In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Georg C. Deyab learned that his kidneys were failing. He would need hemodialysis three days a week and eventually a kidney transplant. Two years later, a kidney donor stepped forward. But on the day Georg was scheduled for a pre-op visit, she changed her mind. After that crushing disappointment, Georg’s quality of life deteriorated.
He and his husband, Brian Morris, were on their way back to their Hingham home from Provincetown on Oct. 1 when Georg turned and said, “You know, Brian, I have absolutely no joy in life.”
“Three hours later,” Brian wrote in his eulogy for Georg, “he collapsed and died in my arms.” Georg was 63.
One of two sons of Charles and Beatrice (Sabbey) Deyab, Georg was born on Sept. 27, 1960 in Cambridge. His father was a letter carrier and his mother a convenience store clerk.
Because he went to elementary school at a time before there were learning disability specialists and programs, Georg’s severe dyslexia made learning math, geometry, and reading almost impossible. He was labeled “a dummy” by his teachers and ridiculed by his fellow students, said Brian, but Georg emulated his role model, Cherilyn Sarkisian, a.k.a. Cher, and beat the odds.
He taught himself to read, graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in 1977, and earned his B.A. in French from Boston College in 1981, all without the support of his mother, who mocked him as stupid when he was young and refused to let him come home from college during summer breaks, forcing him to live in his car, according to Brian’s eulogy.
Two years after finishing college, Georg met Brian by chance in Harvard Square. Brian was a student at the Harvard School of Public Health. After a first date three days later, the couple began a 40-year journey together.
For a dyslexic young man with a degree in French, finding a job was a challenge. In 1990, however, Georg was hired as a customer service representative with FedEx in Medford, a job he loved and held until his death. He had supportive coworkers and never lost his appreciation for the chance FedEx gave him to build a career.
Georg and Brian began spending weekends in Provincetown in the late 1980s and bought a piece of land in 1990 in hopes of one day building their own house, which was completed in 2005. They split their time between Hingham and Provincetown thereafter.
Georg loved his Friday evening gallery strolls through Provincetown. One evening, Lori Byrne, an employee at Hilda Neily’s gallery, suggested that Georg and Brian take a plein air painting class with Hilda through the Cape School of Art.
The first exercise in that class was painting colored wooden blocks arranged on a table to explore how colors change when placed next to other colors. Painting geometric shapes was not easy for Georg, so he “gave up on the assignment and did his own thing with splashes of paint,” wrote Brian. When Hilda saw Georg’s work, “she exclaimed, ‘Brilliant!’ ”
Georg went on to paint for pleasure and was gratified when his first painting sold at an art auction sponsored by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Georg was, Brian said, “thrilled that someone liked it enough to want to buy it.”
“Besides loving FedEx, Georg loved animals,” Brian wrote in his eulogy. He once bought a rescue Pomeranian that had spent its life producing puppies in a puppy mill and did not know the simplest of things, such as how to play with a dog toy or how to navigate stairs. Instead of taking the stairs step by step, she would simply throw herself down the staircase. She loved Georg and would never leave his side.
Georg was also, Brian wrote, “a hopeless packrat” who “would take anything that was free” and would triple bag it, “bag in a bag in a bag, three bags for a fistful of coffee stirrers or a bunch of sugar packets.” That habit generated tension that ended in laughter.
Georg is survived by his husband, Brian Morris of Provincetown; a brother, John Dayeb of Cambridge; niece Jacqueline Dayeb of Cambridge; and numerous cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Lawrence Dayeb.
Georg’s funeral took place on Oct. 13, 2023, at Provincetown Cemetery. He was buried in his FedEx uniform holding an envelope of memorabilia. A collation at the Commons, Georg’s favorite place, followed.
Donations in Georg’s name may be made to an animal charity of the donor’s choice.