|Birth: ||Nov. 20, 1952|
|Death: ||Mar. 2, 2009|
'EXTREME MAKEOVER' FAMILY MOURNS LOSS OF FATHER GEORGE KADZIS
Aggressive brain cancer kept George Kadzis from ever seeing family's new home
George Kadzis got to run his hands over a model of the new home. His wife, Barbara, was planning for him to spend a night or two to "leave his presence" in the new home.
But aggressive brain cancer kept Kadzis from ever seeing the home. He died early Monday — barely 48 hours after his family received a new home from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
Kadzis, 56, was a dentist with the Florida Department of Corrections. He and his wife were the parents of 10 children, including six children adopted from China since 2001.
Hundreds of volunteers helped build the family's new home on the east side of Tallahassee in six days. The family moved in Friday — two days before Kadzis died.
"I believe he hung in there for the house to be finished to make sure Barbara and the kids were taken care of," said family friend Trish Kurowski, who nominated the family for the TV show makeover. "He was totally about his family."
Kadzis had survived brain cancer surgery in 2005 before being diagnosed with brain cancer again last Thanksgiving. He continued working as a dentist at the Wakulla Correctional Institute through Jan. 30. He went into Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on Feb. 19 — the night before ABC came to the family's doorstep to announce they were chosen from six finalists to receive a new home.
Sunday afternoon, Kadzis seemed better than he had been in days.
"I kissed him. I said 'I'll see you in the morning, I promise,' " said Barbara Kadzis. "I said 'I love you.' And he said, 'I love you.' "
But Monday at 4:44 a.m. — the time he normally awoke to take a morning run — Kadzis died. The couple had been married 19 years and had a son together. Barbara Kadzis also had three sons from a previous marriage.
George Kadzis was an Army brat, who grew up at posts in France, Japan and the U.S. He graduated from dental school in 1978 — fulfilling a career ambition he'd had since fifth grade.
He practiced in South Florida before joining the Department of Corrections in 1994. He transferred to Tallahassee in 1999.
"It takes a special person (to be a dentist in the prison system). Someone who is committed and for whom money is not a motivation," said Tom Shields, director of dental services for the Department of Corrections. "That was George. He was very dedicated."
There will be a viewing Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Culley's MeadowWood Chapel (Riggins Road). The funeral is at 10 a.m. Friday at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Published in the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Created by: ReLyRoTh
Record added: Mar 03, 2009
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