A former-Harrisburg restaurateur and founder of the Gazebo Room Salad Dressing & Marinade company died of a short illness on Tuesday, according to PennLive.
George N. Gekas, 88 of New Cumberland, passed away peacefully while surrounded by family.
Gekas was born January 10, 1933 in Tzivas, Greece, as the eldest son of Nicholas George Gekas and Georgia Theodoropoulos Gekas. He immigrated to the US at the age of 17, working for uncles at The Locust Street Café during the day and attending night school classes to learn English and earn his citizenship.
He opened the Ranch restaurant in 1959, and bought his Uncle’s business in 1971, expanding it into The Gazebo Room Restaurant in 1973. The restaurant closed on new year’s eve 1998 when Gekas was focusing on a new project.
Gekas is best known for creating the Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing which his family has been manufacturing and distributing nationwide since 1989, according to the company’s website.
Tipper Gore, wife of then Vice President Al Gore, ordered a case of the dressing in 1997. Gore had a taste of the dressing at her friend’s house and wanted to share it with her family, according to PennLive.
His cousin is former U.S. Rep. George W. Gekas, 91 of Dauphin County.
He loved the Yankees, gardening, and a good cigar. He was a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral and AHEPA Lodge 64.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Yvonne Thomakos Gekas, and several children according to his obituary.
His viewing will be held at the Neill Funeral Home in Camp Hill on Thursday April 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. The traditional Greek Orthodox Trisagion Service will be offered at 7 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1000 Yverdon Drive in Camp Hill on Friday, April 23 at 11 a.m.
Gekas will be buried at East Harrisburg Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests charitable donations be made to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral or Hospice of Central PA.
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