George F. Akel, Jr.
Binghamton - George Akel, Jr. passed away peacefully on May 22, 2019 at home in the comfort of his college sweetheart and wife of 52 years, Sara (Sally). Born on January 29, 1935 to George and Georgette Akel in Binghamton, NY, he died at the age of 84 after a valiant, 2-year fight with cancer.
From a very young age, George was devoted to his family business, Binghamton Giant Markets, which was established in 1933 by his father George and Uncle Metrie. An academic natural, George graduated salutatorian from both Binghamton Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. After completing his studies, George returned home to work with his brothers, Ferris and Ronnie. The "Three Musketeers," as their father lovingly called them, worked together to grow their family's grocery business and diversify into real estate.
George had been an active member of the community throughout his adult life, always striving to improve the well-being of his beloved hometown. He served on the boards of many outstanding organizations, including SUNY-Broome Community College, McFarland Johnson, NYSERDA, Regional Advisory Board of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, Regional Advisory Board of M&T Bank, Willow Run Foods, Tri-Cities Opera, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Foundation, ACHIEVE Foundation and the Broome County IDA. He also wholeheartedly supported many local charities such as CHOW (BCCC) and the Broome County Humane Society.
While his strong work ethic and diplomatic style will be remembered by the business community, George's family and friends will think back on him as a kind, modest and principled man. George was a consummate gentleman, a loyal friend and a grandfather like no other. He reveled in the joy of his grandchildren's lives and his legacy will live on through them.
Outside of his work, George made the most of life. He skied in Lech with friends and traveled to France and Beirut to see family. He loved opera and was fortunate to have seen his favorite masterpieces in different venues. Despite his adventures "abroad," his heart was always in his hometown, whether enjoying the company of his many friends, golfing, playing bridge, or tending to his cat, Bissey.
Over the past couple of months, George received outstanding care from several doctors, nurses and care providers, several of whom were his friends and many who became his friends. He had a wonderful life and we thank all who helped and supported him during this time. Especially dear to him were his close friends from whom he found love, support and laughter, including his many friends at Trinity Church.
George was predeceased by his grandmother Delia, his parents George and Georgette, his brother Ferris, Uncle Metrie, Aunt Renee, Aunt Yvette and cousin Lillian.
George is survived by his wife Sara, his three children Andrea (Ib), George (Laura), and Jeffrey (Erin), his six grandchildren Sadie, Owen, Callie, Zane, Zach, and Alexander, his brother Ronald (Beth), his sister-in-law Louise, his Uncle Antoine (Janine), his first cousins Yvette, Madeline, and Renee, as well as, his nieces and nephews Stephanie (Jeff), Nicole (Paul), Ferris, Martine (John), Philip (Bridget), Donald and Kara (John) and many, many other cousins and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am Tuesday, May 28th at Trinity Memorial Church, 44 Main Street, Binghamton. Rev. Glenn Mahaffey will officiate. A private family burial will be in Floral Park Cemetery, Johnson City. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial contributions to Broome Community College Foundation, Chow Program (Broome County Council of Churches), Broome County Humane Society, and Trinity Memorial Church.
Published by Press & Sun-Bulletin from May 26 to May 27, 2019.