Retired U.S. Army Colonel and pioneer McLean custom homebuilder John George Georgelas died at 89 of natural causes Sunday, January 14, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia.
His death came one day after he and his wife, Angelina, marked their 61st wedding anniversary.
A decorated World War II veteran, Georgelas' interment will be February 8 at, 2007, Arlington National Cemetery, not far from many of the custom homes built by his family company in Fairfax County, mostly in McLean, over the course of three decades.
What was to eventually become The Georgelas Group LLC – today a development company with commercial and industrial projects in Tysons Corner as well as in the Middle East, Guam, Russia and, most recently, France – began modestly in 1964.
Georgelas and his family first moved to McLean in 1958. At the time, McLean was just beginning its transformation from a small, bucolic, Northern Virginia community to home for many political and business leaders. Tysons Corner was also in its early stages of commercial development.
Stationed at the Pentagon with his Army career winding down, Georgelas and his wife began their homebuilding business on nights and weekends.
“Unlike a lot of builders, he could do it [construct homes] himself. He was a craftsman,” a son, Ted Georgelas, said last week. “He also had a tremendous knack for business,” he added.
McLean Realtor Jewell Monroe recalled meeting Georgelas early in his custom home building career in the late 1960s. “He asked me to list his houses, and I was proud to do so,” Monroe said. “He was head and shoulders above everybody else at that time. He and Angie (Mrs. Georgelas) were partners in those early days,” she added.
A native of Utah, Georgelas was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1940. During World War II, he served in campaigns in North Africa, Italy, France and finally in Germany near the end of the war. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with device for valor, a Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and numerous campaign ribbons.
After the war, Georgelas married and continued his Army career with a series of assignments at home and abroad, finally serving at the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired in 1969.
In addition to his wife, Georgelas is survived by three sons, Anthony, Theodore and Timothy; daughter-in-law Vickie Jacobson, the widow of a third son, Thomas, who died in 2005; 17 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard