World War II veteran George A. Christakis, who played second base in the Boston Red Sox minor league system, lit up a room with his presence, his smile and positive attitude.
“He brought kindness and goodness to everyone he came in contact with,” daughter Sandra Christakis Pero said. “He had a deep love for his family. He was highly intelligent and charismatic. He was an optimist.”
The draft ended Christakis’ baseball career, but he had no regrets.
“He was happy just to get that far,” son Dean Christakis said. “He was glad to serve his country.”
Christakis, 98, of Hobart, received the Bronze Star for bravery, participating in the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, leading his soldiers in capturing enemy troops.
Christakis met his late wife of 64 years, Ann, prior to service. The family has letters he wrote to her almost daily, including one written on D-Day, probably in a fox hole, he said.
An October honor flight in October with his friend Al Terzes was one of his life’s highlights.
Christakis managed many successful Mannbridge Little League teams and Horace Mann Babe Ruth teams.
“One of the things that struck me most about his managerial skills is that he took the time to teach individually the players who were not so good or didn’t know that much about baseball,” Dean Christakis said.
He will miss their conversations.
“Every day something comes up that I want to share with and talk to him about,” Dean Christakis said.
In one of their last conversations, son and dad told each other how proud they were to be father and son.
His daughter will miss everything from listening to his stories, being with him at family events, birthday parties, eating out and going to movies, as well as just kicking back at her home watching sports on a Sunday afternoon and seeing him interacting with his great grandchildren.