In 2015 the community felt the loss of many prominent and beloved members. Excerpts from their obituaries follow. Many more are worthy of separate articles, and we print their names here. Everlasting be their memory.
George Angelakis; Alexander Antzoulatos; Bill Arhas; Fr. Matthew Baker; Vasilios “William” Dabilis; Dr. Spiro Demetis; John Garbidakis; George Giannaris; Emmanuel Hatziemmanuel; Fr. Thomas Hopko; George Kaye Katsoris; Gustav Coffinas; Chris Legeros; James Lemonias; Georgia Macris; Chris Nicholson; Fr. Spyridon Papademetriou; Catherine Pappas; Sophia “Mimi” Paul; Despina “Peni” Poulos; Panagiotis Silis; Giannoula “Joann” Zaharoolis; and Stamatia Georgiades Zembillas.
Ambassador Robert V. Keeley
Ambassador Robert V. Keeley, whose career suffered after speaking out against America’s backing of the military dictatorship while posted in Athens during the junta, only to return in triumph after the restoration of democracy, passed away at 85, apparently from a stroke said his brother, noted author Edmund Keeley. Ambassador Keeley served as President of the American Foreign Service Association and received its prestigious Christian Herter Award.
New York’s Greek-American community in New York was been plunged into mourning after the Jan. 7 passing of Dennis (Demosthenes) Syntilas who spearheaded the creation of Athens Square in Astoria. The beloved community leader served as president of the Greek American Homeowners Association and excelled as director of the Astoria branch of Atlantic Bank.
Dr. Peter Diamantopoulos
Dr. Peter Diamandopoulos, a distinguished editor whose tenure as president of Adelphi University was controversial, died on April 1 in New York City at the age of 86 surrounded by his loving children. Trained in Philosophy, Diamandopoulos consistently questioned conventional attitudes and challenged everyone around him to strive for excellence.
John Vassilaros wore many hats and tried others on for size. He was a devoted son, brother, adventurer, sailor, and pilot and adored his family and friends. He served in the Green Beret Special Forces and ran for Mayor of New York in 2013, but he is best known as the President since 1964 of the coffee maker Vassilaros & Sons.
Fr. Byron Papanikolaou
Fr. Byron Papanikolaou, one of the few priests who served one parish his entire life – the historic Sts. Constantine and Helen in Palos Hills – passed away on August 11. In addition to being a renowned cleric, he was a great inspirer, visionary, and leader, and a stalwart of the parish’s Koraes day school. Strongly supporting him throughout his career were his Presbytera Xanthippe, and his children and grandchildren.
Fr. John Tavlaridis
Rev. Dr. John T. Tavlarids, who served more than 50 years at St. Sophia Cathedral in Washington, DC, died Sept. 21 at 84. An innovative leader, as its Dean he guided the Cathedral, which now has 1500 parishioners, through sometimes tempestuous periods of growth and cultural change. His introduction of a bilingual liturgy was controversial in 1961 but proved visionary.
Georges de Paris Christopoulos
Georges de Paris, tailor to nine U.S. presidents, died on Sept. 13 at 80. Born in Marseilles, he arrived in America around 1960 and began the transformation from Georgios Christopoulos, jobless and homeless man, to a flourishing suit maker with a shop three blocks from the White House.
The late Dr. Antoine Harovas, and his beloved wife Euterpe.
Dr. Antoine C. Harovas, beloved husband of Euterpe, devoted father, cherished grandfather, and dedicated brother passed away peacefully with his family and friends at his side at the age of 82 on Sep. 24. He worked tirelessly as a dedicated cardiologist for most of his professional life, including his training, at Roosevelt Hospital. He was also devoted to the Greek Orthodox Church and its ministries.
Chris Tomaras will be remembered for his love of Hellenism, entrepreneurial ingenuity, profound faith, and never-ending generosity. A successful businessman as the owner of Kronos Foods and Tomaras Investments, he was devoted to his family, friends, those in need, and the Orthodox church. His passion for education led him to establish the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation.
The premature death of 51 year-old Savvas Christodoulides plunged into mourning many friends and relatives in America and Cyprus. An IT Engineer with a PhD who had worked for major companies including Goldman Sachs and his most recent employer, AIG, Christodoulides was also a tireless worker for the Cyprus cause and for Hellenism.
Prof. John Rassias
The charismatic and prominent linguist John Rassias died at the age of 90 this year. A professor at Dartmouth College, he was best known in the community for his work on the present and the future of Greek education and language in America, about which the commission Archbishop Spyridon appointed him to in 1998 produced an important study.