New London - George Legnos, 88, formerly of New London and Groton Long Point, died on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012.
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Captain Legnos was the son of Greek immigrants, born to Peter and Paraskevi Legnos on Aug. 10, 1923 in Hartford. He grew up in Sheep's Head Bay in Brooklyn, N.Y. and spent summers at Sound View in Old Lyme, always in sight of and under the influence of the sea.
At the outset of World War II, he lost both of his parents, George really wanted to fly fighters though, with the counsel and help of his older brother John, he applied to and was accepted to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. Once qualified as a junior officer, he began his service in the war sailing as a merchant officer in North Atlantic convoys supplying the war effort in Europe. He entertained all of us with his stories of North Atlantic winter gales, ice and enemy attacks. On one voyage he did get his fighter plane; an entire deck load of P-51 Mustangs that his ship delivered to our fighter squadrons in Europe. After the war, George received his unlimited tonnage masters license and his first command at 25. He sailed as a captain for Farrell Shipping Lines, making 20 voyages around the continent of Africa. In Nov. 1951 he married Elizabeth Young.
George moved into management as the domestic operations manager for Farrell Lines and was stationed in Lagos, Nigeria in 1961. He often traveled to Ghana, the Congo, Sudan and Johannesburg. During his tenure in Nigeria, he developed an efficient and successful coastal feeder freight system to compliment Farrell's ocean shipping. He later oversaw the conversion of the fleet from conventional cargo ships to container ships. From there, George served as port captain in Chicago. In 1968, he was transferred to Sydney, Australia. He enjoyed good years in Sydney, making memorable family trips from Sydney to Victoria, Perth and Adelaide.
In the early 70's, George developed and managed the Port Everglades Container Terminal in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. From there, he went on to manage the fleet for New England Petroleum Company (NEPCO), then oversaw the commissioning of the General Dynamics Liquefied Natural Gas Ships Aquarius and Libra. During the process he was offered the command of the Libra and was back on the sea that he loved. During this time, he commanded the Libra where he sailed mostly from Japan to Indonesia until his retirement. In 1996, at 73, he retired after 50 years of sailing. During his retirement, he worked on reconstructing his house at Groton Long Point, as well as spending time at his house in Port Charlotte, Fla.
To all of his family, and friends he was affectionately known as "The Captain", always in command and looking over the horizon. We would like to thank the staff, particularly the aides and nurses, at Beechwood Nursing Home (of New London) for their loving and dedicated care to "The Captain" while he was there.
George is survived by his brother, John; daughter, Laurel; and his granddaughters, Angela and Heather; nephews, Peter and Jay; and grandniece Alexandra; and grandnephews, Kyle and Hunter.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Bishop Seabury Church, 256 North Road, Groton.
Please visit www.byles.com for the family's online registry.
Published in The Day on Feb. 26, 2012