Cypriot Businessman George Paraskevaides Passes Away
Nicosia, Dec 5 - Well-known Cypriot businessman George Paraskevaides died at the age of 91 Wednesday in The London Clinic.
Mr. Paraskevaides was one of the owners of one of the biggest development companies in the world, Joannou and Paraskevaides, and continuously demonstrated his care for his fellow citizens through financial support for medical treatment. He also helped promote Cypriot culture.
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed in a written statement his profound and sincere grief for Mr. Paraskevaides' death, noting that Cyprus owes a lot to him. "He was a model of humanity, dignity and kindness. He offered a lot in aselfless way to those who needed help and was a benefactor for Cyprus, serving his country with patriotism," the statement said. "He leaves behind him charity work for which he will be dearly remembered as a man of high moral standards," he added.
Mr. Paraskevaides was born in Athens in 1916. Soon after his birth he moved with his family to Cyprus, where he excelled in his studies at the Pancyprian Gymnasium of Nicosia. He completed his formal education in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic, Italy, at the outbreak of World War II.
He set up the contracting and civil engineering firm Joannou & Paraskevaides, in association with Stelios Joannou, today one of the biggest development companies in the world.
By 1961, J&P began to venture abroad, targeting first North Africa and then the Middle East. It now has a well-established international presence covering large parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
J&P employs thousands of people, a world-wide team of qualified professionals. It also maintains an important social policy to give back to the community. This includes the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation which sends sick Cypriot children to the US for medical care.
The George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation has formed links with Shriners Hospital in Springfield, MA, and Children's Heart Fund Hospital in Minneapolis and has provided numerous scholarships for less fortunate Cypriots. Mr. Paraskevaides founded the Cyprus Kidney Association, the Surgical and Transplant Foundation and the Cyprus Heart Association.
Mr. Paraskevaides received several prestigious honors, including the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Oman III, Class Civil by Sultan Qaboos of Oman, the Rotary Foundation Medal, and the Medal of Merit of the Lions International Club of Nicosia, the St. Paul's Medal by the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of North and South America, and the St. Marcus Medal by the Pontifice.
He was an honorary citizen of Nicosia and received the Golden Apple Award from Mayor Edward Koch, of New York. He was awarded the Aristotelian Award by the Greek-American Organization AHEPA, the Person of the Year for 1986 by the Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee, and Distinguished Hellene Award by the Hellenic Medical Society of New York and the Freedom Award of the Pancyprian Association of America.