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Greek-American Restaurateur Panagiotis ‘Peter’ C. Cocalis Will be Missed

LOWELL – Panagiotis C. ‘Peter’ Cocalis, 89, passed away peacefully at Tufts Medical Center with his loving family by his side.

Peter was born in Porti, Greece on January 29, 1932, the son of the late Konstantinos and Ekaterini (Papageorgiou) Cocalis. He came to the United States with his family at the age of 14, settling in Manchester, NH and then later moving to Lowell, MA.

He served his country in the Army during the Korean Conflict and upon his return he began his lifetime journey in the restaurant business, first as a dishwasher, that as a cook, and later becoming the co-owner of the historic Olympia Restaurant in Lowell. He and his partner, Socrates Tingas, who passed on November 8, 2009, owned and operated the restaurant for over 67 years.

A fixture at the entrance of the restaurant, Peter was always front and center greeting his customers as they came to have dinner or pick up a takeout order. He could also be seen at his table with his partner Socrates talking about current events and local news while having a cigarette and a Johnny Walker Black, always with a local friend or guest joining them at their table.

He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Barbara (Kourtis) Cocalis, his son, Konstantinos Panagiotis Cocalis and his wife Georgia, three granddaughters, Varvara, Fanoula, and Petra, three sisters, Stephanie Thomas, Fotina Tingas and her husband Kosta, and Sia Spirou, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Due to the current gathering restrictions, Funeral Services were held privately for the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Peter’s name to the Assumption of Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 1160 Mammouth Rd Dracut, MA 01826, or to the Hellenic American Academy 41 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA 01854. 

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