Mansour George Zain – George, as he was known – was born in Charleston, West Virginia on December 9, 1929 to Peter and Matilda Zain, both immigrants of Lebanon and Syria. The oldest of three children, George helped provide for the family from a young age. When he was still a teen, he would spend summers in Ft. Wayne, Indiana working on his relatives’ farms and in their well-drilling business. Later, he would spend his summers and eventually move to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he worked for his uncle, George Skaff, in his restaurant.
It was during this time, at a church convention in Grand Rapids, that he met his future wife, Lorraine Haddad. George and Lorraine were married on April 16, 1950 at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. The couple remained in Grand Rapids to raise their family, having celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past April.
George served in the United States Army from 1952-54. Before that, while working at his uncle’s restaurant, George was offered a job at Armour Food Company in 1949. It would become his one and only job. While the company would be bought out and reincarnate itself several times, George remained through every change, only completely retiring at 90 years old at the end of 2019. Most of his 70 years with Armour were spent as a salesman with one account. Early on, he was asked to call on a new supermarket chain called Meijer’s Thrifty Acres. That would be his one and only account for his entire tenure, where he developed life-long friendships with the Meijer family and many of the first executives there.
At home, George was just as tireless in his work ethic, meticulously caring for his flowers and his yard on the outside and making sure the inside was always perfect. As they grew older, George and Lorraine would spend the winters in Marco Island, Florida, enjoying each other’s company along with that of their many church friends and relatives who would also reside there in the winter.
Everyone knew George as a fun-loving, life-of-the-party individual who loved to entertain, tell jokes and feed people. Most every Sunday and holiday would be spent either entertaining family and friends, or visiting them. Never would a holiday pass without these same people receiving a personal visit from George delivering a turkey at Thanksgiving or a ham at Easter and Christmas and loads of Armour hotdogs, bacon and lunchmeat all year around.
George also faithfully served St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church for decades as a parish council chairman, assistant treasurer and member over many decades. He served on the building committee for both the Boston Street church and the current location on East Paris Avenue. He was a member of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the charitable arm of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and both chaired and volunteered on countless Calder Art and church festivals and picnics over the years.
George reposed on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. He is survived by his loving wife Lorraine and four children: Patricia (Richard) Neuman, Douglas (Tonia), Stephen, and Fr. Thomas (Claudia). His sister, Jean Zain Laramy, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren also survive him. George’s parents and brother, Pete, predeceased him.
Funeral arrangements are scheduled at St. Nicholas Church: 2250 E. Paris Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
Sunday, July 5: Viewing from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and again at 6:00-8:00 p.m., with a Trisagion Service at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, July 6: Viewing at 10:00am following by the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. The funeral will be live-streamed via the church website at stnicholasgr.com/watch-live.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church.
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church
2250 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546