MANHASSET, NY – John P. Vellios, fell asleep in the Lord on November 6 in Manhasset. He was 88 years old. He was born on September 21, 1934 to Lambrini and Panayiotis Vellios in the small village of Diplatanos in the mountains of central Greece in difficult times. At the age of 8, he also suffered the death of his mother. While he attended elementary and high school he worked to survive and to help support his younger siblings amidst war, famine, and instability.
His uncles who had immigrated to the United States invited him, and Vellios journeyed to America in April 1957. Here, he made the American dream his reality in the florist business.
After becoming a citizen he returned to Greece and get married. After meeting and soon marrying Irene Maroudas, they went to Brooklyn, NY. Having developed an entrepreneurial spirit, Vellios then quickly embarked on a new journey when he purchased Rosedale Florist and a house in Manhasset, NY, where they ran their business, raised their family, and lived for more than 53 years.
Nikiforos Mathews, the husband of John Vellios’ daughter Lambrina, spoke to The National Herald about his father in law. “When he first came over from Greece he was in Brooklyn – I believe a lot of the family is still active in the Three Hierarchs community where he was originally in the 50s and 60s and 70s.”
A QUIET MAN OF VISION
“He was a very kind and gentle person and in his own quite way, he was a visionary. He saw the he and other Greek families were moving to long island and saw there was going to be a need for spiritual enrichment and the retention of the Hellenic culture there. He foresaw very early – in 1968 or 1969 when he bought the Rosedale Florist – that this was going to be a trend in the Greek Orthodox community that would continue and he and some others engaged in conversations about it…one of the persons was a real estate agent and they started looking for property.”
Mathews was told that Vellios came home one day and said to his wife and daughter: “we found the property where we are going to have the church.” Mathews continued, “A few families pledged to give $5,000 to $6,000 in 1980 to secure the property and that became Archangel Michael, which of course now is an incredible institution in terms of its Worship and population.”
In 2012 the parish was moved from that site in Roslyn to close to the beach in Port Washington. “it’s an enormous, absolutely gorgeous – stunning – church with incredible facilities and about 720 families.” As one of the first parish council presidents Vellios helped lay the foundation for a remarkable parish that began humbly with about 30 families.
Vellios was a longtime member and past President of the Diplatanos Society-Agia Marina, Inc. and he was also a long-time member of the Order of AHEPA.
Beyond his tribute to his father-in-law as a community leader Mathews wanted to share his experience of John Vellios, the man and the Christian. “He was always looking to pass on love and kindness to others in an unselfish way – that could involve the happiness of a child or an anonymous donation and other very quiet ways of demonstrating his Christian upbringing and his natural love for people.”
Vellios was preceded in death by his sister Maria and brother-in-law Athanasios Tsintzelis, as well as his brother Theofanis Vellios and is survived by his wife, Irene; their children Lambrina Mathews (husband Nikiforos) of New Canaan, CT, Constantina Vellios (husband Andreas) of West Hollywood, CA, and Peter Vellios (wife Shirley) of Port Washington, NY; his grandchildren Alexandra, Luke, Alexander, Alvaro, Kimberley (husband Mike) and Luciana; his sister Stavroula and brother-in-law Fotios Gournelos, brother Chris and sister-in-law Christina Vellios and sister-in-law Maria Vellios of Brooklyn, NY; and numerous nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
A Trisagion service was held at Fairchild Sons Funeral Chapel in Manhasset, NY and funeral services were held on Saturday, November 12.
In his memory, donations may be made to Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church, Icon Fund in Memory of John P. Vellios, 100 Fairway Drive, Port Washington, New York 11050.
Those who wish to share a remembrance or send a condolence through the online Tribute Book may visit https://bit.ly/3A20qh2.