George Gialamas… Husband, father, Papou, friend, CEO of the Gialamas Company, well-known Madison developer, and community leader, died peacefully at his home Saturday morning May 8, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
George Thomas Gialamas was born in Chicago on October 20, 1938, to Thomas George and Demetra (Chibucos) Gialamas.
In his youth, George developed a strong work ethic when he began delivering groceries on a bicycle. He also worked in a canning factory and as a hospital orderly. In his teen years he worked at his family hotel, The Grant Park Hotel, in downtown Chicago.
His secondary education was at Morgan Park Military Academy in Chicago, and he graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1962. During his college years at Marquette, he acted and sang at the Skylight Theater.
Following college, George joined the IBM Sales and Marketing team in Chicago. His 14 years with the company included time in Chicago, New York City and Madison, WI.
On August 20, 1970, George married Candy McKinstry at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Madison. They made their home on Thorstrand Road in Madison, where they raised their family.
George and Candy treasured their family. Their children were always included in all of their celebrations, activities and travel experiences including trips to every continent. The Greek Islands was always their favorite destination.
Their home was a gathering place and always a welcoming venue for guests. This included christenings, birthdays, holidays, fundraisers, political gatherings and weekly get togethers with family and friends. Their door was always open and their hospitality unparalleled. George loved his Sunday dinner’s with friends and family. He loved people and people felt loved and welcomed by him.
In 1976 George and his wife Candy founded the Gialamas Company, the Madison based commercial real estate development and brokerage company. From inception, company projects were underway in Madison and the surrounding area.
In 1984, ground-breaking for Old Sauk Trails Business Park began. The 500-acre park on the west side of Madison, was one of George’s proudest accomplishments.
The Gialamas Company was born with integrity, a strong work ethic and team concept built on the philosophy that "a rising tide lifts all boats." George always wanted success for his company and his competitors. He was not only a strong leader for his own business, but helped many others in the community. Numerous start-up companies and charities have benefited through George providing investments, workspace, advice and guidance.
From humble beginnings and hard work, George became a true American success story.
He understood the importance of building strong relationships and always believed his staff was his strongest asset. George was an innovator and a visionary. He understood the importance of environmental stewardship for future generations and was always in search of the next great design or engineering innovation.
A passion for community needs, education and support of the arts became a strong impetus and tradition of philanthropic support for The Gialamas Company and The Gialamas Family Foundation. Having the ability to support his community and help others grow have been some of his proudest accomplishments.
George was currently active with the UW Carbone Cancer Center and acted as an advisor for countless businesses. He previously served as a Director for AAA Wisconsin, the Business Advisory Committee and Board of Advisors for the University of Wisconsin - Madison Business School, and Cardinal Stritch University. He was also a member of the State of Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Economic Issues.
George was honored with many prestigious recognitions including the Helen Way Klinger College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, by Marquette University, was inducted into the Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame, received a Certificate of Recognition from the Department of Veterans Affairs, received Madison Executive of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award by In Business Magazine. George was honored in recognition of the millennium and is listed on The Madison All-Century List, a list of 50 people who have helped shape Madison. In 1998 he was presented with Keys to the City of Madison. On a National Level, George was the recipient of the Congressional Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding accomplishments in our nation, state and city in 2002. George was also awarded, The Archdiocesan Medal of St. Paul from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
On a personal level, George's passion was always his family. He loved boating on Lake Mendota and golfing at Bishop’s Bay Country Club, where he was a founding member. He loved sharing spectacular food and wine with his family and friends. He enjoyed the sun and many winters in his second home in Scottsdale, AZ. He loved and honored his Greek heritage, food, music, dancing and cuisine, and shared it freely with his friends.
George will leave a void in so many lives and is especially loved and will be missed by his children and grandchildren; Lana (Steve Bull) and their children Alexander and Grayson from Scottsdale, AZ, Tom and his children Candi Agapi and George of Madison, WI, Gina (Sean Byrnes) and their son Roger from Scottsdale, AZ, and Aris (Marta) and their children George, Candy, Petra and Leonidas of Madison, WI. Survivors include brother-in-law, George Korkos, several nieces, nephews and godchildren throughout the country. He is also survived by his companion Laurie Gorman.
He was predeceased by Candy Gialamas, his beloved wife of 43 years, his parents, his brother Aristotle, and sisters Joanne Manos, Carol Mitsakopoulos, Penny Korkos and Mary Ellen Kotsos.
The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation for the special care and friendship of Dr. Howard Bailey, Dr. Tracy Weigal, Dr. Anne Trayner, Mary Beth Henry RN, Stephanie Shield, and the many caregivers at the University of Wisconsin Hospital.
A special thank you to the nurses and staff at Agrace Hospice, for their compassionate care of Dad in his final days.
A visitation will be held at Cress Funeral Home at 6021 University Avenue in Madison from 2 pm - 6 pm on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Private funeral services and interment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to UW Carbone Cancer Center or Agrace HospiceCare, Inc.
May his memory be eternal…
6021 University Ave. Madison
UW Carbone Cancer Center
U.S. Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee WI 53278
Agrace HospiceCare, Inc.
5395 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg WI 53711