Presbytera Calypso Karahalios of blessed memory, a person of deep faith in God, philanthropy, and love for fellow humans. (Photo provided by Maliotis Center)
BOSTON – Presbvtera Calypso Karahalios was born in Athens, Greece. Her family is from the Island of Paros, located in the heart of the Aegean Sea. While she came to America at the young age of 3 1/2, she never lost her deep connection with her birthplace. Her Greek-American immigrant childhood played out in a friendly Brooklyn neighborhood in East Flatbush. They were the only Greek family, but their Italian, Jewish, Irish, and German neighbors were like family. Thus, at a very early age, she was exposed to a variety of multi-ethnic cuisine. Holiday celebrations were incredibly joyous and always focused on food, as family, friends, and neighbors gathered in her home. Calypso often said this was where her love of the culinary arts was born.
Her father, Anastasios, and Uncle Peter Caparis were co-owners of the Beverly Restaurant, located a short distance from their home. As a youngster, she marveled that, rather than eat his dinner at the Beverly, he came home each evening and enjoyed a home-cooked meal with his children, Calypso’s older brother Yianni, younger sisters Barbara and Margarita.
Calypso graduated from Prospect Heights High School in 1954 and, armed with a New York State Regents Diploma and an Honors Certificate in Business Administration, went to work as an Administrative Assistant at a well-known book publishing company in Manhattan. Two months after graduating from High School, at the age of 18, she married her soul mate, George A. Karahalios, a Greek Exchange Student from Athens attending Columbia University. George went on to graduate from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He was assigned to his first parish in Concord, New Hampshire and later served a parish in Lowell, MA.
Father George went on to earn a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. While Father George served as Chaplain for the Greek-American soldiers at the U.S. Army base in Heidelberg, Calypso was Administrative Assistant to the Commanding Officer at the USAG Heidelberg Army Base.
Upon returning to the States, Father George taught at Hellenic College/Holy Cross while serving the Andover, MA parish. Presbytera Calypso, drawing on her experience at the USAG Heidelberg Army Base, Calypso accepted the position of administrative assistant to the Commanding Officer at Hanscom Air Force Base, Bedford, Massachusetts.
During this time, she was also active in the Ladies Philoptochos Society. She chaired the publication of three cookbooks, all successful fund-raisers for her Church, and a Lenten Cookbook for the Metropolis of Boston. She especially enjoyed teaching evening cooking classes in the Town of Andover. Cooking and entertaining were always a joyful part in her life.
Calypso also co-authored several fundraising cookbooks, a collection called The Greek Palette, to benefit Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Andover, MA. In 2004 she self-published a The Calypso Collection, a family cookbook compiled to commemorate the 50th wedding anniversary to her late husband, Father George Karahalios.
Before her health began to fail, she worked on her second cookbook, Calypso’s Collection – a labor of love dedicated to her late husband, who shared her passion for cooking and entertaining family and friends around the dining room table. Armed with a fierce pride in her Greek heritage, she believes, as did Hippocrates, the Greek physician from the Age of Pericles, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Calypso was a philanthropist. She has supported financially many students of Hellenic ethnic origin in the United States and abroad. She has also made generous offerings to orphanages in Greece. In the last months of her life, she made a generous donation to the Maliotis Cultural Center of Hellenic College/Holy Cross, establishing a library and lounge in memory of her late husband, who served as Provost and Vice-President of HCHC. She also contributed financially to the overall renovations of the Maliotis building. A private funeral service was held at the Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Cambridge, MA, followed by burial in the Gardens at Gethsemane in West Roxbury with her late husband Fr. George Karahalios.
Memorial donations in Calypso’s memory may be made to the Maliotis Cultural Center of the Hellenic College, 50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA 02445.
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