WWII veteran is reportedly the first Greek-American victim of coronavirus

George Possas

George Possas

Greek-American WWII Veteran, George Possas passed away at the age of 91, reportedly from the coronavirus.

Washington Oxi Day Foundation Executive Director, Mike Manatos posted the announcement on Facebook: “So sad to learn that the first victim of this virus that I know was this remarkable man, George Possas, last night. He survived the Great Depression, combat in WWII and 91 years during which his kindness, compassion and leadership made him a beloved member of the national Greek-American community.”

In 2017, George Possas was honoured with the 2017 Greatest Generation Award.

“Thank you, George, for leading by example. Your memory will truly be everlasting,” the post concluded.

So sad to learn that the first victim of this virus that I know was this remarkable man, George Possas, last night. He…

Posted by Mike Manatos on Monday, 16 March 2020

Born to Greek immigrants in 1926, Possas was raised in Corona, New York in the midst of the Great Depression.

At 17, he enlisted in the army with signed consent from his parents. Following basic training, Possas was assigned to the 41st Infantry Division and deployed to the Philippines. He fought on several islands in the South Pacific and was part of the Battle of Hollandia.

Eventually, Possas was assigned to a ship headed for Hiroshima, Japan. Possas and his fellow soldiers were told the intended invasion would result in 70% casualties. After listening to firing noise from surrounding ships in confusion, the soldiers ultimately learned about the atomic bombing and the end of the war. Possas spent three more weeks out on the ocean before he was brought on to the island of Hiroshima and then sent to Tokyo as an MP.

Possas was discharged on November 29, 1946 – coincidently the same day his father was discharged from WWI in 1918.

Upon his return from war, Possas became an electrical helper and knew electrical work would be his occupation for years to come. By 1965, he had saved enough money to buy his own electrical contracting business. Now, 70 years later, at 91, he continues to work with three generations of family.

Possas married Evelyn Lambrinon in 1953, a marriage that would last 64 years until her recent passing. They had four children together and nine grandchildren. They raised a close-knit family and provided an excellent example of how to be kind, loyal, humble and hard working. To Possas and his family, this is one of the most important and profound joys in life.

Possas is and has always been proud of his Greek heritage. He served as a past President of St. Paul’s Cathedral in New York and remained active in the church for many years. In 1984, Possas became an Archon and proudly serves the church and Patriarch to this day.

*Source: Washington Oxi Day Foundation

*Image credit: Mike Manatos