WORCESTER - Alexandra (Gatzoyiannis) Stratis, who went to Worcester in 1949 after the execution of her mother during the Greek Civil War, passed away at the age of 89 on Saturday morning surrounded by her family.
As recounted in the 1983 bestselling book and 1985 film “Eleni,” by her brother Nicholas Gage, Alexandra’s mother, Eleni (Haidis) Gatzoyiannis, planned the escape of her five children from their guerrilla held village in 1948. But she and her daughter Glykeria, were taken on work details and could not join the rest of the family’s efforts to reach Greek government forces.
The four remaining children, led by the oldest sister Olga, fled down the mountain under the cover of night, with 17-year old Alexandra clutching her eight-year old brother’s hand all the way as her mother had charged her. In retribution for their flight, Eleni was imprisoned, tortured and executed and the daughter who stayed with her, Glykeria, was forced to join the guerrilla army.
After learning of their mother’s fate, Alexandra and her siblings sailed to America to join their father, who had emigrated to Worcester earlier. Glykeria, who died in 2012, escaped a year later and joined her family in America.
Alexandra, known as Kanta to her family, worked at Table Talk Pies to help support the family for five years. In 1954 she made a return trip to Greece to sell some family property and while there met and married Evangelos (Angelo) Stratis, a young man from her native village.
Alexandra and Angelo had two sons, Nicholas and Andrew, and worked closely together as he opened several restaurants in Worcester, Boston and Waltham. Angelo died in 2018 and her oldest sister Olga, a year earlier.
In addition to her sons, she is survived by her brother, Nicholas Gage and his wife Joan; her younger sister Fotini Haidis; her son Andrew’s wife Shannon Stratis; six grandchildren—Alexis, Evan, Kyle, Thomas, Sydney and Drew—11 nephews and nieces, and numerous cousins whose families her father, Christos Gatzoyiannis, who died in 1983, had brought to America.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Spyridon Cathedral, 102 Russell St., Worcester, where the funeral will be held.