HOUSTON – George J. Kostas, a longtime member of the HCHC Board of Trustees and a major benefactor of the school, died Dec. 16 at his home. He was 97. He also gave to many philanthropic causes.
Born in Haverhill, Mass. in 1919, George spent his youth in Greece. At age 14, he returned to America unable to speak English, yet determined to attend college.
He graduated from Northeastern University (Boston) in 1943 (BS, Chemical Engineering), and received an MBA from Columbia University in 1968 and an honorary doctorate in sciences from Northeastern in 2007.
Commissioned by the Navy after college, George moved to Baytown, Texas, to pioneer the design and operation of the first synthetic rubber tire production plant during WWII, when the Allies’ natural rubber supply from Southeast Asia was cut off because of the Japanese occupation.
After 14 years at General Tire and Rubber, he managed the Organometallics Department at Continental Oil Co (now CONOCO) for 15 years.
Retiring in 1972, Kostas founded Techno-Economic Services Company where for 45 years he pursued his entrepreneurial visions in business, real estate, and philanthropies, and patented a corrosion-resistant zinc coating.
His philanthropic endeavors include Methodist Hospital (Research Center for Cardiovascular Nanomedicine), Northeastern University (Research Institute for Homeland Security; and Nanoscale Technology and Manufacturing Research Center); St George Chapel at Annunciation Cathedral and St. Basil Orthodox Church (educational center).
His wife of 61 years, Angelina (Lea), predeceased him in 2013.
Together they instilled in their daughters the value of a good education and George continued his own lifelong pursuit of self-education, often researching and studying til the wee hours of the morning.
As recently as several weeks before his death, he could be seen working with his decades-old slide rule, always insisting it was faster than a calculator, and in his expert hands, it was.
Survivors include daughters Ann Davis, Georgia Nichols, Pam Walker, Cynthia Kostas; granddaughter Stephanie Davis, M.D; grandson Dr. George Davis, and other relatives.