Memorial services for Lt. Demetreos George Gianakos will be held Thursday, at 11 a.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. J. Brian Ponder officiating. He died Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, at his home in Meridian.
Demetreos, better known as “Mr. G,” was born in 1923 in Hendersonville, N.C., to his Greek immigrant parents, George and Mary Gianakos. The youngest of eight brothers and sisters, his mother moved the entire family to New York City after his father died in 1926.
At the tender age of 17, he got his mother’s permission to join the U.S. Navy, thus beginning a 30-year military career in aviation. Mr. G spent World War II in the Pacific Theater, taking part in the battles of Midway, Leyte, Tarawa, Marianas and Okinawa. He spent 22 years as a Chief Petty Officer, but was promoted to a Lt(jg) during the Vietnam War, where he served two tours aboard the USS Currituck, a seaplane tender.
In 1949, while stationed in Seattle, he met the love of his life, June Adams of Ketchikan, Alaska. After dating two months, they married in 1950. Mr. and Mrs. G were stationed at many ports, including Brownsville, Texas (where son Kris was born in Corpus Christi); Adak, Alaska (where daughter Kim was born); Hawaii, Memphis, Tenn., and San Diego. The couple arrived at their final Navy station in Meridian in 1966, where Mr. G retired 1970. After retirement, he resumed training Naval aviators as a civilian at NAS Meridian for 20 years.
Mr. G entered the Navy without a high school diploma, but obtained his GED while in the military and, upon retirement, completed his bachelor of science degree at the University of Southern Mississippi in zoology, then his master’s degree in education at Mississippi State University.
Known as the guy who could build or fix anything, Mr. G was the man to have around for all situations. He tackled any project, from shelves, furniture restoration, vehicles, ceramics, gardening and more, even building the swimming pool at his home and helping anyone who needed a hand. Many still smile remembering the giant neon lips and eyes painted on his classic VW truck.
Despite being raised in New York City, he was a true outdoorsman and avid hunter. He was president of the Sportsman’s Association and Hunt Master at NAS Meridian, serving in the organization for more than 20 years. He raised cattle, adopted a burro, painted, crafted stained glass, loved opera and learning. He served on the board of Ebenezer Ministries and was a volunteer fireman with the Suqualena Fire Department. Almost everyone who knew him thought he was the definition of self-actualization.
Survivors include his son, Kris Gianakos and his wife Bebe of Meridian; daughter, Kim Gianakos of Meridian; granddaughter, Krilecia Michael Gianakos of Meridian; sisters: Phryne Hayhurst of New York City, and Christine Phillips of Ocala, Fla.; and a slew of nieces, nephews and more in his large Greek family.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, June Adams Gianakos; his parents; sisters: Billie Mazarakes, Athena Gianakos, Liberty Filio and Nitsa Elder; brother, Antonio Gianakos; and his grandson, Nicholas Gianakos.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to the Nicholas Gianakos Scholarship Endowment at Meridian Community College.
Family visitation will be one hour prior to the memorial service.