NEW YORK – On July 10, with grace and in peace, John A. Vassilaros, “our beautiful and admired Johnny,” in the words of family members “passed in the soulful glowing love of his family at their home in Bridgehampton, NY.
The obituary published by the New York Times follows in its entirety. “Born in Manhattan on July 26, 1945 to Anthony John Vassilaros and Irene Vassilaros, John was a devoted son, brother, adventurer, sailor, and pilot. He delighted in being a deeply loving father; a tender and absolutely wonderful husband; and an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind friend of friends. As a young man, Johnny served in the Green Beret Special Forces.
Since 1964, he was President of Vassilaros & Sons, a third generation family coffee-roasting business that is still thriving today. John was an innately keen businessman who was dedicated to producing a consistently excellent cup of NYC coffee.
His wife, Alexandra Frangos Gersten Vassilaros, was blessed to be his fourth cousin on her mother’s side, and with their family they share an undying passion for the Greek Island of Ikaria, where their respective families were born and where they enjoyed a small home on the Aegean.
Ikaria was their simple paradise, and a foundational part of their bond and continuity. Johnny’s motto was ‘Live hard, work hard, play hard, and love hard’ –all of which he modeled with gusto, verve, and integrity. For those of us who knew and loved him he was a shining presence.
He loved life purely, and that spirit radiated from him so powerfully that one couldn’t help but be touched by it. In Greek we might describe him as: ‘chrisos anthropos’ – a selfless person who instinctively puts his loved ones ahead of himself.
Vassilaros Coffee actively supports Greek charities, and John served as longtime board member of inner-city youth mentoring program, The 52nd Street Project. He leaves behind a legacy of exquisite love to his wife, Alexandra, and his three adored and big-hearted boys, Tonio John, Luka John, and Stefano John, each of whom adored him to the fullest for his love, generosity of spirit, sense of adventure, and joy.
He is also survived by his mother, Irene; his sisters, Sophia, Ann, Irene, and Maria; his nephews and nieces, Stephanie Kasselakis Kyles, John Kasselakis, Zachary Vassilaros, Arianna Peterson, Paul Peterson, Anthony Boyer; and so many beloved cousins and best friends whom he held in his capable heart…A memorial of Johnny’s extraordinarily well-lived life will be forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Johnny’s name can be made to The 52nd Street Project or Saint Basil Academy. Those who wish to do so can leave messages and memories at CaringBridge.com.” A visitation was held at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on July 14 and the funeral took place at Holy Trinity Cathedral on July 15.v