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General News

Memory Eternal – Theophilos Kamperides

September 23, 2022

BOSTON – Theophilos Kamperides, of Weymouth, MA, passed away on September 13. Born in Katerini, Greece, he was beloved husband of the late Argiro (Demopoulos) Kamperides, loving father of Maria Kamperides and her husband Vassilios Vassiliadis, Harry Kamperides and his wife Jeannie, and Vasilios ‘Billy’ Kamperides and his wife Julie. He is also survived by grandchildren Jill, Lia, Lexie, Niki, Theophilos, Myah, Harrison, and Savannah.

Theophilos was the brother of Sophia ‘Fifi’ Makridou, Ioannis Kamperides and his wife Soula, Roula Markopoulos, and the late Anna Politis, and the late Theodore Kamperides. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends here and in Greece, Austria, and Germany.

He was a Greek politician of Pontian descent, former Member of The Hellenic Parliament, 1964-1967, and Former Mayor of Katerini, Pieria, Greece, 1986-1990.

Theophilos was the founding president of the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England, and he played an instrumental role in the founding of many Greek American Societies in the Boston area in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

He grew up in Arona and Katerini Greece and from 1942-1945, as a young child, he was actively involved in the resistance against the Nazis acting as a liaison between the Greek lines, carrying and transporting letters, gold coins, and supplies to the mountains; his young age making him unsuspected by the enemy. From 1944-1945, he was an active member of EPON, an organization that was against the German occupation. In 1946 the family moved to Katerini where he actively participated in Boy Scout, cultural, and religious organizations which offered their services to the Red Cross.

He graduated in 1952 from the University of Thessaloniki where he studied Economics and Political Science and was an accomplished athlete with the Hercules Team of Thessaloniki (Ηρακλής Θεσσαλονίκης) in Track & Field, excelling in javelin and 100 m events. In 1959 he served as President of the sports organization Archelaus (Αρχέλαος).

After serving in the Greek Army, he went on to pursue a career in Politics with the Centre Union (Enosis Kentrou), under Georgios Papandreou. He served as City Councilor for several years and was elected President of the Youth Organization of Enosis Kentrou, and in 1964 was elected to the Hellenic Parliament where he served as the youngest MP.

In 1967, the government was overthrown by a military coup and a dictatorship was installed in Greece. In order to escape prison, torture, and exile, he requested political asylum from the United States. Leaving their two young children behind, on September 13, 1967, He and Argiro, his wife, embarked on a journey to the United States, fleeing Greece secretly. After two years, and much bureaucracy, and with the help of Tip O’Neil, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy they were granted permanent visas and were able to reunite with their children bringing them to the United States.

He established himself in the Boston area, obtaining his first job as a busboy, working his way up to server and ultimately becoming a business owner, first in the restaurant industry, and later in the dry-cleaning industry.

During the years of the dictatorship, he was actively involved with international organizations working towards the re-establishment of Democracy in Greece.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s he played an instrumental role in the organization of various much needed cultural and local Greek-American Societies of New England.

He was an active and founding member of the Katerinioton Society as well as the Pontian Societies of Panagia Soumela and Pontiaki Estia.

He was the founding President of the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of New England which unified the local societies under one umbrella organization.

He played a critical role in the protests against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the 1970’s, organizing rallies and protests to bring public awareness of the unjustified invasion.

In 1986, he returned to Greece when he was nominated and elected Mayor of Katerini, his home city. During his term, his vision brought many improvements and accomplishments to Katerini.

At the end of his term, due to Argiro’s health, they returned to the United States, where their children had settled.  He continued his entrepreneurial endeavors until his retirement and he and Argiro spent their time traveling between Greece and the United States.

He was devoted to his family and loved to spend time with his children and grandchildren. Greek history and ideals were the focus of many conversations with his grandchildren, and he made it a point to expose them to Greece and pass on the Greek culture and heritage to them.

He was a man of ethos, kindness, vision, and optimism. He had unconditional love for his homeland, Greece, which he served all his life. He was a noble man.

His funeral service was held on Saturday, September 17 at St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, MA.  In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church or to the Hellenic Cardiac Fund of Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115. Burial in Blue Hills Cemetery, Braintree, MA.

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