Veras, WWII Veteran, Businessman, Philanthropist Dies at 91

BOCA RATON, FL – James George Veras, 91, beloved in life by all, passed away peacefully in Palm Beach on April 30, 2017. A true gentlemen of integrity, exceptional warmth and grace, Jim was an exemplary son, husband, father and grandfather. Born in New York and raised in Athens and Mytilene, Greece, he was the only child of George and Aspasia. Their adoration of him was renowned and he upheld their legacy as the most dutiful son throughout his long life. He returned to the U.S. in 1939 after graduating from Athens College preparatory school.

As a member of the Greatest Generation, he enlisted in the Army at 18 years old to serve in WWII on the battlefields of Europe and in the Pacific. He served with the 86th infantry, “Blackhawk division” and was awarded the Bronze Star, the American Campaign and the Victor Medals. He was a proud veteran and a fervent patriot, a passion he imbued in his children. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and achieved a Bachelor of Science in Business Engineering Administration. He was President of the Athletic Association, an all American soccer player (first ever for M.I.T.) and President of the Alpha Theta chapter of Sigma Chi.

In 1949 he graduated and was married for 44 cherished years to Garifalia Chris who predeceased him, and was the mother of his three children. He was a doting husband to Betty Aspasia with whom he spent the last loving 18 years of his life. Jim will be forever adored by his beloved children who survive him, George and Kimberly Veras, Violetta Demas, and Lydia Veras as well as his grandsons, Dimitri, Gregory and his wife, Jennifer, Alexander, Nicholas, Andrew and Christopher. They treasured their precious Poppi/Papouli and in return, he had enormous pride in mentoring them and watching them reach manhood. Jim is survived by Katherine Gallas and dearly loved the late Honorable James Gallas. Additionally, he is survived by his wife Betty’s children and grandchildren.

Jim had a stellar 33-year career working with multinational companies. He was Manager and Corporate Vice President of Ford Motor Company, Hoover Universal, Amerada Hess Corporation, and W.R. Grace. The last 20 years of his professional career was with the World Environmental Center where he served as their President.

Proud of his Greek heritage and religion, he was a man of deep faith and a member of the St. Mark’s Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2004, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor recognizing his success as a Greek immigrant. Of his many accomplishments, none gave him greater joy than his family. We are grateful for the blessing of his long, vibrant life which he loved and appreciated with unique optimism. His astute mind never faltered and his breadth of love for all of us was as deep as the ocean as ours was for him.

A special acknowledgement to his lifelong M.I.T. brother and best friend, Howard Hendershott and his wife, Virginia; his most beloved ‘sister’, his first cousin, Litsa Karaitides; his dearest first cousins; and a treasure trove of his worldwide colleagues and friends. What a glorious life. God rest your beautiful soul, dearest Father. The Veras/Demas Family. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 3 from 4-7 pm at Glick Funeral Home in Boca Raton, Florida. The funeral will be held on Thursday, May 4 at 11:00 am at St. Mark’s Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton, Florida. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to woundedwarriorproject.org, in memory of James Veras, U.S. Army. (From the New York Times)


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