George Demitrack, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away in his sleep in the early hours of December 31, 2016, at the age of 93.

A gentle and kind man, he was devoted to his family and was greatly loved in return. He was born on February 2, 1923, in Patras, Greece, to Athas and Polixeni Demitrack, the second of four children. His early years were spent mainly in Patras, within walking distance of his maternal grandparents’ house.

‘My earliest memory,’ he wrote, ‘was walking across a sidewalk to the street and climbing into a Victoria-type, horse-drawn carriage. I must have been about two years old.’ In 1934, the family emigrated from Patras to New York, sailing on the ‘Edison.’

For three years, he attended the Greek-American Institute in the Bronx where he received a bilingual education in Greek and English. Ever after, he would do his math calculations in Greek. He remembers being sent to school at first in short pants like in Greece, but he found himself in a fistfight with another boy over his attire, after which ‘we quickly found ourselves in long pants,’ he recounted. On the recommendation of one of his teachers, he sat for the entrance exam for Stuyvesant High School, from which he graduated in 1941.

He worked a series of after-school jobs, including one in his father’s candy and ice cream shop. While in high school, he opened up the store in the morning and manned the earliest shift until his father relieved him. When business was slow, he would read Buck Rogers comics.

At City College, where he studied engineering, he joined the ROTC program. One year short of graduation, he was called to active duty during World War II. He was assigned to the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and spent two years in the Special Engineer Detachment as a chemical engineer.

Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from City College in 1947 and his M.S. from Columbia in 1950, where he was nominated to Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. His proud father attended both graduation ceremonies. Shortly after, in 1954, he earned a second M.S. in applied mechanics at Stevens Institute of Technology, having intended to pursue a Ph.D. until family obligations intervened.

He married Sophie Arvanitis in Lynn, Massachusetts, on April 26, 1953, and they settled in Denville, New Jersey, on Indian Spring Trail, where they built their house, raised three children and lived for 62 years.

He worked at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey until 1986. After retirement, the couple discovered a new interest in educational travel with the Elderhostel program and participated in 24 programs across the US over the next eight years.

George and Sophie were founding members of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church in Dover in 1962 (later Randolph), and he gave many years of service to the Church as parish president, church board member, and later, treasurer until he retired in 2008. He was also active in the Denville Kiwanis organization.

He loved small children and could usually coax a smile from a grumpy baby when others failed. He was a cherished Papou to his eight grandchildren and was happiest in their company where he could spend hours assembling Legos, playing games, and reading stories.

He is survived by his wife, Sophie, his older sister, Mary, his three children, Thomas, Anne, and Mark, his eight grandchildren, Elise, Laura, Clark, Eric, Sophie, Molly, Zoe, and Maia, his three great-grandchildren, Caleb, Joshua, and Jonathan, and many nieces and nephews. May his memory be eternal.

Saturday, January 7, 2017
12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church
900 S Trooper Rd, Norristown, PA 19403

Saturday, January 7, 2017
1:30 PM
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church
900 S Trooper Rd, Norristown, PA 19403