In Loving Memory of John G. Betar, Sr.

July 20, 1911
Soueidieh, Syria
September 12, 2018
Trumbull, CT
Funeral Home

Spear-Miller Funeral Home

39 South Benson Road,
Fairfield CT US 06824


Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

5458 Park Avenue,
CT 06604

September 17, 2018


Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church

Funeral Service

5458 Park Avenue,
CT 06604

Monday, September 17, 2018 1:00 p.m.


Mountain Grove Cemetery, Garden Mausoleum

2675 North Avenue,
CT 06604

September 17, 2018

Family Gathering


Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church

5458 Park Avenue,
CT 06604

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

501 St. Jude Place,
TN 38105

John George Betar, Sr.

John George Betar, Sr., 107, of Fairfield, CT, died of old age on September 12 in Trumbull, CT, surrounded by his wife of 85 years, other loving family, and devoted caregivers. Born in Soueidieh, Syria (now Samandag, Turkey), on July 20, 1911, to George Michael Betar and Mary Bal, John immigrated to the United States as a ten-year-old with his older brother, Michael George Betar. After a long journey by boat, they landed in Providence, RI, and eventually reunited with their father in Bridgeport, CT. John attended Prospect School through the eighth grade and then began peddling fruit along Connecticut’s Gold Coast in the 1920s. He also played baseball for the Polish Falcon League. Around 1930 he met the love of his life, a Bassick High School student named Ann Shawah. Ann’s hand had been promised to a distant relation, but John and Ann were determined to be together. They eloped on November 25, 1932, in Harrison, NY, much to the surprise of some relatives, who exclaimed, “This marriage will never last.” Just after their 80th wedding anniversary in 2012, John and Ann were honored by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter as one of America’s longest married couples. The Betars celebrated their 85th wedding anniversary in November 2017, and prior to John’s passing, they were thought to be the world’s longest living married couple. John was the owner of Betar’s Market in two sequential locations on Broad Street in Bridgeport and worked there tirelessly from the mid-1930s to 1967, when he took up real estate and passed ownership of the grocery store to his brother Michael. He was a founding father of Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Bridgeport and served as Parish Council President from 1957 to 1968. From 1991 to 2005 the Betars divided their time between Fairfield and West Palm Beach, FL. As a centenarian John continued to grow his own tomatoes, bargain hunt in Fairfield grocery stores, and enjoy Tuesday night poker games. Most of all he thrived on time spent with his wife and family on Fairfield Beach. John is survived by his wife Ann; three of his five children—Maryann Skelton of Portland, ME, Judith Metro of Washington, DC, and Renee C. Betar of Litchfield, CT; twelve of fourteen grandchildren; and sixteen great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind a nephew, Michael G. Betar Jr., of Huntington, NY. John is predeceased by a son, John G. Betar Jr., and a daughter, Joan B. Mitchell, both of Fairfield. John also lived on after two of his grandchildren, Ruth Skelton of Lewiston, ME, and Andrew Pike of Litchfield, CT. A funeral service will be held Monday, September 17, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, 5458 Park Ave, Bridgeport with the Very Rev. Father Romanos Malouf officiating. Entombment will follow in Mt. Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport. The family will receive friends Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the church. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John George Betar Sr. may be made to Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. For information or to offer an online condolence please visit

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20 Guestbook Entries for John George Betar, Sr.

  1. The legacy of John’s long and inspirational life will be told for generations to come. I honor and thank you !

  2. What an amazing man. Thank you for your beautiful spirit that brought joy into the lives of so many who knew you and even those who just read or watched about you. Rest in Peace Gido, and watch over Sito now, and the rest of your beautiful family….. xoxo

  3. Dear Heather, I wish to express my condolences on the loss of your grandfather. What a remarkable life he lived! May the memories of your time together keep you in good spirits at this difficult time. sincerely, Michael Cordaro (SNS)

  4. Ann,
    We had fondness for John. He will be sourly missed. What an accomplishment being married for 85 years. Yet this is nothing compared to what the Bible promises. In fact it says that soon we will be reunited with our loved ones right here on a paradise earth with no more sickness or death and able to live forever. Ann I am sending you a link to a short video that explains how this is possible. Please get one of your great grandchildren to help you. Ann our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this most difficult time in your life.

  5. Love to your whole family. Especially Cory and Renee. Thinking of you.
    Reading this amazing life story gave me goosebumps in a good way. What an inspiring life!

  6. Dear Aunt Ann & Family, My deepest condolences go out to all. Uncle John will always have a special place in my heart along with his bright, warm smile. His gentle, loving heart and pleasant, out going personality will remain with me always. God Bless and rest in peace Uncle John. Your nephew Frankie Betar & I loved you with all our hearts. (give him a hug & kiss from me) All my love, Sharon Betar Calandro

  7. Dear Aunt Ann & Family, My deepest condolences go out to you and the family. Uncle John always has a “special part of my heart.” I can picture his big, warm , bright smile. His huge heart filled with joy and love will always be with me. His Nephew Frankie loved him very much. god Bless you and rest in peace Uncle John. (pls. give Frankie a big hug & kiss from his Mom) all my love, Sharon Betar Calandro

  8. What an inspirational and honorable life. Just to have known of him is a gift as is the inspiration of his wonderful marriage. We feel blessed to know his grandson
    Les and his wife Daphne and their their two terrific children Crawford and Robin. His was truly a life well lived on all levels.

  9. Dear Judy,
    I am thinking of you and send you and yours my sincere sympathy. I am sure you know that I think of your parents as role models for me. It must be a comfort to you to know that your Dad had a good life and that your mom is at peace with the reality of his passing. He lived a life that gives people like me a lot of hope.
    I send you love,

  10. Our sincere condolences go out to you Aunt Ann and all of your family. Uncle John certainly left such fond memories for all of you to cherish. Janeen, Craig, Lily and Alexa always shared such wonderful memories of their visits with you two. Thank you for sharing your life with them. May God give you peace during this difficult time and bring you grace until you all are with John again.

  11. We are so grateful that we were able to share in a few of the family celebrations and milestones. Mr. Betar was a great example of how to live life for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  12. Condolences to His lovely Wife and family …What an amazing Man John .I had the pleasure of going to their home in Fairfield and did Ann’s hair …and we sat and had a beautiful Conversation together ..R.I.P 🎈❤️

  13. My sincerest condolences on Gido’s death. Yesterday’s service was a lovely tribute to his remarkable life. Most sincerely,
    Anne Archambault

  14. Our thoughts and prayers are with Heather and the family at this time. May God comfort you as you cherish the memories made and celebrate a life full of love. God be with all of you and bless you.

  15. Dear Ann, Heather, Renee, and family,
    It was my privilege and an honor to get to know John over the 32 years since we met. He is and always will be one of my favorites. May God bless and keep you always….. you too, John!
    With kindest regards,
    Gil Garceau

  16. With loving thoughts to Mrs. Betar, my dear friend Renee, and the entire Betar family. I wish you peace and comfort and strength.