George Thomas Chelena

george chelena
George Chelena, age 82, formerly of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania & Vienna, Virginia, entered into eternal rest on July 15, 2008 in Peoria, Arizona.

Surviving are his wife, Phyllis; daughter Carol (Tim) Pfefle & son David (Dawn) Chelena; children through marriage: Alicia (Eric) Timbo, Peter (Cassie) Kovalick, Kathleen (Scott) Gass, & Gregory Kovalick; 14 grandchildren; three sisters, Helen Evosevich, Barbara Speelman, & Theresa Christy; & many nieces, nephews & their families. He was predeceased in death by his parents; two brothers, Michael & Charles; & three sisters, Marie Chelena, Anne Bernacki, & Elizabeth Gerwell.

Mr. Chelena served in the U.S Navy from March 1944 until February 1947. He was employed by the Department of the Navy as a civilian from May 1951 until September 1979.

Funeral Home:

Money & King Funeral Home

171 W. Maple Ave.

Vienna, VA

US 22180

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. George created and directed our Chorale group of acapela singers for 8 years here in Arizona. He was a hard taskmaster but got the very best from all of us. We got to perform at many places in our area and brought a lot of joy to others. I was very proud to be a member of the group of 40-50 singers. When George first became ill – he fought and defeated the cancer and never gave in but continued courageously to fight. We all were so happy he got better. The second time he got ill, he again rallied and fought the good fight. He always encouraged us to excellence in everything and he will be truly missed. My husband, George, was given the opportunity to annouce the group and really enjoyed it. Phyllis was there through it all and never lost her courage. Judy and George Fishwick

  2. Phyllis, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. George was certainly a man of unique vision and great musical talent. He has had quite an impact on a great many lives. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon the George Chelena Chorale in Vienna, VA. I have so many memories . . . of the group, of the wonderful performances from the White House to a nursing home, of the rehearsals when we frustrated George by not giving what he knew we were capable of to the pleasure we felt when we met his standards, to the parties where we just relaxed and socialized, and usually ended up singing a number or two. I’ll never forget strolling through the halls of Fairfax Hospital at Christmas time. What joy we gave and received. It was an unforgetable time. He was an unforgetable man. And I will always remember him and you and those times “looking through the eyes of love”. May those memories sustain you. Love, Carol

  3. We know Uncle George as a loving family member. We have fond memories of his humerous nature and positive attitude while dealing with many life challenges. During the past 25+ years we have had many enjoyable and meaningful times together. As recently as June, along with, Phyllis and Beth, we attended an adventure movie, followed by dinner. A fun time. Uncle George, like always was very upbeat discussing their planned move back to Virginia. His constant positive attitude was an inspiration to all that knew him. He is now directing a heavenly choir. He will be missed. Our love to Phyllis, Carol, David and all family members.

  4. Phyllis, Ken and I were so saddened to read about George’s passing. We talk often about you guys and the group and what a wonderful experience that it was. He made us feel special even those of us who weren’t the best of singers.(me) You are in our thoughts and prayers. Much love!

  5. George Chelena, my friend and mentor! I will always have fond memories of him and the George Chelena Chorale! He reinvigorated my love of music, especially his beautiful, unique interpretation of the American Songbook. I think he must have favored the Tenor section because he arranged such pleasing Tenor parts! I will never forget the time spent with him and Phyllis during my Arizona trip several years ago! I truly enjoyed that special time to be with him and to play music with him! At his computer he would transpose keyboard music to score sheet. What fun it was to play songs impromptu from the “Fake Book” and comp on the keyboard! I consider myself very lucky to have known George and will treasure my memories forever! May he rest in peace and harmony! With love, John Korfonta

  6. Thoughts of my brother and uncle, George – We will never forget the many conversations with him. He was always interested in all aspects of life. He was a loyal fan to his AZ Diamondbacks. Will miss our discussion regarding the ups and downs of our baseball teams. Our love for George lives on in our memories.

  7. My friend George was an inspiration to me. When I was struggling with the stresses of work and life in general, he always encouraged me to think positive, and to trust in God. When my work was dragging me down, he would always say, I quote, “Don’t let those, Bleeps get you down because you’re better than they are, and it’s only a job.” His confidence was important to me, and it was nice to have someone to confide in. It was amazing how similar we were in what we considered important in life, and how frustrated we both were on how the world is today. It was truly uncanny. We had many interesting talks. I’ve often told people that had it not been for George, and his group, I probably wouldn’t have progressed musically like I did, so he left a lasting impression on me not only as a friend, but as a mentor. His talent on what he could create musically, and what he could get out of people musically truly amazed me. I will also cherish the times we spent together watching Redskin football at each other’s homes regularly, in addition to be able to laugh at so many subjects. I remember the wonderful ocean cruise we and our wives took to the Caribbean, and the fun we had. George had no idea the positive impression he left on people. I particularly understood that drive for, “as close to perfection, as possible,” because I could relate. I was always hoping that he would return to Virginia someday to live out the rest of his life, but it wasn’t in God’s plan. I can however, cherish the years I spent with him. George! keep that heavenly choir in tune, we’ll miss you down here, but you’ve got another assignment up there. Love you, John

  8. George fought a valiant struggle to the very end; always positive in his ability and willingness to move forward. I was priviledged to know him and know that Phyllis and his family will miss the twinkle in his eyes.

  9. Our best wishes and prayers to Phyllis, Carol and David. We always held George in the highest regard for his fellowship, musical talents and the ability to inspire people to do their best. We’re sure that he will immediately be directing the choir of Angels. May God continue to bless George.

  10. Just a word of condolence to the Chelena Family, to let them know that our hearts go out to them for their loss and that our prayer and thoughts are with the family as they cope with these trying times. I remember visiting George in Falls Church around the late 1950’s, early 1960’s with my parents Andy and Ann Brenzovich, who were living in Alexandria VA at the time. Prayers and Thoughts Are With You

  11. David and Dawn, It has been many years, but wanted to send our condolences. Unfortunately, we know the pain you are currently enduring. Hang in there. Best Wishes, Mark, Millie and family

  12. To Phyllis and family, I admired and will always remember George’s great smile, good humor and warm spirit. Phyllis, you did a wonderful job as his wife and caregiver and I know he felt cherished and lovingly cared for during the course of his illness. Thanks for inviting the Intracorp people to his lovely memorial at St. Stephen’s; it was very beautiful and timeless. I hope that you and your family find comfort in the words and actions of those who sympathize with the profound loss of George’s passing in the days ahead. Love, Denise

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools