Dr. George C. Karkazis, M.D., age 83, died peacefully at home in his sleep on May 24, 2023. George was born on May 15, 1940, in the small farming village of Rizes, Greece, where he excelled in school at an early age, always wanting to please his mother with good grades. He was the youngest of six children and his parents were Reverend Constantine Karkazis and Presvytera Vasiliki Karkazis née Zees. George was not only the son of a priest, but came from a long lineage of Greek Orthodox priests. He spent much time in his youth as an altar boy. One of his earliest memories is of German soldiers moving into his home in 1941 for a year and a half, until the Allied forces arrived. Among his favorite childhood activities was climbing cherry trees and spending hours eating their plentiful sweet fruit.
On August 20, 1948, at 8 years old, he immigrated to America, and joined additional family in Chicago. He graduated from Steinmetz High School in 1958 and The University of Illinois Chicago (Navy Pier Campus) in 1961. Driven to excel, he began his postgraduate studies and supported himself with jobs such as a CTA bus driver, working in a Wilson Sporting Goods Factory making golf clubs, and analyzing copper bits at Revere Copper and Brass. His interest in science and intellectual pursuits propelled him to graduate from The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago in 1965. For the next two years he pursued an Internship at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He then joined the U.S. Air Force and was assigned to Luke Air Force Base near Glendale, Arizona, from 1966 – 1968, as a Captain and Flight Surgeon, where he made lifelong friends and memories high above the sky. In this capacity, he worked on many missions in the area, including assisting Indigenous Americans stranded in a blizzard. In 1968 George moved back to Chicago to pursue a Residency in Radiology at The University of Chicago, continuing with a specialization in neuroradiology in 1972.
He met his wife of 50 years, Myrsini Terzis, a teacher also from Greece, on September 27th, 1970, at a Hellenic Professional Society Picnic in Northfield, Illinois. He was drawn to her warmth, charisma, and love of life. Together they began building a beautiful life together. From 1972 – 1973 George served as Assistant Professor and Neuroradiologist at The University of Chicago. On May 19, 1973, Myrsini and George married at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after, George began working at Lutheran General Hospital as a neuroradiologist. As the technology progressed, George’s work changed from x-rays and angiograms to CAT scans and MRI’s. He retired from Lutheran General Hospital in 2008. To this day, colleagues at Lutheran General reflect on how George was incredibly astute in his work, kind to everyone, and a pleasure to work with.
Along with his drive for excellence at work, George had a passion for many things including art – spending hours in a gallery or museum; attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; gardening – always aspiring for the perfect homegrown tomato or a beautiful flower (stemming from his time as a village boy in Greece). He also cherished time with family and friends, including outings with his brothers on the golf course, coaching softball for his two daughters, and going back to visit Greece for a sweet bowl of cherries from his cousin Nona’s cherry tree where he could reflect on his family’s roots from a little place called Rizes. Above all, he enjoyed being with his beautiful wife, daughters, and granddaughters whom he loved and cherished. George will be remembered for his kind spirit, strength of character, strong work ethic, and joyful smile.
Beloved husband of Myrsini Karkazis née Terzis; loving father of Vickie Karkazis and Christine (John) Mackris; devoted son of the late Reverend Constantine and Presvytera Vasiliki Karkazis; proud grandfather of Nicolette and Lia Mackris; dear brother of the late Lambros (late Helen) Karkazis, the late Helen (late Chris) Pappademos, the late Daphne (late George) Bagatelas, the late Ephrosine (late John) Kotsionis, the late James (Phyllis) Karkazis; fond uncle to numerous nephews and nieces, and dear friend to many.
Visitation Tuesday, May 30, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at N.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, 1240 Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL 60025. Funeral Service Wednesday, May 31, 2023 10:00 AM at Saints Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church, 1401 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL 60025. Interment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, IL. In lieu of flowers memorial donations to Saints Peter & Paul or Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 N. Sheffield Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 would be appreciated. Arrangements by Memory Eternal Funeral Directors, Ltd.
May his memory be eternal.