George J. Houpis

George J. Houpis

Died January 31, 2011

George came to Yale in 1961 from Concord, Massachusetts, via Phillips Academy where he had been a standout track star. In his book Athletics for All Fred Harrison (Yale ’42), the director of athletics at Phillips describes how George won first place in the shot put in the 1961 interscholastic competition. The school’s newspaper, the Phillipian, devoted considerable coverage to the efforts of George and a classmate to form a multi-institutional literary magazine and the challenges of raising corporate funding to reach their goal.

At Yale George majored in Russian studies. He held both the Yale-Andover and Yale Alumni Club of Boston scholarships during his entire time in New Haven, resided in Saybrook and spent his junior year abroad at the University of Munich in West Germany.

George sang in the freshman glee club and participated in freshman and varsity winter and spring track, earning his major Y during his sophomore year. The Yale Track Newsletter reports that in the March, 1965 meet with Dartmouth at Hanover, George and teammate Bill Hopkins filled in for absent Yalies and took first and second place in the 35 lb. weights with best-ever throws.

George died on January 31, 2011.

Justs Karlsons remembers: I got to know George on the ship to Europe on our way for our junior year abroad in Munich. After a rough start with seasickness, George recovered to become the life of the many parties on this one class 400 passenger student ship. His piano and other musical talents, combined with the singing talents of other students, kept us entertained the whole way to Amsterdam. In Munich we ended up in adjacent housing and shared many German and other friends. We hiked the Alps, participated in track events, celebrated Fasching and did some studying as well. During the spring break George took off for Greece to search out his roots. While he always expressed an affinity for his Greek/Macedonian heritage, after his time in Greece he firmly decided to go back there to stay someday. And this he did some years after graduation. He remained there until his untimely death from melanoma about three or four years ago. He lived in Athens, worked in banking and was divorced twice leaving behind two sets of kids.

We lost touch over the years but about five years ago he unexpectedly came to join me in Latvia for a brief visit. He looked tired and somewhat lost but never complained about life. I never heard anything about his illness. On that last visit he was full of plans to get back into banking. We parted with me promising to visit him in Athens. Regrettably, I never got there before receiving a call from his daughter that he had died.

I still have a promise to keep to to visit his family in Greece and hope to do so in the not too distant future. He was a good friend with whom I shared great times during our college years and e brought joy to many. I am sure he has found a Greek corner in wherever he may be.