Anastasia Michals, President of the New Jersey Philoptochos, Dies at 65

The late Anastasia Michals. TNH/Archive

NEW YORK.- Anastasia (Anne) Michals, née Koles, President of the Philoptochos of the Metropolis of New Jersey has died at the age of 65.

Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey stated to The National Herald that, “with much sadness we lived the illness of Anastasia the least three years and on Thursday morning at 2:45 am I received the sad news that Anastasia had fallen asleep.” He emphasized that, “she was a very faithful Orthodox woman. An exceptional wife and loving mother, dedicated to God and to the philanthropy of fellow humans. I convey to her dear family, the warm condolences of the entire Metropolis of New Jersey.”

Anastasia was a multitalented, charismatic woman, who was totally dedicated to volunteerism. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, into the Greek Orthodox Church Community of St. Demetrios, which was built by the Pontian Greeks who immigrated through Ellis Island to Jersey City.  Anne was a second generation Greek-American, as both her father, William Koles (Kolessides) and mother, Stella Paskalides, were also born and raised in Jersey City.

Anastasia’s father, William Koles, was an industrial engineer. He received his engineering degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her mother, Stella Koles, received her degrees in Education from New Jersey City University.

A retired educator, Anne had a masters degree in education administration, and a bachelor’s degree in English. She worked at many grade levels of both high school and elementary school education.  She left a career as high school vice-principal to raise her children, John and Anastasia (Bobbie).

Anne’s children are both professionals, having graduated from Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University School of Education, respectively.

Anne devoted her time to the needs of the community and her church, serving them both in various capacities.

She was appointed to the National Philoptochos Board by Archbishop Demetrios of America in September of 2010.  She was elected Treasurer of the  Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos Board  in 2009 and served in that capacity until she was elected President of the Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos in 2011.  She continued in that post until today.

She was appointed by Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey as the Co-Chairman, along with Mr. Michael Karloutsos, of the 42nd Annual Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy Laity Congress in Philadelphia (2014).  She also held the distinction of being a Co-Chairman of the Philoptochos Convention.  Anne told TNH in a prior interview that, “it was the greatest thrill of her life to be able to work with so many inspiring stewards of the Greek Orthodox Church and to be a part of bringing them together in the Metropolis of New Jersey. Welcoming a delegation gathered in Philadelphia to share fellowship and the love and concern for our Holy Orthodox Church was an extraordinary honor.”

Regarding her attraction to education and teaching she had previously stated, “although teachers were important role models for me, and this is why I selected teaching as a profession, as a second generation Greek American, my parents were our first role models; for me and my four siblings.  Along with my Aunt Katherine Kaliades, my mother’s sister, they shaped our lives, and the lives of our cousins.  My mother and Aunt Katherine, in whose home we spent a great deal of time, would teach all of us the invaluable lesson of perseverance. Through their work ethic, steadfast nature and their continued effort to achieve things that might have seemed out of reach for some; they firmly molded us into responsible human beings.”

Her viewing will take place on Thursday, February, 28 from 2 to 8 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox church in Ocean Township and her Funeral Service will be on Friday, March, 1  at 10 a.m. in the same church, officiated by Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos Benevolent Fund located at  215 East Grove Street, Westfield, N.J., 07090.