Msgr. Alexander Nicholas George, 75, of Cedar Rapids, died Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids.
Funeral Services are at 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2012, at Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids, by Archpriest Boris Zabrodsky, Archpriest Constantine (Kurt) Spengler, and Reverend William B. Harnish. Visitation is 3-8 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home. Entombment will be in Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery, Cedar Rapids.
Survivors include his beloved daughters, Jennifer (Shawn) Geyer of Berne, Indiana, Alexandra George of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Constance Haake of Charlotte, North Carolina; their mother, Carmella Cook of Cedar Rapids; and two grandsons, Zach and Colby.
Father George was born February 18, 1937, the son of Hans Wilhelm and Rose Julianna (Szibilla) Juerges, in Berlin, Germany, and received his early education in Austria and Hungary. In 1953, he came with his parents from Hungary to the United States, where he attended high school in New Jersey and college in Los Angeles. On December 25, 1959, after seminary studies at Orthodox Trinity College in Jordanville, New York, he was ordained at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.
Following his ordination, Father George served parishes in New York and California, before going to South America for two years as a missionary. In February of 1964, he was called to serve St. John’s Eastern Orthodox Church in Cedar Rapids. In 1967, he was elevated to the position of Archpriest (Monsignor). He served the parish for over 25 years.
Father George married Carmella Cook on July 10, 1973, in Palm Springs, California. Together they were blessed with three daughters whom he cherished deeply. He was an integral part of their lives and upbringing and they were honored to stand by his side to his very last day.
A list of Father George’s personal and professional accomplishments would fail to fully encompass his vast knowledge of worldly affairs and the impact of his work furthering the understanding of religion and the Eastern Orthodox Church. His tireless ecumenical work in Eastern Iowa and around the world touched many lives and developed stronger ties amongst many religions and denominations.
He was often called on by elected officials to offer invocations for government meetings and also helped draft resolutions recognizing Eastern Orthodoxy as a major religion in the United States. As a man born in Berlin at the height of Nazi power and raised in communist Hungary after World War II, he once remarked that, “only in America could an immigrant stand in the halls of government to lead the nation’s lawmakers in prayer.”
Father George was well-known in the area of addictions, especially alcoholism. He was instrumental in developing programs and securing funding for those in alcohol recovery. He considered everyone a friend and would go out of his way to help those in need.
He enjoyed coin and stamp collecting, making and sharing religious icons, and as he knew at least eight languages, he loved to travel and meet new people from around the world. Father George was a true community pastor, the “people’s priest.” His larger-than-life personality will be greatly missed and the world is, without doubt, a better place because of him.
Father George was preceded in death by his parents; infant twin brothers, Peter and Paul; and his son-in-law, Andrew Haake.
Memorials are suggested to his favorite charities, Orthodox Christian Mission Center, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St. Augustine, Florida 32086, or the Orthodox Monastery of Transfiguration, 321 Monastery Lane, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania 16117.
Please sign the online guest book and share a memory about Father George at www.stewartbaxter.com.