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General News

Greek-American Dimitrios Paschalidis, Restauranteur and Philanthropist, 80

NORWALK, CT – Dimitrios Paschalidis, 80, passed away April 1 at his home in Norwalk, Ridgefield’s HamletHub reported.  He was born August 20, 1940 in the northern village of Saint Dimitrios, Kozani, Greece.  He was the son of the late Illeas and Efrosene Paschalidis.

He worked in the chemistry department in a factory outside of Kozani until he immigrated to the United States in 1968 with his wife, Maria, in search of a better life.

Paschalidis was a very intelligent and hard-working man. He had a Spartan approach to meeting his goals – no excuses, work hard, enjoy what you earn. Though he had great success in his 53 years in the United States, he never rested on his laurels, managing to open nine different restaurants – from smaller diners to French cuisine.

Three Flags Restaurant, however, did bring unforeseen challenges. In his mid-50’s, Paschalidis had to face the fact that he had lost everything, closing down his business and declaring bankruptcy. Not wasting a minute and starting with nothing for a second time in his life, Paschalidis got right back to work at building himself up once again.

In 1995, he opened Dimitri’s Diner in Ridgefield, CT. Dimitri’s became a staple in the town. People enjoyed dining at Dimitri’s but also went for the chance to speak with Dimitrios himself. As he had always been, Paschalidis was a larger-than-life figure. When you met the man, you would never forget the experience. 

A defining trait of Paschalidis was his philanthropic side. He sponsored a number of children’s sports programs, got involved in community activities and fundraisers, and even opened the Dimitri’s Fund in Ridgefield. The Fund was intended to offer some assistance to two Ridgefield High School graduates each year – one for academic and one for athletic excellence. He would often donate food to those in need. If someone came into the diner and looked upset or lonely, Paschalidis would spend some extra time with that person. And for all the children that came into his diner, he would make each and every one of them feel special. 

Paschalidis was a generous man, one that cared for people, and the greatest provider for his family. He used his success to always help his family, friends, and those in need.

Paschalidis is survived by his wife Maria and daughter Effie, his son Harry with wife Lara, his two grandchildren, Illeas and Maria, his sister-in-law Anthoula Iordanidis, his siblings Anthoula Hatzidimitriou and Eleftherios Paschalidis, their spouses, and his nieces and nephews.

The wake was held April 5 at the Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT. The funeral followed on April 6 and started with a ceremony at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Norwalk, CT

In the spirit of Dimitrios’ giving nature, the family has set up a Go Fund Giving Page: gf.me/u/zpip8h. All donations received will be distributed by the immediate family to charities and those in need.

Visit Collins Funeral Home online here to write in the Guest Book set up for Dimitrios Paschalidis.

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