AUGUSTA, GA – Costas “Chuck” Nicholas Ballas, Sr., 91, beloved husband of Penny Orphanos Ballas, entered into rest on June 5. Funeral services were held on June 8 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church with Reverend Father Vasile Bitere officiating. Interment with Military Honors followed at Magnolia Cemetery.
Chuck, as he was known by family and friends, was born in Gloucester, MA in 1926, to the late Nicholas Peter and Ethel Pappadopoulos Ballas. He graduated from high school in Cambridge, MA. Later after World War II, he attended Northwestern University and received an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He went on to use his degree while employed at the Manhattan Project working on the H-Bomb. Chuck, at age 29, moved his family to Augusta in 1954 to take over his father’s restaurant, Luigi’s, is located in downtown Augusta. His passions were his church, his country, his family, and his golf.
A devoted member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Telfair Street and proud of his Greek heritage, Chuck served as President of the community for many years. As one of the original organizers of the annual Greek Festival, he also served on the Board of Governors of the Augusta chapter of the AHEPA (The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, a service organization founded in 1922 in Atlanta, GA). In 2000, Chuck was awarded the St. Michael’s Award by Metropolitan Alexios from the Atlanta Metropolis for his dedication and outstanding service to the church.
Chuck was a World War II veteran who served in the US Army, 28th Infantry Division from 1942 to 1946. He was one of thousands of soldiers who landed on the northern coast of France on D-Day. His military service encompassed northeastern France, Normandy, the Falaise Gap, Ziegried Line, Hurtgen Forest, the Ardennes, Rhineland, and the liberation of France. Chuck narrowly lost his legs during his tenure in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received in Germany and the WWII Victory Medal, among others.
Chuck was the owner of Luigi’s Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Augusta. He retired from the restaurant in 1988, at which time his son, Charles Nicholas Ballas, Jr. took over. He will be remembered for feeding lost souls or giving away free cups of coffee. In 1962, Chuck mounted a campaign for State Representative but lost in a special election against John Bell, Sr. He was also a past member of the Masons and the Shriners.
He will be remembered fondly by the members of the Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken, SC, of which he was a member for many years. The daily “dogfight” was so much a part of his life, and he was especially proud of his “hole in one”. The privilege of playing the Augusta National several times was one of his most cherished golfing memories. He was deemed Honorary Life Member of Palmetto in 2010.
Chuck is survived by his loving wife of 70 years Penny Ballas; his two daughters, Cynthia Ballas Moorehead (Dennis) of Blairsville, GA, and Deborah Ballas Maxwell (Tom) of Westchester County, NY; his son, Chuck Nicholas Ballas, Jr. (Debi) of Augusta. He is also survived by his 12 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 3 on the way.
Chuck’s entire life was one of faith, love, service, and devotion to his church, country, and family. Chuck didn’t “sermonize.” His entire life and the way he lived it, who he was, and the way he lived it was sermon enough. Do not mourn that he died but rejoice that he lived.
Pallbearers were Thomas Maxwell, Jay Maxwell, Ed DeKeteleare, Harry Hamm, Roy Colvin, Kosta Trapalis, Tony Magoulas and Sam Nicholson.
The family respectfully requests that memorials in Chuck’s memory be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 953 Telfair Street, Augusta, GA, 30901.
(From the Augusta Chronicle)