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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Obituary: Dr. George Constantine Papavizas

Dr. George Constantine Papavizas passed away on June 4, 2019, at the age of 96. He was a resident of Beltsville from 1960 to 2016 and worked at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) station in Beltsville until 1992. Dr. Papavizas was born in Krimini, Greece, and survived the Bulgarian, Italian, and German occupations of northern Greece including the burning of the family home by the German Army in 1943.

He finished the University of Thessaloniki with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947 and was drafted into the Greek Army where he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant. Dr. Papavizas, decorated twice for acts of heroism, was wounded in the last major battle of the Greek Civil War in 1949 and almost died from his wounds, which required the loss of his left foot. Dr. Papavizas memorialized these experiences in an autobiography published by the American Hellenic Institute Foundation in 2002 entitled Blood and Tears—Greece 1940–1949.

After emigrating to the United States, Dr. Papavizas obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota, returning to Greece in 1954 to marry Mary A. Sarikas, who passed away in 1999.

Dr. Papavizas had a successful science career at ARS eventually heading the pioneering biological control laboratory as well as editing two books, publishing over 200 papers, speaking all over the world at conferences, and being named ARS Scientist of the Year in 1988.

George retired in 1992 and started his “third” career—which was to write about the subjects he was passionate about—first his autobiography and then the Greek ethnicity of Macedonia in a book Claiming Macedonia and in many articles.

George is survived by his two sons, both of whom graduated from High Point High School, his daughters-in-law, and his five adult grandchildren.

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