George Dimitruk, 66, of Center City, a photographer who took Philadelphia's picture for business and pleasure, died Sunday, Dec 4, of bladder cancer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Mr. Dimitruk's vocation was taking photos of properties for real estate agencies, but he found himself drawn to the city's neighborhoods as he drove to and from appointments.
And so, starting in 2010, he took photos of Lemon Hill Mansion, Independence Hall, the Bourse, Society Hill, Boathouse Row and other sites - and shared them online.
"There was one of Rittenhouse Square at night at Christmas," said his wife, Jody Dimitruk. "I put it on facebook page, and [the likes] exploded. That's how it got started."
Born to Russian immigrant parents in Caracas, Venezuela Mr. Dimitruk moved with his family to Milford, Conn. at age 12. He graduated from Jonathan Law High School there, while enjoying sports - especially spectator soccer.
He excelled in basketball and football, receiving state recognition as a standout safety and guard, and won a football scholarship to Temple University.
Once in Philadelphia, he realized that Center City was his home for life. In the late 1990s, he opened Mom's Pizza at 6th and Locust Streets, which he ran for several years.
After the shop closed, he turned to his true passion - photography. His father, an amateur photographer, had taught him to capture the smallest detail and to use the medium of the photo to tell a story.
"He had a vision of what he wanted it to look like," his wife said.
In 2013, 25 of his photos were displayed in a gallery at the Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. Twenty of the pictures were sold.
Encouraged by that, he created a 2016 calendar and note cards with photos of Center City neighborhoods in different seasons.
"People told me they hated to send the cards out," his wife said.
The images can be seen via www.facebook.com/MyPhiladelphiaPhotosByGeorgeDimitruk/?fref=ts.
Mr. Dimitruk also loved reading about the Civil War and the history of Philadelphia. He was a treasure trove of information about local sports figures.
In addition to his wife of 36 years, he is survived by children Dean and David Dimitruk, and Kirk Fedorsha; three grandchildren; and his former wife, Susan Fedorsha.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Mt. Vernon Room of the Logan Hotel Philadelphia, 1 Logan Square. Burial is private.
Contributions may be made to the Philadelphia chapter of Flashes of Hope, a nonprofit that provides free portraits of children battling cancer to their families, via http://flashesofhope.org/chapters/philadelphia