My old friend Nick Georgenes passed away last week at the age of 78, after years of declining health. Nick along with his brother Charles were the owners of Boston’s Victoria Diner for decades. They grew up in the diner business and carried on the tradition started by their uncles James and Peter as well as their dad George. The Georgenes family along with some friends and relatives operated a chain of diners in the Boston area from the late 1920s into the 1940s. Some of the diners were operated as United Diners, Inc. but the flagship location was the 60 foot long Old Colony Diner in Boston. Other locations were Weymouth, Roxbury Crossing and Somerville. According to Dick Gutman’s American Diner Then & Now book, after James and Peter passed away in the 1940s, the chain splintered and Nick and Charlie’s dad ended up with 2 diners until selling them in 1947. He ended up buying a brand new stainless steel Jerry O’Mahony diner and opening at 1024 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston as the Victoria Diner in early 1949. Nick & Charlie took over the daily operation after George passed in the mid-1950s and 10 years later were ready for a new diner. They ended up buying a large colonial style diner from Joseph Swingle (who had sold their dad the O’Mahony in 1948-49). The Swingle diner is still operating today. Nick and Charlie Georgenes wanted to retire a dozen years ago and sold the diner to Jay Haj in 2003. I became a semi-regular customer of the diner at the age of 12 when the diner was brand-new in 1965. I have seen a lot of changes to the area as well as the diner, which the Georgenes’ continually updated periodically to keep up with the times! I became friendly with the brothers in the early 1980s when they knew of my interest and count them among my friends. They were always gracious hosts, embodying the true definition of the word “gentlemen”! I was somewhat saddened when they sold the diner as I knew I would not see them on a regular basis. But I have stayed in touch, more recently speaking with Charlie back when I was writing Classic Diners of Massachusetts. Both Nick & Charlie are mentioned in my acknowledgments for that book! I am also in touch with Nick’s sons Chris and George through Facebook! Chris was nice enough to send a photo of Nick for this post and I also spoke with George last week who filled me in on details for the upcoming wake, etc.
Here is Nick’s obituary…
Nicholas Georgenes, 78, of Walpole died suddenly and peacefully on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at The Ellis Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Norwood, Massachusetts. He was born on July 20, 1936 in Boston, Massachusetts. The son of George and Victoria (Athanasopoulos) Georgenes, Nicholas spent his childhood in Roxbury, before becoming a longtime resident of Jamaica Plain for most of his adult life. In his retirement, Nicholas became a resident of Walpole, Massachusetts. After graduating high school, Nicholas and his brother Charlie went to work with their father at the family restaurant, The Victoria Diner which was founded in 1949. For over half a century Nicholas tirelessly served patrons of Boston and beyond as The Victoria Diner stood as a landmark in the hearts and minds of all who frequented the family owned business. Between being a full time restaurateur and dedicated family man, Nicholas never hesitated to give back to his community. Some of the charities and organizations that have benefitted from Nick’s generosity include, but are not limited to, the West Roxbury-Dorchester Masonic Lodge AF & AM, Shriners Hospital, Perkins School for the Blind, Rosies Place and the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England. Nick also served as past president of the Newmarket Business Association. Nicholas sense of civic duty was rivaled only by his sense of humor. He never hesitated to don a Santa Claus suit in July to bring smiles to the young patients at the Shriners Hospital. He happily obliged when asked to dress up as a Burlesque dancer and prance around a stage at a musical revue for the spectacle and benefit of his church. Community always came first for Nicholas even at the expense of his dignity. His spirit for community and helping others remains inspiring. Nicholas enjoyed playing tennis with friends, cooking, good restaurants, traveling, the beach and sitting down with a good book. Combining several of these activities into a single experience was often successful for Nicholas. Nicholas is survived by his wife Mary; daughter, Ann; sons, George and Chris; sister, Helen; brother, Charles; his grandchildren Zoe, Robert, William , Andrea, Theodore, Nicholas and Alexander and many close friends. If you measure the quality of life based on the love of friends and family, then Nicholas lived a very blessed life. Relatives and friends can attend his funeral service on Tuesday April 14 – 10AM at Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Weston. Interment will be at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. Visiting hours will be held on Monday, April 13 – 4-8PM at the Folsom Funeral Home in Westwood. In Lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114.
For guestbook please visit www.folsomfuneral.com
Folsom Funeral Service Inc Westwood Chapel
649 High St Westwood, MA 02090
Rest in Peace Nick!