George E. Polychronis
George Ernest Polychronis, 83, died peacefully, surrounded by his family in his Park City home on May 23, 2011. Emphysema and cancer destroyed his body, but his mind and keen wit remained intact. Please don’t smoke.
George was born on January 14, 1928, in Park City, Utah, to Greek immigrant parents James and Melba Polychronis. He was very proud of his Greek heritage. He married Jessie Roach, also of Park City, on May 31, 1953, in Elko, Nevada. Lifelong residents of Park City, they spent the next 58 years side by side, building their businesses and raising their three sons.
George graduated from Park City High School and joined the U.S. Army. He served with occupation forces in the Philippines and Japan. World War II ended immediately after his induction into the military no coincidence, according to him.
George’s true passion was business. His standard greeting was "How’s biz?" Hard work, perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit defined his life. The grocery business was in his blood. While still a boy, he worked with his father in the family business, the Palace Meat & Grocery, on Park City’s Main Street. When his father died in 1955, he took over the store and continued to operate it until 1961, when Park City’s failing mining economy forced him to close.
It wasn’t long, however, until the town’s blossoming ski industry gave him new hope. In 1963, he and his brother Charlie reopened the store as Mt. Air Market. The business thrived and by 1973 it had outgrown the Main Street location. George relocated Mt. Air to Iron Horse Drive and continued to successfully operate the store until 1980.
In 1974, George opened Mt. Air Variety, a dry goods store, on Main Street and operated it until 1981. Because he and Charlie needed a place to have a good cup of coffee, he opened Mt. Air Café in 1976. It quickly became a Park City institution. A Kamas version opened in 1991.
Mt. Air was a family business. Brothers, sisters, sons, nephews and nieces all learned the value of hard work at the markets and cafes. 2006, George’s failing health forced him to retire and the Mt. Air era came to an end.
George loved Park City, his garden, good food, dogs, cool tools, road trips, random odd facts, Cadillacs and Lincolns. He was happiest when with his family.
George is survived by his wife Jessie, his sons and daughters-in-law Jeff and Susie, Tim and Shamby and Scott and Carrie, his grandsons Joey, Cole, Reese, Corey and Kyle, his brother Charlie, and his sister Catherine. He is preceded in death by his brother Robert and his sisters Mary, Helen and Sophia. George’s remains will be interred at the Park City Cemetery following a private family service. There will be a celebration of George’s life at Squatters Roadhouse Grill & Pub, Park City, on Sunday, June 12, 2011, at 5:00 p.m.
George’s family would like to thank the staff of Intermountain Hospice for their care in his final days. Please consider a donation in George’s name to the American Lung Association or the American Cancer Society.
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