GR US

In Memory of Vasilios ‘Bill’ Condos: A Good Man who Will Be Missed

The National Herald Archive

Vasilios ‘Bill’ Condos of Astoria and Mattituck NY, a kind, gentle person, passed away on April 8. The funeral service was held at St. Catherine and St. George Greek Orthodox Church on April 12, interment followed at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Astoria. Rev. Father Anastasios Pourakis, in an emotional service said “this past week Prince Phillip passed away. Mr. Vasilios ‘Bill’ Condos is a Prince like him.”  He was more than a prince. Mr. Condos was an old fashion patriot who believed in God, Country, and Family.

He was a good man, a supporter of Greek American society. He was in the shadows supporting his beloved wife Eleni, daughter Dr. Ourania Rany Condos, granddaughter Dr. Vicky Dimitra Kassapidis and law student grandson Anastasios Kassapidis. He was their pillar of strength, silent but always there for support.

Bill and his wife Eleni were devoted to their Greek regional society, Syllogos Enosis Evritanon Amerikis ‘To Karpenisi’. “We are happy to see the young take over the organization,” said Helen and Bill Condos in a previous interview. They were original founders from 1974. Helen Condos remembers her brother “George Apostolopoulos who drafted the original constitution. We had picnics and dances. Now a new group is in control who wants to trace the society’s roots to the 1970’s.”  They supported a vigorous recruitment effort.

The Karpenisiotes have always been at the core of the battle for freedom from ancient Greece to our modern era. Their trademark is a rugged, determined purpose. Their miraculous icon of the Panayia Prousiotissa has sustained their religious faith through the turmoil of World War II and the Greek Civil War that destroyed their families and homes. They were reborn. The Evrytanon Karpenisiotes are prominent in mainstream America.

Bill and his wife Eleni instilled in their daughter and grandchildren a love for the Greek Orthodox Church. Anastasis Kassapidis was honored for his exceptional service to the Community of Mattituck, during August 2013, as an altar acolyte (assistant) for 15 years. Bill witnessed with pride his grandson, his seriousness, and granted the honor of serving as a reader by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios formerly of America. The reader is responsible for reading excerpts from the scriptures and epistles during the liturgy.

The Bill Condos family represented a demographic trend. The grandparents brought two generations of their family to the Transfiguration Church in rural Mattituck. The church fills up in the summer, because of love shown to the seniors by their children and grandchildren. Bill and Helen Condos watched every Sunday their grandson, Anastasios Kassapidis serve at the altar. Their granddaughter Vicky had been singing in the choir from childhood to her college years. Their daughter, Dr. Rany Condos and her husband, Dr. Sotiris Kassapidis, support every church activity since 1998. A happy event for Bill was hosting a medical school graduation party for his granddaughter Dr. Vickie Dimitra Kassapidis, in Mattituck. Bill and Eleni danced a zembeikiko showing their happiness.

I had a serious professional problem that would have altered our family’s life. “Go see Eleni and Bill around the block,” advised my husband. Bill was sitting outside his porch, reading his Greek newspaper and was discussing the different articles with the educator Dr. John Siolas. He welcomed me with a big smile, inviting Eleni and Dr. Rany to sit with us. They solved my problem with their unique networking. Greeks from the mountains have unusual endurance and survival instincts. I am still amazed how Greek immigrants solve problems and influence all around them to help them, never saying a favor is owed. Bill Condos influenced the second and third generation of his family to do good without any strings attached.      

A Greek immigrant who worked long hours, Bill had courage. In my opinion as a neighbor and friend, Bill’s legacy is described by 4th century BC philosopher Heraclitus who said: “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”