NEW YORK – Tears of mourning but also of appreciation mingled with the late April rain at the funeral of banker and community leader Spiros Voutsinas at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead.
Father Luke Melackrinos, the Dean of St. Paul’s, and Father Nikiforos Fakinos of St. Demetrios in Merrick presided over the funeral. Fr. Luke read a eulogy from Archbishop Demetrios of America, who was in Washington, DC, was unable to attend.
Dozens of relatives, friends, along with officers and staff of Atlantic Bank and its parent company, New York Community Bancorp, also gathered on Monday afternoon at the Massapequa Funeral Home in Massapequa Park Long Island, to pay their respects to the mortal remains of Spyros Voutsinas and express condolences to his wife Aristea, and to his children and grandchildren.
Voutsinas, as The National Herald has reported, struggled for several months with cancer, surprising family and friends with his love of life, the Atlantic Bank and the Greek-American community, but the dreaded disease ultimately prevailed.
During the last two years of his life, Voutsinas was honored by numerous Hellenic and American organizations that paid tribute to his rare character, which with its simplicity and wisdom, his dedication to his family and the community, won the hearts of those who knew him.
The Board of Directors is currently in extensive review process to consider all possible options.
Joseph R. Ficalora, the President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Community Bancorp headquarters, told The National Herald “Spiros was a wonderful exemplar of personal achievement, integrity, and character. His accomplishments were inspirational and admirable, and we are privileged to have known him. The NYCB Family will truly miss him.”
In response to TNH’s inquiry about the selection process for a new president for Atlantic Bank, Ficalora replied that “The Board of Directors are currently in extensive review process to consider all possible options.”
Sophia Miloni, the director of the office of President of Atlantic Bank and Voutsinas’ right hand, told TNH that “Atlantic Bank, its executives, board members and customers are mourning the death of Spiros Voutsinas.”
“He was a wonderful person, who impressed people with his humanity and generosity
and there were ties of admiration between him and all who knew him. His first great love was his family, his second love was really the Bank. He had a passion for his work. Until the last moment we were talking about work. Even in the hospital he asked about the bank and gave advice,” said Milioni.
“He had integrity, he was courteous and he created such a fine family. He was my boss, but he also stood by me like father during difficult times,” she added.
The senior vice president of New York Community Bancorp/Atlantic Bank, Artie, Gyftopoulos expressed his sadness, and among other things said: “Spyros Voutsinas was an excellent man, a wonderful family man and a successful Greek-American. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him and I am privileged to have enjoyed his friendship. Honestly we will miss him. “
Merkourios Angeliades, CEO of the general contracting firm M.A. Angeliades that is based in Long Island City, said Voutsinas was beloved of many people and was a great patriot, an ideal family man and a great Greek. “I knew for him many years, since
He was at Apple Bank, and I remember he proposed working with us, but when I told him I was with Atlantic Bank, he told me to continue to work with it. Eight years ago when He assumed the presidency of Atlantic Bank, our cooperation deepened. I love
Atlantic Bank because it is not like any other bank. It is an institution,” he said.
Referring to Voutsinas’ struggle with his illness, Merkourios said Voutsinas taught people about having a fighting spirit.
“Hellenism is poorer for this loss. Whatever I say about Spiros is not enough. He was good friend and an excellent man and banker,” said Angeliadis.
Savvas Constantinides, president of Omega Brokerage and a member of the Advisory
Committee of Atlantic Bank noted that Voutsinas surprised all his relatives and friends with the way he fought for his life.
“Spiros had great devotion and love for his family, his friends, the community, the homeland and Kefalonia. He stood for his uncompromising ethos and inspired everyone
Who knew him and called him friend,” Constantinidis said.
Fr. Fakinos told TNH that Voutsinas an active member of his community.
“The deceased, his wife Aristea and their children participated in all the events of our community. They contributed to the work of the church even when they were not asked. Spiros and Aristea supported the church and Greek culture, and Spiro was one of the key supporters of next Saturday’s 12th annual bowling tournament jointly organized by the parish and the Pins for Pauly Foundation that raises money to fight against children’s leukemia.
The New York Times reported that Voutsinas was born June 14, 1933, in Kefalonia, Greece, to Eugenia and George Voutsinas and that he was forced by the devastating 1953 to make the journey to America.
“Mr. Voutsinas lived a diverse and productive life. In a career spanning more than five decades, he followed his American dream through the competitive New York City banking world from teller at The Harlem Bank for Savings to President of Atlantic Bank, with various stops along the way,” the Times wrote.
He is also survived by his daughters, Jean and Christina (Kafes); their husbands Nicholas Kafes and Peter Klose, grandchildren, Owen, Celeste, Oliver and Lexington
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made in memory of Spiros to the Fire Relief Fund at St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church, Merrick. http://saintdemetriosrelief.com/campaigns/fire-relief-fund/.