George Pilarinos, 88, of Chesterfield, Virginia passed away Saturday, May 8, 2021. Born November 4, 1932, in Queens, New York, the youngest of five children of the late Constantine Pilarinos and Anjeliki Manjikan Pilarinos. His sisters Stella Pilarinos Taros and Irene Pilarinos Alatzas , brothers Bill and Nick Pilarinos, both World War II veterans, preceded him in death. He is survived by his beloved wife Sharon Kluth Pilarinos and has numerous adoring and loving nieces and nephews in Long Island New York, Alexandria, Virginia and Santa Fe, New Mexico Mr. Pilarinos served twice as a Petersburg City Council member, an entrepreneur, notably The French Betsy and its revival, French Betsy”s Orleans House and restorer of historic properties, especially 416 High Street and the 19th century industrial facility the Appomatox Ironworks. Martin T. Broyhill III and Mr. Pilarinos were business partners for the French Betsy and Ironworks endeavors.
At age 16, George graduated Newtown High School,” by proficiency in scholarship and by integrity of character.” His graduation from Queens College in Flushing with a BA in economics, came at age, 20. During the Korean conflict in 1953, he was stationed in Panama, serving as a Salary & Wage Administration Specialist. Other personnel assignments provided more travel abroad to Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan. Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Texas. In 1964 George returned to Washington, D.C., to work with the National Science Foundation, initially as a Personnel Security Officer, Employee Relations Officer and Acting Personnel Officer. He received numerous service awards during his 10-year juncture. With an MA in public administration from George Mason University, leadership assignments followed as the Deputy Assistant Director for Administration and Director Management Information Systems Division with the NSF. When the first NASA Inspector General came onboard, George became the Assistant Inspector General for Management. He was responsible for creating a staff and administer a nationwide, integrated audit and investigations organization for NASA installations across the country. While a Federal executive, Mr. Pilarinos received numerous commendations, including the prestigious NSF Meritorious Service Award. After twenty-five years in government service, George traded in his Dupont Circle Washington, D.C. townhouse address for one in Petersburg through pure chance. While attending a funeral for his wife”s uncle, he noticed the vintage houses along Sycamore Street in Petersburg. He was smitten with their architecture and found amiable prices were offered in contrast to properties in Washington D.C. and New York. In 1986, he and his wife, Darlene Morano Pilarinos purchased two properties on High Street in in the Olde Towne section of Petersburg. While they lived at 541 High Street, they renovated 416 High Street, a two-story brick colonial constructed in 1784. Mr. Pilarinos acquired numerous structures for their historical significance and potential rental income. Accumulating properties in Petersburg was not the only thing on his plate, he operated a computer and management software company, Hellenic Communications Corp., which included an A-list of corporations, Federal agencies, and charitable organizations as clients. In 1992, George ran for a Petersburg City Council position for Ward 4 as a candidate for change. He successfully won re-election overwhelmingly in 1996.
Mr. Pilarinos also donated his time and efforts to community service and non-profit management. He was president of the Historic Petersburg Foundation, founder of the Petersburg Community Development Corporation and Center for Industrial Preservation, president of the Petersburg Area Art League, board member of the Petersburg Symphony, Downtown Petersburg, Inc., Interfaith Adult Day Care, and the Petersburg Festival Chorus.
With the belief that preservation was the catalyst for economic development, Mr. Pilarinos, and business partner Marvin T. Broyhill III, restored the Appomattox Iron Works, the last remaining intact iron working facility of its kind in America, and opened it as a museum with a gift shop and restaurant. Surrounding property on Old Street became the venue in the early 90s for “Thursday at the Work”s,” featuring beach music from the Carolinas and Virginia Beach, Virginia as well as local bands. The popular weekly concert ran from April-September, bringing patrons not only from the Tri-Cities but throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1998, the venue moved to The Old Towne Civic Center and was renamed,” Thursday in Old Towne.
Mr. Pilarinos ventured from Petersburg to the suburbs of Chesterfield in the late 90s and was employed by the Virginia Department of Health as a Human Resource Generalist, Senior to study and audit HR programs, policies and procedures. A promotion in 2000 earned him a slot as Manager of the Quality Improvement team where he conceived and designed a unique implementation of the state”s Compensation Reform Program. In 2001, Mr. Pilarinos received the Governor”s Award for Innovation in a state-wide competition. His introduction of state-of-the-art technology saved the agency thousands of dollars, improved communications and enabled delegation of authority to VDH managers throughout the state. He worked with the VDH as counsel for arbitrations until 2013.
Mr. Pilarinos, who was the son of Greek immigrants, was proud of his heritage and had great regard for family. He especially enjoyed Latin salsa music having heard mambo bands at The Palladuim Ball Room in New York City in the late 40s. Throughout his life, he enjoyed reading The New York Times, New Yorker, and Scientific American. He loved 40s swing and Big Band era music, the ballet and opera.
Memorial services will be announced for Chesterfield, Va and Long Island, N.Y. in June.