Pilot's good deeds often got no recognition
By Jerry Vondas
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
George Kratsas had the reputation of being a behind-the-scenes Santa Claus.
Longtime friend and Natrona Heights businessman John E. Marino described him as a humanitarian, a man who used his skills as a pilot for Angel Flights, which provides free air transportation for charitable and medical needs.
“George was a busy businessman who made time to fly transplant materials or cancer patients for treatment to their hospitals,” Marino said.
George M. Kratsas of Lower Burrell, co-owner of Amusement Supply of Frazer, died of cancer on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in his home. He was 68.
Matthew Colaianne of Saltsburg remembered how his friend took the time to listen to anyone who needed to talk.
“George was a 6-foot-3 gentleman with a heart of gold,” Colaianne said. “He was always ready to help someone and never asked for anything in return.”
Colaianne recalled Mr. Kratsas' devotion to his Greek Orthodox faith and his commitment to the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Oakmont, where he was committed to many of the church's building programs and charities.
Born and raised in Oakmont, George Kratsas was one of three sons of businessman Nicholas Kratsas and his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Laris Kratsas. He was a 1962 graduate of Riverview High School in Oakmont.
Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Kratsas was a licensed commercial pilot instructor, was certified as a sea pilot and was a safety counselor for the Federal Aviation Administration and a captain with the Civil Air Patrol.
A past master of Verona Lodge 548, he received the coveted 33rd degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
As a businessman, Mr. Kratsas was an active member of the Oakmont Rotary Club, an organization noted for its commitment to humanitarian services.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia “Patty” Reed Kratsas, and a brother, John Kratsas of Fox Chapel. He was preceded in death by a brother, Nicholas Kratsas.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 12 Washington Ave. in Oakmont. Entombment will be in Greenwood Mausoleum, Lower Burrell.
Arrangements are being handled by Ross G. Walker Ltd., 217 Freeport Road, New Kensington.
Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.