to thrive in Panama where he was instrumental in organizing the Greek community and served as president of the "Kinotita" or Greek Community of Panama which built the first Greek Orthodox Church there. In 1956 he was awarded the restaurant concession at Cocoli, a civilian U.S. Navy residential community, serving the U.S. Naval base in Panama. In 1960 and 1961 he developed two mid-rise apartment buildings in Panama - one of the first Greek immigrants to do so. Ever mindful of the political instability that filled Panama in the 1960's, he made the difficult decision to sell everything in Panama, and to move his wife, and now two sons, to the United States. In 1963, George and his family emigrated, settling in Chattanooga, TN. Still the active entrepreneur, George was named Vice-Consul of the Republic of Panama to Atlanta, and in 1964 relocated his family to Atlanta. For the next 25 years, he continued to be involved in commercial and residential real estate transactions in both Georgia and Alabama. He was a member of the Cathedral of the Annunciation, Greek Orthodox Church in Atlanta. Even up till the end of his life here on this earth, he always worked to keep our culture alive for the next generations by maintaining a detailed family history, and continuing our Greek traditions in the home and at the family table. George epitomized the American dream, rising from the little boy that herded sheep along the rocky hills of Greece to a successful American businessman. He will be remembered by all who knew him as an honest, hard working and loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He will be missed every day but he will be in our hearts forever. Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 12th at 11 o'clock at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. Interment Arlington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 2500 Clairmont Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30329. The family will receive friends Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 with a prayer service at 5:45 at H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30319.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Apr. 11, 2012
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