George Akel Jr., one of three brothers who owned the Binghamton Giant Markets for decades, has died. He was 84.

Akel had been ill in recent weeks. He died early Wednesday.

George, Ferris and Ron Akel operated the 12 Giant Food Markets grocery stores in Broome County until a decade ago when the chain was sold to Weis Markets.

George Akel had served for years on the SUNY Broome Community College Board of Trustees.

Former Broome County historian Gerald Smith said "George was instrumental in the shaping of this valley." He noted Akel's work with Newman Development and Willow Run Foods, along with the assistance provided in establishing the CHOW program with the Broome County Council of Churches.

Although George Akel and his brothers kept a low profile in the community, Smith said he contributed plenty in terms of philanthropic support to local organizations.

Funeral arrangements for George Akel have not been announced.

George's older brother, Ferris, died in May 2017 at the age of 84.

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