TAMPA, FL – The day before, he had complained that he was not feeling well, that he could not breathe. And a few days ago, speaking to the president of the local Society of Epirotes of Florida, he said that after so many statues celebrating Hellenism that he had erected in Greece and the U.S., there would be no more. “I’m done. No more statues,” he had said, as if he felt that the thread of his life would soon be cut.
Indeed, in the early hours of Monday, January 24, Michael Servos, a member of the Greek Diaspora, who made great contributions, passed away at the age of 73, struck by the coronavirus.
Michael Servos had health problems in recent years, which he faced with stoicism, continuing a long-term contribution to the Greek Diaspora, Hellenism, and society in general.
About 20 days ago, he contracted and became ill with the coronavirus, despite having been vaccinated three times. He was hospitalized twice and then returned home to Belleair, where he lived near Clearwater, with his wife, Theodora, who was constantly close to him and cared for him.
The last time, after the hospital, Servos looked well, but suddenly his condition worsened. The coronavirus had seriously affected his lungs.
“We met at the AHEPA Christmas party and he was fine,” Nora Mihopoulos, President of the Society of Epirotes of Florida Epirus Inc., founded by the deceased, told The National Herald. “A few days ago I spoke to him for the last time, by phone. At one point I asked him what the next statue would be and he replied, ‘Nora, I’m done… No more statues.’ The loss of Michael Servos is immense for all of us, for the whole Greek Diaspora, for all Hellenism,”
Servos had two children, Vasilis and Evanthia, and five grandchildren. His son studied economics, while his daughter has studied law.
“Michael was a great man and a great Greek,” said his wife, Theodora. “He was distinguished for his humanity and his charity. He helped a lot of people in their various needs.”
The funeral will take place Thursday, January 27, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Clearwater. He will be buried in the Hellenic Cemetery ‘Morpheus’, section of Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor, between Clearwater and the “Greek village” Tarpon Springs. This Greek cemetery was built on the initiative of the Foundation of Hellenism of America, which was also founded by the deceased.
Panhellenic Federation of Florida President Michael Alexandrou, expressed his deep sorrow for the death of Servos, referring to the multifaceted work he left behind.
Servos, among other things, had served as president of the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Panhellenic Federation of Florida, the Greek American Community of Florida, and the Foundation of Hellenism of America.
On his initiative and actions, the Consulate General of Tampa was established in Florida, while the airport of Ioannina was renamed King Pyrros.
His name was also associated with the two educational organizations of charter schools of Greek interest, the Athenian Academy and the Plato Academy, which were founded and continue to operate successfully in Florida.
On his own initiative and in many cases at his own expense, statues were made and erected in several cities in the U.S. and Greece. The first statue erected by Servos was that of the mother of Alexander the Great, Olympias, and was placed in the central square of Ioannina, which was renamed Olympiados Square, at his request, as president of Panepirotic Federation.
One of the works he donated is the monument to the Coopers, which was placed in Sopiki, Northern Epirus, because, as he said, his grandparents on his mother’s side, were barrelmakers, i.e. coopers, and the village where his parents came from, was the “capital” of coopers.
Also, on his initiative, the statue of Theodore was erected on Clearwater Beach, which is considered to be the first Greek who arrived in America with the great explorers.
Other statues include those of Dr. George Papanikolaou, Louis Tikas, and the ancient philosopher Cleisthenes, which was placed last year outside the municipality of Egaleo in Greece.
For all the contribution of Servos in Epirus and the Greek Diaspora, his name was given to the central square of Sopiki Pogoni, where his bust has also been erected.
A lover of the ancient Greek spirit, he used the nickname “Demosthenes Dodonaios” because near Ioannina, where he was born, is the ancient Dodoni.
From the various organizations to he served, Servos fought for national issues and especially for the Northern Epirus. For all his struggles and efforts he received many honors.
Servos was born in Ioannina in 1948, but his family came from Sopiki in Northern Epirus. During his childhood, he lived in Pogoniani, Ioannina. At the age of 14, he immigrated with his family to New York.
He attended economics classes at City College in New York and studied directing and television production at the RCA Institute. However, he realized that it was better to be in business. In the beginning, he was involved, professionally, with restaurants and supermarkets.
In 1982, he moved to Florida, where he started a company that built shopping malls. With the financial crisis, he lost a bundle in 1988-89. He then set up a telephone company which he held for about ten years before being sold. He then founded a moving company with great prospects that his son took over.
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