NEW YORK. – John Garbidakis passed away on November 4 at his home in Whitehall, PA in the presence of his wife Olga, and their children and grandchildren. He was 81 years old.
He was born in Kambi Kydonias, Chania, Crete, the son of the late Emmanuel and Keriakoula (Fanourgiakis) Garbidakis.
He is survived by his wife, Olga, his son Emmanuel and daughter-in-law Rachele of Kunkletown, his son Vasilios and daughter-in-law Maria of Lehighton, his daughter Keriakoula and son-in-law George Stergianopoulos of Whitehall, sisters Cleo, Emilia, Despina, and Aphrodite, his brother, Nicholas, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Garbidakis was predeceased by a sister, Ioanna.
Like typical Cretans, Garbidakis’ parents did everything in their power to instill in him and his siblings the best qualities Hellenism, and love and pride for Greece and Crete.
Garbidakis grew up in Crete and in 1959 married Olga, the love of his life. In 1966 he accepted Despina’s invitation to come to the United States with Olga, Manolis, and Vasilios, who where 6 and 4 at the time.
They settled in Brooklyn and became members of the Kimisis Theotokou Church, as well as of the Cretan association Omonoia.
The Garbidakises wanted to live in a Greek Orthodox community, and most importantly among the members of the historic Omonoia society. That is how the children learned the dances and traditions of their island.
Olga managed the upbringing of their children and John was head of an import company. The children grew up and worked hard. John and Vasilios are engineers and Keriakoula is an accountant.
Although John and Olga spent the greater part of their lives lived in Brooklyn, they recently followed their children and grandchildren to Pennsylvania, even as their hearts were often filled with memories of Brooklyn and Cretan House in Astoria.
Garbidakis was distinguished for his rare character, hard work, and or his love for the community and the homeland. He was well-off financially, but was very generous.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory to be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 14 Penn Plaza, Suite 1615, New York, NY 10122.