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Death of Founder Brings End of Missouri’s Manoli’s Jewelers Business

SPRINGFIELD, MO. – When Manolis Savvenas came to the United States from Rhodes, he was a professional wrestler who went by the name Mike Pappas, also known as The Flying Greek. However, he eventually returned to his jewelry-making roots, having learned the trade as an apprentice. After a decade in the ring, battling big names such as Macho Man Randy Savage and Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase in venues like Madison Square Garden, he settled in Springfield, Missouri with his family.

In 1979, Manolis and his wife Valerie, who hails from Kentucky, purchased a wholesale shop that provided jewelry repairs and manufacturing services to other retail jewelers, eventually opening their own shop. According to jckonline, the business proved to be much less grueling than wrestling. At its peak, they serviced approximately 50 stores, trading the punishing work in the ring for something more profitable.

Unfortunately, Manolis passed away in December 2022, almost 44 years after he began his journey in the United States, dedicating himself to a trade he had learned as an apprentice on the Greek island he left behind, having traveled to many places throughout his well-lived life.


C. Dean Metropoulos has made what Babson College is calling a “transformational gift to launch the C.

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