Pilot’s good deeds often got no recognition
By Jerry Vondas
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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 email@example.com.
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