Philanthropist Nicholas Bouras Dies at 93

SUMMIT, NJ – Nicholas J. Bouras, revered businessman and philanthropist, died at the age of 93 on December 22. A highly decorated WW II veteran, he was also very active in the Greek Orthodox Church and became an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Almost everything about his remarkable life follows from the implementation of “A few simple truths to live by…which my parents taught me at a young age: love, worship God, respect others, and work hard.”

James, his father, came from Greece at a young man and was a successful businessman. Bouras’ mother Rina was from Leondarion. He was born in Pontiac, Michigan, grew up in Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University.

According to the a tribute video produced by the Order of St. Andrew when he received their highest honor, the Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights Award in 2006, he remembers that despite the toll that the depression took on the family business, his parents worked hard to provide him and his siblings Sam and Maxine with a comfortable life.

His father also set a key example for Bouras by serving as a member of the parish council of the St. Demetrios Church in Chicago.

Bouras acted on the family urge to serve when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. He was in Europe during World War II, reached the rank of Major.

The Archon video begins with remarkable newsreel footage from 1942 of a bombing run over Germany  on which Bouras was bombardier. It was narrated by legendary newsreel personality and later radio and TV announcer Ed Herlihy.

Bouras served as the lead navigator and bombardier of thirty-six B-26 bombers and in 1946 President Harry Truman awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters.

Bouras met his wife Anna at Greek Community events and they married just before he went off to war. When he returned he worked at U.S. Steel for 20 years and in 1960 he and his wife established a company which eventually comprised five subsidiaries and produced of fabricated steel components for the commercial real estate industry, employing more than 700 people.

Over four decades his steel was incorporated into the rapidly evolving New York skyline, beginning with

World Trade Center Tower 4 and including headquarter buildings for Hearst, Bloomberg, Bear Sterns, and Goldman Sachs and Time Warner Center.

He helped build the homes of the region’s most storied sports franchises on the East Coast like the Yankees, Giants, Patriots, Ravens, Redskins, Celtics, 76ers, Wizards and Devils.

He sold the company in 2007 but it real estate arm, Bouras Properties, LLC, continues to operate in Summit, NJ.

“Our community and nation has lost one of its most upstanding individuals,” said Kassandra Romas, managing director of Bouras Properties, who noted that he was “a highly decorated World War II hero; an industrialist who rose through the ranks by dint of his exceptionally hard work and astute business sense; a devoted husband to his late wife, Anna; a dedicated man of faith whose generosity has supported his beloved Greek Orthodox Church; and a most devoted and unstintingly charitable man whose philanthropy has assisted numerous organizations, educational and non-profit institutions throughout the land.”
Romas added “This kind gentleman was a role model for many and inspired all with his insistence of ‘doing it the right way.’ He will be missed by all.”

Bouras was one of the founders of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Westfield and was an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In a press release, the Archons said “It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I inform you that our beloved National vice Commander, Archon Depoutatos Nicholas J. Bouras, cherished friend, devoted son of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, churchman par excellence, extraordinary Orthodox Christian and American hero and patriot has just fallen asleep unto the Lord.  Eternal Be His Memory.”

In 2010 the Leadership 100 endowment fund designated Bouras, one its first members and a member of its Board of Trustees since 1997, Honorary Life-Time Member of the Board.

Paulette Poulos, Leadership 100’s Executive Director who has known Bouras for decades, told The National Herald “He was an exceptional person and I love him dearly…he was one of the greatest churchmen we have  ever had. It’s a great loss for the church and for all of us who were privileged to know and love Nick.”

She said “he always went out of his way to offer a kind word, and any kind of support he could to Leadership, the Archdiocese and  his church.”

Poulos said “He is truly one of those people who, now that God has called him home, He will be waiting to greet with open arms; that was my first thought when I heard that he passed away,” she said, adding “He was one of those people who touched your heat, always humble, never looking for praise or a front seat. Always, in his own quiet way, he made a statement that we should all emulate and follow by demonstrating humility, kindness and love.”

Bouras received numerous awards and honors, including an Honorary Doctor of Humanities From Hellenic College, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Alpha Omega Council Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award from the American Hellenic Institute, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst and Young, the Humanitarian Philanthropic Award from the Cyprus Federation of America, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award from the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, and the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the Republican members of the U.S. Senate can bestow.

He is survived by his sister-in-law Tina Kariotis and brother-in-law John Mathrusse; nieces Susan Tseng (Greg), Pamela Kariotis (James), Elizabeth Smejda (Karolus), and Georgeane Valos (John); nephews James Mathrusse (Jiemin) and Robert Kariotis; grandnieces Katie and Emma; and grandnephews Matt, Brian, Andrew, and Rocco.

Viewing and Funeral Arrangements:

Viewing: Friday, December 27, 2013 from 2:00 to 8:00 PM. Archons to meet at 7:00 pm for Hierarchical Trisagion Service.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

250 Gallows Hill Road, Westfield, New Jersey 07090

908-233-8533

Funeral Service: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

250 Gallows Hill Road, Westfield, New Jersey 07090

908-233-8533

Donations in memory of Archon Nicholas may be made to the following:

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church or the St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church.

To view  the Archons’ tribute video go to: