The Honorable George William Vakos, 87, passed peacefully Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, surrounded by family. George was born June 27, 1931, in Norfolk to the late William John Vakos of Greece and Mary Ella Mae Vakos of North Carolina.
George worked in his father’s restaurants and hotels from a young age, learning that hard work and commitment were key to success and happiness. He later instilled these values in his children and grandchildren.
A 1949 graduate of Maury High School, George received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Accounting in 1953 from the College of William & Mary. After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, he returned to George Washington University, where he received a law degree in 1958. In February 1960, George was appointed assistant city attorney of Virginia Beach. George was later instrumental in crafting the merger agreement between the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County and prepared the first legal code for the reorganized City of Virginia Beach in 1963. He was soon appointed Virginia Beach’s first full-time city attorney.
In 1965, George was appointed as the first full-time judge of the Municipal Court for the City of Virginia Beach, where he served until 1967, when he was appointed to the Virginia Beach Circuit Court. At the time, he was the youngest Circuit Court Judge appointed in the state of Virginia, as well as the first person of Greek descent on a Virginia Circuit Court, of which he remained forever proud. While serving, he organized the first full time, salaried magistrate system for the city of Virginia Beach. This was the first of its kind in Virginia and was used as a model for the rest of the state in 1975. He retired from the bench in February 1984.
George was always known by his family and those in the law community as a fair, nondiscriminatory and honest public servant. He remained involved in his family’s oceanfront hotel for many years and was recognized as King Neptune XV in 1988 for his contributions to the resort community.
Soon after retiring, George began frequently traveling to the Florida Keys, eventually becoming a full-time resident in 1996. George was a very active member of the Marathon Yacht Club, sitting on the board of governors for many years and serving as treasurer in 2011 and 2012. He enjoyed time spent in Key Colony Beach with good friends boating and fishing aboard the “Courtship,” building and remodeling houses, and walking his beloved late dog Elle.
Virginia Beach, however, was always home. George was a longtime member of the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club, Virginia State Bar, Virginia Beach Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Virginia Beach Exchange Club and a trustee of the Virginia Aquarium Foundation. Through the years, George cherished time with family in Carova Beach on the Outer Banks, building multiple houses with his sons.
George is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter, Kimberly (Duran Canakci); first wife, Madeline, and their three children, George Jr. (Susan), Charles (Kimberly) and Andrew (Ann); as well as 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. George was blessed with a large family and is survived by siblings, Estelle Davis, John (Linda), Anne Liskey, Grace Dragas (George), Julia Nordstrom (Clyde), Helen Standing (Michael), William Jr. (Mary), Patricia and Robert (Joan). He is also survived by his “son,” Andrew Dwight Penny (Tracey) and family. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Jean.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Home, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, at Galilee Church, 40th Street and Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.