George Joseph Anthony Homolka
George Joseph Anthony Homolka, Ph.D., passed away on August 2, 2016 in Pelhrimov, Czech Republic. His family, friends and community celebrated his life and mourned his passing at his funeral in Želiv Monastery Cathedral the following week. He was buried in the family crypt below the Chapel of the Fourteen Auxiliary Saints at Zámek Březina, Kraj Vysočina, Czech Republic.
George was born on January 28, 1938 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to George and Katerina Homolka. He spent his early childhood on the family estate of Zámek Březina in Březina, Czechoslovakia. After living through World War II, in 1948 the Homolkas, including ten-year-old George, were forced to flee the country. He was allowed to take one book with him. Young George chose “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea” which he subsequently memorized through all his readings. The Homolkas spent eighteen months in refugee camps in Germany. They then moved to Rhodesia. At the time, George did not know any English; he learned his first English sentence on the ship, which was, "My name is George."
He studied at Saint George’s College, a Jesuit boarding school for boys in Salisbury, Rhodesia. After St. George’s, he earned his bachelors degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. After some time living in Zambia and the UK, George was sponsored by dear family friends to come to the United States of America. He lived with them in Washington, DC and worked for Voice of America radio station. George was then recruited to work for Corning Glassworks in Corning, NY, where he met the love and light of his life, Barbara Jean Hunt. After a whirlwind courtship, they married in 1964 in Oneonta, New York. Later they moved to Troy, NY, where he earned his masters degree and PhD in Chemical Engineering at Renssalaer Polyntechnic Institute. In 1971, the growing Homolka family moved to Houston. There, George began his work in the oil and gas industry. In 1974, they moved to Saudi Arabia, where he worked for Saudi Arabian Oil Company, “Aramco.” George worked in the computer engineering department of Aramco, where one highlight of his career was designing the computerization of the oil refinery. Several Arabian Sun articles were written about George and his mentoring of Saudi engineering students, and his robotics program. George loved to travel throughout his life, with his wife and children, and living in Saudi Arabia gave them a home base from which to explore the world.
In 1991, George retired from Saudi Aramco, and, thanks to the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, moved back to his family estate of Zámek Březina alongside with his wife. George and Barbara worked with son David to rebuild the chateau, farm and business over these past twenty-five years, finally turning the family legacy over to David to carry on.
There is an old family story that when George was a young boy, he sat on the edge of his bed in the chateau and thought, “I shall go away from Březina and have many adventures, and then come back home,” and so he did.
George is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Barbara Jean Hunt Homolka; daughter Leslie Katherine Craigmyle; son David Andrew Homolka and his wife Milena; daughter Caroline Homolka Masters and her husband Tim; daughter Alice Tate and her husband Christian; and daughter Ann Homolka Wright and her husband Peter. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Kristyna Katerina Homolkova, Charlotte Rose Tate, David Adam Homolka, Benjamin Hunt Masters, Margaret Delaney Tate, Samuel David Masters, and Taylor Theresa Tate.
In memory of George Anthony Homolka, a fund has been set up to assist St. George’s College, Harare, Zimbabwe with their exciting new Science Block project. Kindly make your donations by emailing Mrs. Pelly Wood [email protected] to request bank account transfer information. Those who wish to pass along condolences to the family, may do so via email to [email protected].