NEW YORK – Maria Makedon Fountas, the dedicated educator who had served as the director of the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education, and served Hellenism and the Greek-American community for over 40 years at the Archdiocese, passed away on May 23. She was 73.
Originally from Piraeus, Makedon graduated from St. Basil Academy/Teachers College in 1971, and immediately joined the Archdiocese Department of Education as Assistant to the Director. Then, following further education at St. John’s University and Columbia University, she assumed the staff duties of the director of the Office of Education, as a personal choice of Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory, a position in which she remained for almost 30 years.
She was The National Herald’s Educator of the Year in 2014, honored for her longstanding efforts to promote the values of Hellenism and its most powerful vehicle: the Greek language.
Although an administrator and not a teacher- she worked tirelessly to provide teachers with the resources and support they needed. Makedon was trained to be a teacher at St. Basil Academy, an experience she always treasured.
During her acceptance of TNH’s award in 2014, she demonstrated her selflessness when she insisted on calling her then-assistants, Eirini Pitidou and Athina Filippou-Katehis, to the podium to share in her bright moment, telling the guests that they constitute her faith in the continuity of her sacred endeavor in the name of Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
In her acceptance speech at the time, Makedon said: “The recognition of services to a wider public, as in my case from my position in the Office of Education of the Archdiocese, is for me a moral satisfaction, but the honor belongs to the Office of Education of the Archdiocese itself. Because my service – of four decades today – was carried out there and, in fact, in cooperation and with the guidance of my superiors and with the recipients always being the schools of our Church, which offer true Greek Orthodox Education here in America.”
Makedon is survived by her husband Apostolos Fountas, her son Stylianos Stratigos, and her siblings George, Konstantina, and Anastasios.
The visitation will be held on Saturday, May 27, 10-11:30 AM, with the funeral service to follow at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Orthodox Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou, 36-07 23rd Avenue in Astoria, NY 11105.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the St. Demetrios Building Daycare Operation, 30-67 31st Street, Astoria, NY 11102, for the building under construction.
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