My friend Dr. Anastasios Kassapidis, in one of his proverbial letters to the National Herald, addressed to me, wrote:
“It takes boldness and courage for the trailblazers who associate their names with their fellow Greeks of the Diaspora, who gave their all to preserve everything. By connecting your name with ‘Kirikas’ you connected with ‘omogenia’. The load is heavy. Your contributions great. You are worthy of your rewards.”
Those words were a great honor, but the sense of responsibility he engendered in me with his writings was even greater.
At any rate, he knew what he was writing about from his personal experiences.
‘The Doctor’, as we called him, passed away on Tuesday, August 30 at the age of 94.
As long as he lived, his presence, even at that age, was a consolation for us.
By passing away, he leaves a void in the Community.
This is not a figure of speech. These words are not only expressions of love and appreciation to a friend of many years. They describe the truth.
Through the example of his life he leaves behind a legacy that will thrive. As he listened to the voice of the national conscience, the voice of his parents and ancestors, so there will be others who will follow the voice of his own example and thus the flame he lit will not only never be extinguished but will flare up and spread.
In the past few decades, few people were as interested in the Greek-American community and its future, i.e. the language, the Church, Hellenic Education, our customs and traditions, and in Greece itself, with the passion and selflessness that he displayed.
It was not a casual interest. It was deep.
He began life in the village of Taharochori of Veria, in the prefecture of Imathia, studied at the Medical School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He left for America to continue his studies, started a family with his beloved Vasiliki. He made his contributions to the Community, was recognized, was honored.
But he remained a man of the people. A person with deep Greek and Christian roots. A bold speaker, with the courage of his opinion, he was loyal to his friends, he was a man of obligation and giving.
Rest in peace.
May his memory be eternal.