George Burlotos was born in Passaic, NJ, in 1923. As a child, his mother was ill with tuberculosis, so from 1929 until 1939, he lived mainly with relatives in Elika (Laconia) and Marousi, Greece. He returned from Greece as a 16-year-old teenager and attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, NJ. He thoroughly enjoyed the arts, played the violin and participated in school theater productions.
In 1943, four days after graduation, George entered the U.S. Navy and served with the Amphibious Seabee forces in the South Pacific, including Guam, Guadalcanal, the invasion of Okinawa. Upon discharge in 1946, he attended Temple University at night for five years and operated The Fruit Basket and George’s Restaurant in Camden and Cherry Hill, NJ, for several decades.
George married Matina Laskaris of Wilmington, Delaware in 1953 and is the proud father of four children (Eleni, James, Nikonia, and Alexander) and nine grandchildren. In 1949 George created the Pan-Hellenic Hour, a live radio program on WKDN in Camden, NJ. George continued the radio program for 35 years until 1984 when he started “The Greek Spirit,” a television broadcast under his direction and production. As its main correspondent and on-air personality, George was one of the most widely recognized and respected members of the Greek-American community promoting Hellenism in the Delaware Valley. After 68 years on the air, George begrudgingly retired in November 2017 at the young age of 94 when his current station WYBE was sold and ceased operations.
Through the years, George was also involved in many professional, community and Greek organizations. He served the Greek community as a founding member and past president of St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ. He is a lifetime AHEPA member, serving as past president and district governor of the N.J. and Delaware District #5. He is also a proud member of the Eleftheria VFW Post 6633 Greek-American Veterans Association, the Greek American Heritage Society of Philadelphia, American Legion Post #372, the St. Thomas Senior Housing Committee as well as the St. Thomas “Kali Parea.”
Originally published on Cosmos Philly by Eleftherios Kostans. Video by Vasilis Keisoglou.