George Nicholas Tzavaras

September 6, 1947 - April 4, 2018

09/06/1947 - 04/04/2018

Past Services

Monday April 09, 2018
11:00 am
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
621 First Colonial Rd.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
757-422-5600 | Directions

George N. Tzavaras Captain, CEC, USN (Ret), born 6 Sept 1947 in NYC to Nicholas and Kiki Tzavaras and raised in Fort Lee, NJ, died on 4 April 2018.  He graduated from Fort Lee High School June 1965 and reported to the US Naval Academy 2 days later.  Graduating with Distinction in June 1969 he was commissioned ensign, Civil Engineer Corps.  He reported to his first SEABEE battalion in Chu Lai, Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1969.  Following his tour in Vietnam, he completed a Masters in Civil Engineering at MIT.  Subsequent duties took him to: Davisville, RI; Hawaii; Newport, RI; Nea Makri, Greece; Port Hueneme, CA; Guam; Spain; Puerto Rico; New Orleans, LA; Washington, DC; and finally Norfolk, VA as Deputy Fleet Civil Engineer.
Predeceased by his parents, and survived by his wife Elaine L.Tzavaras Commander, MSC, USN (Ret) and three sons: Nicholas Tzavaras, cellist for the Shanghai Quartet and Artist in Residence at Montclair State University, married to Sophia Anastasia, DMA; Dr. Alexander Tzavaras, medical director for Montefiore Astor Ave Pediatric Clinic, married to Dr. Mougeh Yasai; Dr. Theodore Tzavaras, emergency medicine resident at Eastern Virginia Medical School, married to Jennifer Tzavaras.  And six grandchildren Eleni, Daphne, George, Lily, Sabina, and Efthimia.
As he reflected on his life, he felt fulfilled.  In his final days he said, “I’ve never written a book, designed a building, or created some tangible object.  What I have to look back on is ‘you guys and your families.’  A musician, and two physicians that share healing and beauty.  That’s a greater legacy than riches or fame.”
George has been blessed to have felt boundless compassion and kindness from everyone along his journey.  He thanks Dr. Hughes, Dr. Cross, and the 4K Surgery Staff at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for their professional and warm care.  He thanks the caregivers with Westminster-Canterbury at Home, especially Janet and Candy, for their sincere and loving approach.  He thanks Matt, manager of MWR Navy Getaways, for being a catalyst in securing a beautiful place to spend his last days.  He thanks the “Gym Buddies:” Al, Andy, Dave, Doug, Jon, Mike and Steve, who have helped George through this difficult time with distracting conversation, camaraderie, and friendship.  He thanks everyone who touched his life, who has shown him kindness, and who made his brief battle easier.  He was comforted in his belief that, even in today’s turmoil and controversy, kindness still exists and will prevail at making the world a better place.
In his memory, please consider a gift to one of George’s favorite charities.  The EVMS Tzavaras Family Scholarship, to help a future physician learn not only the basics of being a doctor but to understand the healing power of compassion.  Make checks payable to the EVMS Foundation and mail to PO Box 5, Norfolk, VA 23501 and note “Tzavaras” somewhere on the check, or online at and make the gift “In Memory of” George Tzavaras at the bottom of the page.  Or, The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Capital Campaign so that more of today’s youth can be guided in spiritual and compassionate works in the proper environment.  Make checks payable to the St. Nicholas Capital Campaign and mail to 621 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.
The funeral service, presided by Fr. John Manuel, will be held at 11:00 AM on 9 April 2018 at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 621 First Colonial, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.  He will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements under the care of Altmeyer Funeral Home. Online condolences may be expressed to the family below.

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Mark B Gemender CAPT, CEC, USN (ret)
4 years ago

I just now found out about the loss of George from the Seabee Historical Foundation. My condolences to the whole family. He certainly was a fine man. I followed his later career path to CINCLANTFLT Civil Engineer and later to City of Virginia Beach Public Works Department. He was very kind with me in giving guidance and helping me make career decisions which would ultimately impact my family. I know he put family first. He was noble and an admirable guy.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.

Sorry for your loss.

Joe Patterson, Captain, CEC, USN, Retired
4 years ago

Dear Tzavaras Family, We were sorry to hear of George’s passing. He was my XO when I was the CO of NMCB 5. I have great memories of him showing me around Greece where we had a detachment. Whenever Greece is mentioned, I always think of George. I also remember when he had to shave off his much loved beard and how he took a few days to tan his chin. Please know that you are in our thoughts.

Henry Ruiz
4 years ago

While sharing a work experience with the City of Virginia Beach George was my supervisor and “words smith” in the modification of my communication. As a retired sailor we shared a common understanding on loyalty and service. My last message to him was that he was my SHIPMATE which he truly appreciated in a closing note to me..

Don Kellough (SW3 NMCB-5, 81-83)
4 years ago

I was witness to a wonderful showing of compassion when he was XO of NMCB-5 in 1982. While on duty a young man had been drinking a bit too much and had begun to talk of harming himself. We attempted to intercede but the situation worsened. I could not find the duty officer and went directly to the XO’s room. I must admit a bit of fear and trepidation as LCDR Tzavaras had the reputation as a stern man. I explained the situation and he immediately became involved in addressing the situation. He was compassionate and firmly gentle with the young man who received the help needed. I was touched when the XO thanked me for coming to get him. Blessings to the family. d

Paul Beck
4 years ago

So sorry to hear about the passing of a great high school friend. Our world has lost a great asset. We need more men like George, however it appears that he has left behind a great legacy. RIP George.

Jeannette Peters
4 years ago

Mr. Tzavaras was a very kind man and will be deeply missed. There are no words to express how deeply sorry I am over your loss. Mrs. Tzavaras, please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Peggy DeSimone Andrews
4 years ago

George was always the great guy in high school. A gentleman. So sorry to hear his life was cut short. RIP George

Samuel Charllis
4 years ago

Played high school football and graduated in the same class of 1965 at Fort Lee high school.
Fond memories of GEORGE.He always did his best no matter if it were scholastically or athletically.
My deepest condolences to the family.
Samuel Charllis

Larry Shackelford
4 years ago

Dear Tzavaras family: Sincere sympathy in your loss. George and I worked together on the City Personnel board. His intelligent, detailed, dedicated and valuable contribution will not be replaced. I am still taken by his calling me when he realized that his prognosis was bad ,to apologize for his inability to attend any more hearings.
Such was his character. George was a fighter with a kind spirit. He did not go gently into that dark night. He will be missed by many. Try to find solace in having shared the greatness of his life. God Bless you in your time of mourning.

4 years ago

Our sincere condolences Elaine. George came in our lives in 1970 while we were both attending MIT. George became a special part of our life, our family and we have tons of wonderful memories. You will be so missed, but those memories will last forever. Sending love and prayers .