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KALMAR, George
Passed peacefully in Toronto at his residence on Saturday, August 25, 2012. He was predeceased by his first wife, Livia Kalmar (nee Friedman). He will be dearly missed by his wife Andrea and his children Erica Kalmar Miller and Michael Kalmar his son in-law Robert Miller, grandson Lorne Kalmar and granddaughters Leandra Miller, Rachel Kalmar and Alana Kalmar. George, aka 'GK' lived a full life to 90 years young. Born in Budapest, Hungary, March 29, 1922, he was the only child of Miklos and Elizabeth Kalmar. A survivor of the holocaust, he escaped from the Hungarian labor camp and joined the underground movement until the war ended. Heading to Linz Austria, he met his bride Livia and together they left war torn Europe arriving to Halifax and thereafter Toronto in October 1948. Establishing Kalmar Realty in 1950 his focus soon turned to selling real estate to European investors. Real estate also proved to be his gateway into the hotel business with the acquisition of the Constellation Hotel in 1964. From a roadside motor hotel of 120 rooms he engineered 5 additions over 25 years to build it to a 900-room convention hotel. The Constellation Hotel in Montreal was added to the portfolio in 1974 along with the historic landmark, the Old Mill, in 1991 and the Valhalla Inn in 1995. He was a voracious reader, current on just about any topic. He understood the importance of giving back and of making a difference. His charitable efforts were interwoven by his appetite for the understanding of the various causes and the difference his contribution would make. From education, hospitals, synagogues, to causes in Israel, Kenya and his native Hungary as well as the many local charities that would come calling, all would receive his attention. The essence of George Kalmar was about honesty and hard work. He was fiercely loyal and expected the same in return. He was proud of his past and always bullish on the future! In the presence of 'GK', you just knew he was in charge! He was a giant of a man whom was adored and respected by so, so many. On behalf of the family, we wish to extend our gratitude to Dr. Gabor Kandel, Dr. Stanley Fenton and Dr. Michael Jewett for their care, comfort, support and guidance. At Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (3 lights west of Dufferin) for service on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. Interment Community Section of Pardes Shalom Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Toronto General Hospital Kidney Fund in name of George Kalmar, 416-340- 4430.
Published in National Post on Aug. 28, 2012
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