Renowned plastic surgeon and co-founder and former Contact Director and Investor of the Milwaukee Bucks Expansion Basketball Team, George J. Korkos M.D., passed away on May 28, at the age of 89.
His funeral which took place last Friday at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago.
The renowned Greek-American had been a member of numerous prestigious medical societies, and was also an experienced academic lecturer and author, who had presented on a variety of plastic and reconstructive surgery topics at meetings of regional and national medical associations.
During his career, Dr. Korkos had earned a number of humanitarian awards, including the Outstanding Distinguished Alumnus Award for the Medical College of Wisconsin. He was also honoured with the prestigious Hellene Award and the Ellis Island Award in New York.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America- Eulogy for George Korkos
Dear Children: James, Thomas and Kathryn,
Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Christ,
Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη! [and in response: Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη!]
Christ is Risen! [and in response: Truly He is Risen!]
Like so many of you in this Cathedral today, I have traveled here to pay tribute to one of the great Hellenes of America, and one of the great human beings of our time, Dr. George Korkos.
He was your father and grandfather, your brother, your uncle and godfather, your friend and mentor, and to thousands upon thousands around the country and around the world, he was the shining example of what it means to be Greek, and to be a person of the highest human values.
All of the praises and recollections that we will share today, will represent only a few threads of the rich and ornate tapestry of his life. It was a life woven with, and by, his beloved Penny. Like her namesake, the Penelope of the Odyssey, she was George’s guiding star, throughout his amazing life.
Together, George and Penelope created a life, a family, and a legacy that will endure for generations. In the future, their names will be invoked with gratitude and admiration by countless people who will have never met them, but will remain forever in their debt.
I will confess that I did not have the opportunity to personally get to know George. But I do know this – there is nowhere you can go in the Greek-American community – from coast to coast, and not hear his name. Spoken of with much appreciation. With thankfulness. With kindness. With a smile. And with unrelenting respect.
A leader in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
An Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Mention Leadership 100? You will hear his name.
The National Hellenic Museum? A most trusted Trustee.
The National Hellenic Society? George was a Founder.
Everybody in the know, knew George Korkos. His stature was huge, worthy of the NBA. Speaking of which, there is, of course, his remarkable story with the Milwaukee Bucks. Founder. Basketball enthusiast extraordinaire. The first Greek on the team….
Moreover, you can barely plumb the depths of his total commitment to the healing arts, much less articulate them. For if George was anything, he was a person who loved his fellow human being. His concern for others manifested in his charitable works and giving, and in his devotion to helping others through his remarkable medical talent and skill.
His professional reputation is praised by so many honors and so many distinctions, that I would be hard-pressed to list every accomplishment. But the greatest recognition of all is his children. For they took up the Hippocratic mantle, and are a living tribute and a reminder to George’s passion for medicine, and his pure philanthropic spirit.
To them I say with all my heart, we grieve with you in this loss, and we stand with you, in holding your parents’ memory dear.
But I will add this: although your father’s parting from this world is a loss to you and especially to his beloved grandchildren – who certainly had a pappou for the ages – he has gained his longed-for reunion with your mother, Penny. And I pray you will take good comfort in knowing that they are together again. Their dance is now in eternity, in the presence of God, and of all the righteous who came before them.
Truly, everything George touched is richer today because of him. His family, his friends, his Greek-American community, the Greek Orthodox Church, this city of Milwaukee, and all the unknown persons who were the beneficiaries of his benevolence.
His spirit was indomitable.
His charm irresistible.
His generosity indefatigable.
He was a king in this life, reigning over his realm with love and compassion, and always with consideration for others.
Like Odysseus, his journey was a long one. We would have wished for it to be longer still, but it was time for him to finally arrive at his Ithaki of rest, and be reunited with his Penelope.
George is home now. He can take his ease.
He left all of us so many gifts, and we will be unwrapping them for years to come.
I pray that comfort will enter into your hearts, and that the meaning of his life will grant you peace in your grief. There will be a void. How could it not be so? For indeed, such a life that was larger than life, cannot be expunged from our minds and hearts. He will remain a great presence among us all, and that presence – over time – will be reassuring and comforting.
May we always remember him in love.
May we always emulate his stellar example.
And may his soul – the soul of the precious servant of God, George Korkos, together with his loving wife, Penelope, enjoy everlasting rest in the embrace of Abraham, in the mansions of the Saints, and in the tabernacles of the righteous.
May their memory be eternal.