Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In Memory: George Tyrogalas, 1939-2008

Paleochora, Crete, Greece. October 2007


It has taken me nine days to be able to write this. George passed away in Athens last Monday. He was 69 years old.
I met George about 10 years ago at the Strada Caffe, near UC Berkeley. He and his friends were speaking Greek and so we started to talk to them. Not knowing I understood (my Greek is basic), he told my friend I looked like Eleftherios Venizelos! Of course I liked him instantly.
I, and many others, here and in Greece, are missing our dear George. Here are a few words I might use to describe him: hilarious, friendly, kind-hearted, loud, leering, unpredictable, parsimonious, loquacious, sensitive, compassionate, artistic, loving, curious, loyal, peaceful.
There are so many more things I could say. I think the key to the real George was watching him with animals. His heart went out to the mistreated and you could see that in the way he treated not only his own cats/dogs but how he often went out of the way for others. When in Greece he always carried food for the many strays in Athens. He really was an example of much-needed compassion and in his own way followed the Golden Rule.
The funeral was last Thursday in Vyronas, Athens. There will be a memorial in Berkeley in early November.
I used to tease George by calling him the Buster Keaton of the Greek World. He had marvellous expressions and could always make me laugh, no matter what was happening in my life. I will miss popping over to Peaberry's Coffee after work and running into my George. He was like no other friend.

5 comments:

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

zoe se sas
o theos na ton sihoresi

Mariam said...

I am sorry for your loss. He seemed like a great person. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
Beautiful Picture

Sevana said...

Mr. T was my favorite teacher in high school but he was a friend too even outside of school I would run into him constantly the entire family misses him... I just heard about this today, I am completely devastated.

Delia said...

I miss George, too. I hadn't seen him in a number of years and can't believe how hard it is to know that he is gone! I was at his memorial here in Berkeley last weekend and it was truly touching how many people were there who loved him. I still look for him at Strada.

Sifi said...

Thanks, Delia. You played beautifully at the memorial. Did you hear my little talk on George? I was wearing a gray jacket.
We are all missing our dear Georgo.