George Kriss, former Mattituck resident from 1985 to 1998, and best known to North Fork residents as manager of the Arcade Department Store in Greenport from 1984 to 1988, died peacefully at his Leesburg, Fla., home with his wife by his side after a lengthy heart-related illness. He was 83 years old.
He was born on Jan. 26, 1932, in New York City to Peter and Gertrude Kriss. He graduated from Valley Stream High School and immediately went to work as an assistant manager at F.W. Woolworth Company, which started him on a successful lifelong merchandising, operations management, and store management career in retail that he truly loved. Some of the stores he worked for in his lengthy career were the Nassau stores in Lake Success, Rogers Five and Dime in Hicksville, Forest Distributors, Suffolk stores, McCrory’s at the Walt Whitman Mall and New York City locations, Channel Home Centers, Genovese Drug Store in Mattituck, and Paperoni Party Goods all over the island. At one point he managed a store on the lower level of one of the Twin Towers, and after its awful 9/11 demise, he often commented how he would have been among the fatalities had he still been working there. When not on an extended camping trip, he enjoyed working at the Dollar General and Tuesday Morning stores near where he lived in Florida. He took his managerial responsibilities very seriously, protecting the assets of the stores he worked for during his lengthy retail career. In so doing, he put his life on the line several times. Once he was held up with a gun to his head in New York City, and another time he took a knife wound in the neck, just missing his jugular vein, while he was pursuing a shoplifter out the back door while he was managing the Arcade Department Store in Greenport.
He was proud of being a member of the Masonic Brotherhood, Babylon Lodge No. 793, F. &. A. M., earning the 32nd Degree. He was also a member of the Mecca Temple Shriners in New York City and enjoyed bringing the benevolence of the Shriners Hospitals services to children in need whom he met through the years.
He moved from Bay Shore to East Marion in 1984 and, as a bachelor at age 53, married Patricia Clancy of Levittown in 1985, moving his new family, including her two teenage children, into a brand-new home on Bayer Road in Mattituck. In the early 1990s he put an addition on their home to accommodate his elderly father, Peter, who succumbed to stomach cancer there in 1993. After retiring to Florida with his wife in 1998, they fulfilled their dream of becoming full-time campers, criss-crossing the country several times in their camper they lovingly named “Time Out,” visiting all of the continental states and Canada. They also took multiple cruises, the last two of which were to Alaska to celebrate their 25th anniversary, and to the Panama Canal to celebrate his 80th birthday. He said the highlight of his retirement was a summer-long camping trip from his home in Florida all the way up to Canada and Alaska. He looked forward to seeing a brown grizzly bear, and while driving along the Alaska Highway delighted in seeing one up close and personal as it leisurely meandered along the opposite side of the road. In the summer of 2012, on what turned out to be their last camping trip, he took ill on Prince Edward Island in Canada while touring the East Coast of North America. He was medically evacuated by air back to Florida. That illness was the beginning of a series of medical issues that ultimately led to his death on June 27 of this year.
He was the beloved and devoted husband to Patricia for 30 years; loving father to Patricia’s children, which he referred to and loved as his own children: son, Daniel Paulauskas Jr., and daughter, Kathleen (Paulauskas) Moore; dear father-in-law to Barbara and Gavin Sr.; and dear brother of Dennis and Kathy Clancy of Wheatley Heights. He was predeceased by both of his parents and his brother, Louis. He was especially proud of being the cherished Gramps to Gavin and Shannan Moore, and Daniel and Sophia Paulauskas, ranging in age from four to 10.
Upon his death he gave his body as an anatomical gift for medical research, which his father had also previously done. After his cremated remains were returned to his wife, a private Celebration of Life memorial service with close family and friends was held for him in November at the Church of Christ in West Islip. His loving family takes comfort in knowing he is now with Jesus.
Memorial donations can be made to Shriners Hospitals.
This is a paid notice.