Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FAREWELL, FAMOUS GEORGE



Famous George was someone who truly fit the description "one of a kind."

He was a huge fellow in physical stature and personality. Notably gregarious, outgoing, and proud of his Greek heritage. Some revered him as an iconoclast, while others were not-so-fond of his cheerfully bombastic style. But regardless of the opinions that surrounded this colorful fellow, he could not be ignored.

Visitors to his "Dinner Bell Diner" on Bank Street in Painesville were treated with the care one might reserve for close family members. George took pride in his restaurant, and every facet of its operation. He personally greeted patrons who had come for a meal. His food, atmosphere, and service were unmatched by any competitor. Eventually, the diner grew into a museum, meeting place, and cultural way-station. But the authenticity did not go pale with commercial excess.

Famous George dependably remained a humble, if vociferous, servant of the community.

For myself, visits with George were always exciting. When Johnny Cash played the Lake County Fair, the food entrepreneur appeared with a dozen boquets of red roses for June Carter. The audience cheered his presence as if he were part of the performance. The man literally seemed to be everywhere.

I paused at his restaurant frequently, while living just around the corner on Chestnut Street. It was a friendly place to meditate over steak tips with noodles, and a Feta cheese salad. Being treated to breakfast at his 'front table' by the cash register was an experience that will live forever in my memory. It was there that I first met radio personality Mike Trivisonno. Giddy with the moment, I introduced him to the Famous One. Years later, Triv still spoke lovingly of the diner and its memory. We both wished for one more meal at the venue.

Sadly, George passed away last week, in Massachusetts. His obituary was featured in The News-Herald and online at www.ccbfuneral.com:

George Andrew Diskes
October 9, 1938 - July 24, 2008

Birth Place: Peabody MA
Resided In: Ohio and Peabody
Visitation: Monday, July 28, 2008 Details
Services: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 Details
Cemetery: Harmony Grove Crematory Details

George A. Diskes, 69 of Peabody, MA, died Wednesday, July 23, 2008 in the Salem Hospital after a lengthy illness with his family by his side. He was born in Peabody on October 9,, 1938, the son of the late Nick Xenios and Irene (Stamation) Diskes and had resided in Ohio and California before moving back to Peabody five years ago.

He had been a salesman for Sears, Roebuck And Company and later for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

He then went into the restaurant business for over 30 years and was the owner of George’s famous Dinner Bell Diner in Painesville, Ohio where he hosted many parties featuring famous celebrities. He favorite was Zsa Zsa Gabor who he later became friends with. He also hosted the television program, “The David Brinkley Show” of which an episode was filmed out of his diner.

He was a philanthropist donating money and food to area food pantries and shelters. He would also bring a group of friends to visit children’s hospitals dressed as fairy-tale characters.

He was a veteran of the Korean War serving with the US Navy and stationed on tugboats in Philadelphia, PA.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Mariana Diskes of Rowley, MA, his daughter, Ellen Sauvageau of Peabody, his brother and sister-in-law, John and Patricia Diskes of Middleton, his sister, Evangeline Jones of Peabody, his five loving grandchildren, Sofia and Catalina Diskes of Rowley and Emily and Michael Sauvageau and Jack Pierce all of Peabody, his step brothers and sisters of California and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A Visitation will be held on Monday from 4:00 until 8:00 PM at the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home at the 82 Lynn St., Peabody facility. A Funeral Service will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday at 11:00 AM. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 330 Congress St. 5th floor, Boston, MA 02110 in his memory.

Comments from around the nation appeared in the CCB guestbook. They paid tribute to one who was incredibly pure in spirit, and yet able to conjure exotic visions of greatness. He was gifted. Yet he passed too quickly...

Farewell, Famous George. We always loved you!

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