Letter to the Editor: Remembering a Great Ahepan

Gus J. James, II, AHEPA Past Supreme President, received the 2015 AHEPA Lifetime Achievement Award during Wednesday night's 41st AHEPA Biennial National Banquet in Washington, DC. Photo by Bill Petros

Every so often, great leaders surface who make a difference. Gus James, a two-time AHEPA Past Supreme President, was one of them. Nothing matters more than leadership, whether it is in business, government, religion, and in Philanthropy.

Leadership requires vision and the ability to inspire others to follow. Some people are simply born to lead, others develop it as they grow, but characteristically great leaders find meaningful roles in every opportunity of life.They back up their words with character, substance, and integrity. They are accountable and take responsibility.

Gus James was simply one of the great leaders of the Modern AHEPA era; as Chairman of his law firm, Kaufman & Canoles, and in various community and civic organizations in Norfolk.

This very distinguished Southern gentleman was a frequent visitor to our chapter’s fraternal lodge in New Rochelle, NY. His presence, his graceful approach of command, lifted our members to a higher level of Hellenism. He was a refreshing voice to listen to. While some leaders think they can “buy their way to success,” Brother James built consensus, collaboration, and co-operation. He simply challenged us to join his journey. While his achievements are too extensive to talk about here, he was recognized and honored by numerous American and Greek Organizations. He lifted AHEPA and Hellenism to an even higher level, a goal too often overlooked by many in our community.

We were honored to be in his company and proud to introduce him to our larger Anglo and Phil-Hellenic AHEPA community, today one of the largest in the nation. He became a role model to many of us. We were grateful for his friendship, brotherhood, and engaging personality.

Finally, he fought a very courageous battle with a deadly disease, until it overcame him.  As a community we are diminished by his passing, he was a Giant and he will be missed in the high councils of citizenship and in the Order of AHEPA.

James B. Zafiros

Executive Member,

James Plevritis – Joseph C Keane

New Rochelle, NY AHEPA Chapter 405