George Potoczniak

March 13, 1944May 31, 2018

When George was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early December, he was resolved to beat the odds. He had already overcome prostate cancer, a heart attack, and even a bum hip. During these most difficult periods of his life, George drew his strength from his faith; he believed that every day is a gift that cannot be wasted. He left this world peacefully on May 31, 2018 with his last breath taken while praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the presence of family and friends.

George Potoczniak was born in Germany to a Ukrainian family on March 13, 1944. He along with his father, mother, and sister, Iryna, were fortunate to find themselves in the British sector of Berlin at the end of the war, which allowed his family to immigrate to the United States and settle in Newark, New Jersey, where he was raised and completed his formal education.

After graduating from Weequahic HS, he attended Newark College of Engineering and received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. Life for George really opened up after commencement: he met the love of his life, Irene, at a Ukrainian Cultural Club event, they married in Newark and moved to New Orleans, where he embarked on a career that would later take him and his family across the United States and abroad.

Over the last five decades, George put his engineering skills to work at numerous companies that included Shell Oil Company (New Orleans, LA), Murphy Oil (Duluth Minn.), and since 1974, in Houston at Brown & Root, Fluor, Huffco, and Kellogg Brown & Root, from where he retired. Some of his assignments were international and included remote places as far as Indonesia. During his time as an expat in Egypt, George developed a keen interest in organizing tours for fellow expats and their families to the many ancient and historic sites of the region. He was thrilled to accompany his wife on tours to religious destinations in Europe. In 1993, a few years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, he established contact and visited with the Potoczniak family in Western Ukraine.

After his retirement, he looked forward to domestic road trips especially visiting West Virginia and Virginia and sampling the wines there as well as eating at authentic BBQ joints along the way. In addition to his hobbies of traveling and wine tasting, his greatest joy was baking and sharing bread with family and friends. For the past 40+ years, like clockwork, he baked traditional Christmas and Easter breads that celebrated his Ukrainian heritage. He took great pride in his gardening, building "Mount Compost" in the backyard, so he could use it to grow a wide variety of herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, and roses. George also participated in the spiritual life at St. Vincent de Paul. He was an active member in the ACTS community, the parish council, and That Man Is You!

George was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He recently celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary, which unfortunately occurred exactly on the day their home of 44 years flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Always the optimist, he even found joy in this tragic experience appreciating the community assistance and support during this event.

George was preceded in death by his parents, Johanna and Michael Potoczniak, and his sister, Iryna Scharunovych. He is survived by his wife of 50+ years, Irene, and three children, Anthony (and Michelle), Lydia (and Ivan Tkachenko), and Adriana (and Eric Estes), and six grandchildren, Aiden, Sofia, Adrian, Harper, Emmanuel, Eva, all of whom live in Houston and have celebrated their lives and accomplishments with him.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in George's name to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Society, 6800 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, Texas 77025. George's family also wishes to express their gratitude for the many doctors and nurses at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who cared for him and for the prayers and support of the parish community as well as friends and family.

Visitation: Wednesday June 6, 2018, 5-7 pm at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church (SVdP) 6800 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77025 with Rosary/Vigil Service at 7 pm.

Funeral Mass: Thursday June 7, 2018, 10 am at SVdP Catholic Church, 6800 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77025.

Following the Mass you are cordially invited to greet the family at a reception in the Monsignor Jamail Family Center located on the church grounds.


  • Visitation Wednesday, June 6, 2018
  • Rosary Wednesday, June 6, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, June 7, 2018

George Potoczniak

have a memory or condolence to add?

Nikki Soika

August 22, 2018

Renia and family, It has been a number of years since I last spoke with ya'll. I am so sorry to hear of George's passing. You are in thoughts and prayers. Praying you will find peace and comfort in the days to come. Hugs.

wesley moreland

June 6, 2018

George was such a dear friend and our sympathy and prayers go out to all his family.

Wes and Mary Helen Moreland

Taras Olesnyckyj

June 6, 2018

Dear Renia I am very sorry for your loss of your husband George! He was a one of a kind person and he will be missed by all of us! I will never forget when you both welcomed me with open arms to your home in DeLuth Minnesota in the summer of 1972! You both invited me not only to your home but you also to see Joel Grey in Cabaret!

Taras & Norma Olesnyckyj

Christine Aguilar

June 6, 2018

A tearful goodbye to my loving uncle – Vuyko Yurko!

It’s been a great blessing and honor to know you. Thank you for your love and gentle support through the years. Your mischievous smile and joie de vivre spirit are forever embedded in my memories. I love you!

Vuyko, I remember the time you shared with me how you were fascinated with the story of Saint Teresa de Avila. You sent me the book ‘Let Nothing Disturb You’ – a series of meditations drawn from her various works written at difficult times in her life.

Thanks to you my dear Vuyko, I find comfort at this time in the words of St. Teresa de Avila : Let nothing disturb the silence of this moment with you, Oh Lord.

To my loving Aunt, Teta Renia and my cousins, Anthony, Lydia and Adriana, and their children, our deepest condolences. Holding you close in our prayers during your time of sorrow. God’s peace to you.
Chrystia, David and Olena Aguilar

Melanne verveer

June 6, 2018

Dear Renia,

My heart goes out to you and your family on the loss of your dear husband and their father and grandfather. May your faith, family and friends as well as your wonderful memories sustain and strengthen you in the weeks ahead. You are in my thoughts and prayers and have my deepest sympathy.
Vechnaya Pamyat! Eternal Memory!


Luzia Turner

June 5, 2018

Our hearts go out to Irene, Anthony, Lydia and Adriana and their families. Both Pete and I are saddened for your loss. Keeping you in our prayers.
Luzia & Pete Turner

Andre Robinson

June 4, 2018

I am sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort help you to endure this difficult time. Losing someone so special is never easy. Just know our Creator is aware of your pain and he promises to help. Philippians 4:6,7

Andre Robinson

June 4, 2018

I am sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort help you to endure this difficult time. Losing someone so special is never easy. Just know our Creator is aware of your pain and he promises to help. Philippians 4:6,7

Larisa Scates

June 4, 2018

Oh, Yura, I will miss your warm hugs and happy smile whenever we met! To Renia and all his family, Robert and I offer our deepest condolences - he will be sorely missed. May perpetual light shine upon his soul.

Alma Gresham

June 4, 2018

For several years, Irene, we were neighbors in the jungles of Borneo. And I was privileged to teach your youngest in preschool. Of course everyone knew each other in the clearing and bonded sharing this experience. All the Bontang community will be saddened by George's passing. May God grant you peace and strength and comfort.