George J. Kovac Profile Photo
1957 George 2024

George J. Kovac

March 25, 1957 — June 25, 2024

Zionsville, IN

George J. Kovac, 67, passed away unexpectedly on June 25, 2024 from a heart attack while doing what he loved, riding his weekly group bicycle ride with many friends. Born on March 25, 1957, in Brooklyn, NY, to Michael and Concetta (“Katie”) Kovac, he was raised on Long Island in the town of Floral Park. Upon graduation from Floral Park High School, he obtained an associate degree from Farmingdale State College. George continued his education at Western Michigan University, followed by a transfer to Bradley University where he finished his bachelor’s degree.

It was here at Bradley that he met the love of his life, Lauren Kling. They met working the bowling alleys at the student center where George was known for playing pranks on his fellow classmates like tying strings onto bowling pins so that one pin would rise in the air as they rolled the bowling ball towards the pins. 

Upon graduation, Lauren and George were married on September 6, 1980 in Peoria, Illinois. They moved to Dallas, Texas, where George took a job with Texas Instruments while Lauren worked at the blood bank at Parkland Hospital. The following year, George accepted a position as a trainer with Allison Transmission and they made the move to Speedway, Indiana. George’s hard work and dedication to the company led to multiple positions within the company, and 40 ½ years later he retired as the Director of the Central Region. During his tenure at Allison, he made multiple friendships that have continued to this day. When asked about George, his colleagues refer to him as “highly regarded,” “couldn’t have been a nicer, better, or kinder man,” a “wonderful leader,” “a great friend,” “epitomized a class act in every way,” “a kind and considerate person to work with,” and “respected for his work ethic and integrity.” 

When the Kovac family moved to Speedway, the family began to grow – first with daughter, Briana, in 1982, then with son, Brendan, in 1984. Family meant everything to George. As his positions required travel, he kept meticulous files of interesting places to take his family on future trips and was always seeking out opportunities for family vacations to unique spots across the USA. George was a devoted father, constantly looking to see how he could help out his kids around the house, with their cars, with homework, taking care of pups, offering (often unsolicited) fatherly advice, music recommendations -regularly blues - yet willing to chaperone and attend Bri and Brendan’s alternative rock concerts. But most of all he taught the kids values of love, hard work, and the importance of family and friendship.

In 1986, the Kovac family moved to Zionsville, Indiana. Bri and Brendan were both 12 year seniors (Eagles!) in the Zionsville school system, where they were active in Zionsville sports and academics. George was always there as a coach, cheerleader, homework monitor, driving instructor, and supporter for both Bri and Brendan. Upon high school graduation, George was the family chauffeur to college (Indiana University and Ball State) in his old Astro van with a very strict “you get one van load” rule for packing. (Bri often violated this rule).

Although Allison Transmission focused on four+ wheel vehicles, George was in his happy place on two wheels… bicycles and motorcycles. He established wonderful friendships through his weekly group bicycle rides, and on motorcycle adventures with great friends and coworkers. He joined the Indy Ultra Cycling team, rode with them multiple times a week, and took yearly trips to places like Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and even rode all the way across Iowa. His motorcycle trips, both with friends and family, took him to places like North Carolina, Southern Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and many other destinations, often just for a stop at a mom and pop store/restaurant to enjoy the local culture.

George was known for his love of travel. He and Lauren enjoyed traveling to all 50 states, as well as many other countries. In addition to their extensive travels, George is known by many for his recommendations of interesting and quirky “pitstops” at “hole in the wall” local dives in any state. He loved to frequent places like an international grocery store, a city boasting the largest version of everything (rocking chairs, mailboxes, etc.), “music venues that some would not take the time to find in a remote location off the beaten path,” the few remaining juke joints in the south, a random enormous Jug Rock just off the highway, a freezing cold natural rock water slide, frozen Cataract Falls, Veal’s Ice Tree, Moonburgers for breakfast, and many, many other adventures and locations. 

George was also known for his love of music, especially The Blues. He would always seek out new (often old) blues artists and venues. One of his most fond adventures was a trip that he and Lauren took following the Mississippi Blues Trail, tracing the birth places of many of the founders of the blues genre. Another Blues adventure led him to Bessemer, Alabama to attend a show at Gip’s Place, one of the few remaining juke joints. He and Lauren were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Mr. Gip, a blues legend. 

An avid sports fan, born and raised on Long Island in New York, George loved watching the Jets every Sunday. He raised Brendan to sport the Green and White with him and root for the J-E-T-S, regardless of their record. Just a few years ago, George, Brendan, and Debbie (Brendan’s wife) had the opportunity to cheer on the Jets at legendary Lambeau Field, a bucket list item for George. He was also a Knicks fan, which influenced Bri and Brendan to cheer for the Orange and Blue, creating some fun controversy in Pacer Nation. 

While much too short, George had an incredible life, well-lived, and made such a positive impact on everyone he met – friends, family, coworkers, customers, and even random people he encountered on all of his adventures. He brought countless smiles and laughs to this world, and they will live on in all of our memories. He loved well and was loved by all.

George is survived by his loving wife, Lauren, daughter Briana Clark (Harry), son Brendan Kovac (Debbie), brother John Kovac (Carolyn), mother-in-law Doris Kling, sister-in-law Carol Kovac, sister-in-law Lisa Whetstone (Don), and nieces and nephews Steven Kovac (Ben Pilcher), David Kovac (Tiffany), Natalie Kovac, Allison Kovac, Elena Kovac, Rebecca Kovac, Kristin Kessler (Jordan), and Alyssa Whetstone as well as several great-nieces and nephews.

Visitation at Flanner and Buchanan (105 W Pine St, Zionsville, IN 46077) on Saturday, July 6, 2024 from 12 until 2 p.m. with a service to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Blues Foundation: https://blues.org/ (the Blues Foundation preserves blues heritage, celebrates blues recording and performance, expands worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensures the future of the uniquely American art form) or the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of George J. Kovac, please visit our flower store.

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