Georgios Antonios Molfetas died on Monday, May 23rd, 2022 at the age of 77; after four hospitalizations spread over five months. He fought until the end through kidney disease and Parkinson’s to spend every moment possible with his wife and kids. He was surrounded by his wife, son, and daughter-in-law; passing peacefully in his sleep at Advent Health Hospital in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
He was born on February 20th, 1945 in Erisos, Kefalonia, Greece; during the last months of WWII and the Nazi occupation of the Ionian Islands. George was the youngest child of Sophia Molfeta (neé Vasilato) of Agrile, Kefalonia and Antonios Georgios Molfetas from St. Jerusalem, Kefalonia. He survived the passing of his half-brother, Dionesis Drosos, and half-sister, Spyridoula Rodotheatou (neé Droso), and both his parents.
In 1953 he and his family were displaced by the earthquake that destroyed much of the island. He and his sister Katerina found themselves in housing for displaced children in Athens while his parents rebuilt their home and lives. They were reunited after a year. At the age of 14 he ran away from home in Kefalonia to board a ship to Holland, where he worked odd jobs and eventually opened a sandwich and fry shop with a friend before becoming a merchant marine. He worked in the engine rooms of cargo, petroleum, and passenger ships; survived a typhoon while on deck; and traveled the world over. He once had a disagreement with his ship captain and had to walk from Mumbai to Kolkata to the nearest Seaman’s Club in India. He went through the Panama and Suez canals more times than he could count, traversed through the Amazon, and spent time with the First Nations there. He was drafted into the Greek Navy in March 1966, serving until January 1969 as an engineer and driver.
He met the love of his life, Julie Molfetas (née Paul) in 1970 in Miami, Florida when visiting his uncle Spiros Vasilatos. Together they raised four children. He survived testicular cancer in his 50s and was by his wife’s side through two bouts of breast cancer.
In Miami he ran George’s Restaurant and Tom Thumb’s Restaurant in Coconut Grove – which was a frequent haunt of Jimmy Buffet. George managed apartment buildings in Miami before moving to California and eventually settling in New Smyrna Beach, Florida with his wife and two youngest children. There, George and Julie owned Restaurant Place and Smyrna Restaurant Equipment, before retiring.
George is survived by his loving wife of 52-years, Julie Molfetas; his four children and their spouses, Sophia Molfetas Tamayo (Peter), Kay Kiria Betancourt (Peter), Antonios Molfetas (Victoria), and Martha Molfetas (Michelle Chasteen). He is also survived by his sister Katerina Spanoudaki (neé Molfeta), and over a dozen nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. He will always be a beloved father and uncle to his family, and a cherished friend to all who were lucky to have known him. May his memory be eternal.
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