Dimitris Kontominas, my ‘koumbaro’ and dear friend, a friend of our Community, has passed away. He spent his final years in a hospital in Athens, as he was facing serious health problems. Friends who had visited him commented that his death was a relief for him.
What can undoubtedly be said, however, is that Dimitris lived his life to the fullest.
The story of my acquaintance with Dimitris is interesting.
Dimitris, as everyone called him, hosted a trip to New York for the top sellers of Interamerican – the substantial insurance company he founded – in New York in the 1980s, and he asked to see me along with Archbishop Iakovos. He had, as he said, heard good things about me.
I did not know him and so I was hesitant to meet him.
But he was so insistent that in the end I (fortunately) gave up.
We became fast friends and later, koumbaroi.
Dimitris was a towering figure. A charismatic, creative, and insightful businessman. A brilliant salesman with great knowledge far beyond his profession. He had the ability to look far ahead. Far beyond his competitors.
He studied at the American College in Beirut when it was a great institution, and it was there that he discovered his talent as an insurance salesman.
From there he founded Interamerican, the huge insurance company. Dimitris introduced American insurance products and mentalities to Greece. He never missed any of the conferences of the American Insurance Association.
Along with his many other businesses, he set up Interbank in Astoria, on Broadway and 31st Street. It was a bank where many Greek-Americans worked, and its staff lovingly stood by their expatriate customers. It was later sold to Marathon Bank, and so Dimitris withdrew, having meanwhile made a substantial profit.
Dimitris, I say goodbye to you with love and emotion. You will not be forgotten.
May the soil that will cover you be light!