Greek-American Michael H. Pahos is Mourned

The late Michael H. Pahos a dedicated faithful of the Church, family man and community leader. Photo Metropolis of San Francisco

SANTA BARBARA, CA – With great sadness, yet with hope in the Resurrection that the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco shared news of the passing of Michael H. Pahos, Archon Ekdikos, surrounded by his loving family.

“To say that Mike was a pillar of the Saint Barbara parish would not do justice to the leadership he provided for this community,” stated His Eminence. “Mike was not the kind of person who directed others in their service, but rather he led by example, in his professional career, and especially through the vision he brought to his beloved parish of Saint Barbara. After leading a full and rich life, Mike is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ and is now joining with the angelic choir singing praises to the Lord.”

Mike is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Vivian Pahos, daughter Maria Pahos-Benson (Bruce), son Theo Pahos (Leora), sister Georgia Tripsas (Trifon), and adoring grandchildren Marie and Vivian Pahos.

The late Mike Pahos was born in Newcastle, PA on August 3, 1929 to Greek immigrants Theoharris and Mary Pahos. His father moved to America after having worked as a laborer in Egypt laying railroad tracks and later in Newcastle where he worked in the coal mines. His mother came to America at age 15 in 1919 with her mother and two sisters. When Mike was six, the whole family – older brother Nick, Clara, Delight, and younger sister Georgia – moved to Chicago and lived in an apartment building that was mostly occupied by Greeks, Italians, and Poles. His Father worked at the Aragon Ballroom, a venue that was popular with all the great musicians of the 1930’s and 40’s.

During the Korean War, Mike was drafted but spent his entire military tour in Germany, miles away from the war that raged on the Korean Peninsula. For that he always thanked God. After the war, Mike moved back to South Bend, IN to join the family who had bought Harry’s Grill, a small diner that served Greek specialties, next to the Studebaker factory. Before that plant shuttered, they sold the diner and moved to Southern California where he and his siblings found jobs and bought homes in the post-war expansion. Mike took a job in the Fisher Auto Body manufacturing plant. He enrolled at UCLA and later transferred to Berkeley where he earned a degree as a Landscape Architect.

While in Berkeley, he met the love of his life, Vivian Philis, an attractive airline stewardess for Pan Am living in San Francisco, who was also Greek-American and a committed Orthodox. He was set up with Vivian by his older sister Clara who told him to call a women she knew in San Francisco for a free meal. When Mike knocked on her door, he expected an older Greek woman to answer. Instead, a glamourous young women answered the door who instantly stole his heart. “I was so nervous, I don’t think I said more than two words during dinner” Mike recalled.

In 1959, after a short courtship, they married in Holy Trinity in Worchester, MA. After a long honeymoon in Greece, Vivian supported her then student-husband until he found a job with the State Parks Department in Goleta, CA in 1960. They had their first child, Maria Pahos, in 1963 and Theoharris (named after Mike’s father) in 1966.

Michael Pahos spent his entire adult life involved in the church and on the Parish Council. He and his wife Vivian worked tirelessly to support the church.

In 1989 Michael Pahos was invested as Archon in the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle with the rank of Ekdikos by Archbishop Spyridon.

The funeral service took take place on Friday, February 14, with interment at Santa Barbara Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church or the Santa Barbara Choral Society.