Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Owner of Food-Flavoring Firm Created Popular Perma-Fresh Product
George A. Calevas, 95, the president of a company that manufactured a variety of fruit
juice concentrates, flavoring extracts and cocktail mixes, died March 17 of arrhythmia at
Carriage Hill of Bethesda. He was a Chevy Chase resident.
Mr. Calevas was born George Arthur Calevas to Greek immigrant parents who settled
in Norfolk in 1910. The family moved to Washington in 1921, and Mr. Calevas
graduated from McKinley High School (1932). He served in the Army's 348th
Ordnance Battalion during World War II.
His father had a company called Calevas Foods that made flavorings and a signature
meat tenderizer called Yessi. Mr. Calevas took over the company in 1946 and changed
the name to Calevas Laboratories.
"He started tinkering around with essences and flavors, and he concocted the formula
for a product called Perma-Fresh," recalled Mark Simon, who would buy the company
from Mr. Calevas in 1985. The product, still sold to food service companies and used in
bars and restaurants, is a very strong lemon concentrate made from lemon oils. It
contains no artificial flavoring.
Simon, who noted that Mr. Calevas was completely self-taught, called Perma-Fresh "the
most well-known sweet and sour mix used in the U.S. today. It makes a great
margarita," he said.
Mr. Calevas retired when he sold the company and spent time on cruises and at the
family's summer home in Piney Point, Md. He was a member of Temple-Noyes
Cathedral Lodge 32, the Royal Order of Jesters and Almas Shriners. He also was a
longtime member and benefactor of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Pauline Sarhosis Calevas of Chevy Chase; and a
brother, Harry Calevas of Bethesda.