GEORGE P. KALAF, 79, of Port Charlotte, Florida passed away Saturday, April 19, 2008 at Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Port Charlotte.
He was born in New York City, March 1, 1929, to Nasib Kahlil and Mabel Shehadi Kalaf. The family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida six years later.
George graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1945, and then entered the University of Florida. In 1950, he received his degree in engineering, just as the Korean War erupted. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of the
After serving as a navigator on Air Force fighter planes until 1955, as first lieutenant, he elected to leave the service and utilize his engineering degree. He joined other professionals at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Silver Spring, Maryland. For the next 31 years, he was both a designer and manager of programs for underwater weapons. He was a lead designer of the Mark 48 torpedo, still in use today with the Navy, and went on to manage other dominant naval weapons programs. Twice he was the recipient of the National Civilian Service Award, one of the highest awards for government employees.
In 1985, George retired from NOL and moved to the private sector with Lockheed-Martin. He was there until 1994, managing several underwater weapons programs. After eight years, he yearned to return to Florida, and felt Port Charlotte would be a good location for rearing his two youngest sons.
In addition to his professional career, George used his natural leadership abilities in both church and community life. He was a building chairperson for community centers at both Rockville United Church, Rockville, Maryland, as well as Port Charlotte’s Pilgrim United Church of Christ where he was member. His management skills were frequently called upon by both congregations. He also eagerly assumed roles in community organizations. In addition to his active role at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, George joined the Port Charlotte Rotary, and the local Association of Retired Federal Employees, serving as officer in both organizations. Throughout his life, he embraced athletics. He played golf, tennis and bowled until disabling health limited participation.
His proudest contributions were his family. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Peggy Kalaf of Port Charlotte; their two sons, Nathan Kalaf of Orlando, FL, and Michael Kalaf living at home in Port Charlotte. Two sons from a previous marriage; Ken Kalaf of Dillon Colorado and Stephen Kalaf of Centreville, Virginia; a sister, Leila (Richard) Akers of St. Petersburg, FL; a brother, Dr. Walter (Janie) Kalaf of Gainesville, FL;
5 grandchildren, Kris, Cameron, Graham, Stephen, Tara and Amber. George embraced and was loved by his wife’s family, the Warren Kelly family near Morgantown, West Virginia.