George J. Phocas
George J. Phocas, age 93, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the evening of July 19, 2021 in Fort Myers, Florida.
George is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Katrin, his brother, John Phocas, his son, George A. Phocas, and his three grandchildren, Alexandra, Charles and Benjamin Phocas.
George was a celebrated international corporate lawyer who began his career at Sullivan & Cromwell in 1953. He then worked for Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (now Exxon), first at its Venezuelan subsidiary, Creole Petroleum, and later as its lead international negotiator in the early 1960s for the North Sea oil and gas contracts between Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell and Esso and in various additional locations including Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Iran, Libya and the Emirates. Following his time at Esso, he opened the London office of the then New York law firm of Casey, Lane & Mittendorf and later maintained his legal practice in London as a sole practitioner until his retirement in 1997.
George was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927 to John G. Phocas and Palmina Costa. The family moved to Starks, Maine in the early 1940s and George joined the US Army during the final year of World War II at the age of 17 where he was deployed to the Pacific as a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne and the 7th Infantry Division. Following his discharge from the Army in 1947, George attended the University of Chicago in both its undergraduate college and law school. In 1961, George rejoined the US Army Reserves where he attained the rank of Captain in the Special Forces. During his time in Europe, he met his future wife, Katrin Gorny in Hamburg, Germany. His second great love was flying and he flew a vintage Navy trainer (T-34) for many years and achieved multiple advanced pilot ratings. George was a member of the New York Athletic Club, Boodle’s, and the Metropolitan Club.
A service is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27th at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Sanibel, Florida at 5pm and a memorial service will be held October 9th, 2021 at Ocean View Cemetery on the Spruce Head Road, South Thomaston, Maine. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine: www.owlshead.org, or the Law School at the University of Chicago.