Obituaries - PSYCHOUNDAKIS, ALLANI, ALLES nee KARRAS, ANGELUS nee KONTOUROUSIS, BARZELIS, KAKOLIRES, STAMULIS, AKOURIS - The National Herald, March 11, 2006
The following obituaries and articles were published in the March 11, 2006 issue of The National Herald, with their kind permission I am providing them as a possible tool for Hellenic genealogy research.
George Psychoundakis of London, Author of “The Cretan Runner,” Book about the German Occupation, Dies at 85
LONDON - George Psychoundakis, BEM (British Empire Medalist), shepherd, partisan and writer, was born on November 3, 1920.He died on January 29, 2006 at 85 years of age.
As a runner for the Resistance in Crete during the German occupation, George Psychoundakis carried messages over vast distances across one of the most mountainous regions in Europe. It was a life of constant risk - runner captured by the Germans were often tortured and shot. Wearing worn-out boots and with a minimum of rations, Psychoundakis would cover up to 50 miles in only a few days.
The threat from collaborators meant that he often had to avoid villages, thus depriving himself of comforts which would have eased the rigors of his journeys.
Psychoundakis approached his missions with a humor and a charm that made him a popular figure in the Resistance, as well as with the British officers serving under cover. One officer was the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, with whom Psychoundakis formed a lifelong friendship. It was Fermor who translated Psychoundakis' account of life under the occupation, "The Cretan Runner," republished in 1998. In his foreword, Fermor writes how he was captivated by the Cretan's "gift for play on words, for funny repartee, light verse, improvisation, unpredictable flights of imagination and his instinct for teasing the great."
More than merely fleet of foot, Psychoundakis was quick of mind. Before the war, as a shepherd boy, he was fascinated by literature. Among a barely literate population, he had to pester the village priest and the doctor for books, and even composed his own epic poems.
Psychoundakis represented the Greek oral tradition: he had even composed a two-hour-long poem about the war.It ended with George firing Leigh Fermor's pistol into the air, swearing vengeance on the German "cuckolds." At night and when the weather was awful, Psychoundakis would sit with his comrades in their caves, reciting the 10,000 lines of the 17th Century Cretan poem, the Erotokritos.
George Psychoundakis was born in 1920, the son of a shepherd from the village of Asi Gonia in Western Crete. The family was very poor - Psychoundakis, his two sisters and brother were raised in a one-room house - and owned only a handful of goats and sheep. After a few years at the village school, Psychoundakis, too, became a shepherd until the German invasion in May 1941.
Had the invasion not happened, it is probable that he would have remained an unknown shepherd, eking out a tough existence on the craggy Cretan landscape. But the occupation allowed him to broaden his horizons, for the contacts he had made with scholarly warriors such as Leigh Fermor gave him the opportunity to make a name for himself as a man of letters.
But the transition from mountain boy to writer was not easy. Despite being awarded the British Empire Medal after the war, Psychoundakis was arrested as a deserter and imprisoned for several months, losing his thick head of hair through worry.
Afterwards, he was forced to fight in the civil war,returning to Asi Gonia after two years to find his family poorer than ever.
It was then that he wrote "The Cretan Runner." When he and Fermor met again in 1951, Fermor marveled at the uniqueness of such a document. Most writing about the occupation had been by the English or the Germans, but here was a heartfelt testament to the horrors of being occupied. The book was published in 1955, and became a great success.
Written in a simplistic style, it is an episodic account of hardships and dangers, with moments of great humor set against a backdrop of murder and torture.
"Nobody talked, but the Germans had positive information. They lined them all up and, as they refused to speak, prepared to execute the lot. But before they could press the trigger of their heavy machine gun, ten Germans fell dead. For some of the village men - about ten - had taken up position along the top of a sheer cliff above the village, from where they could watch every detail and, at just the right moment, had opened fire. Not a bullet went wide."
Even after the publication of his book, Psychoundakis continued to live in Asi Gonia. There he translated the Iliad and the Odyssey into his Cretan dialect, and he was honored by the Academy of Athens. He lived off the land and held a variety of jobs. That one of these was as the caretaker for the nearby German cemetery was a shining example of Psychoundakis' sense of forgiveness.
He is survived by his wife, Sofia, their son and two daughters.
The Times of London published the above on February 23. The original headline is, “George Psychoundakis: Cretan Partisan who wrote an unvarnished account of the wartime occupation.”
Allani, Constance F. - Age 95; Died in Bradenton, FL on March 3, 2006. She was born May 23, 1910, in Korce, Albania, and came to Bradenton in 1981 from Bridgeport, Conn. She was a former restaurant owner and operator in Bridgeport. She was a member of Philoptocos of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, a charter member of TEUTA of St. George Orthodox Church in Bridgeport and a staff member of Girls Club of America in Bridgeport. Survivors include a daughter, Jeanette A. Trifiatis of Bradenton; many nieces and nephews; many great-nieces and great-nephews; and many great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews. Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, 43rd Street Chapel, Bradenton, were in charge of arrangements.
Alles, Elaine K. (nee Karras) - Beloved wife of the late Dr. George P. Alles; loving mother of Gail (Ed) Carney, Debbie (James) Vacco and Margo (John) Engel; dear grandmother of George, Jackson, Layne, Aldo, Alex, Jared and Bailey; fond aunt of many nieces and nephews. Rested at Chapel Hill Gardens West Funeral Home on Monday, March 6. Funeral was on Tuesday, March 7 to Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church. Interment Elmwood Cemetery.
Angelus, Aspasia (nee Kontourousis). - Angelus, James owned Boston Baking Co., but at dinner after services at the Greek Orthodox cathedral, his goods were not on the table. He ate pastries prepared by his wife, Aspasia. So did their children. So did the ever-present guests who filled the family's Waban, MA house each Sunday afternoon. "She made banana cake that nobody ever forgot," said Mrs. Angelus's daughter Mary Philopoulos, of Canton. "Frosting? No. That was bad for your teeth. Dad would sometimes bring home a blueberry pie, but that was it. He wanted Mom's cooking." Aspasia (Kontourousis) Angelus, who as a teenagerimmigrated to the US from the Greek island of Andros, died February 8. She was a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday and lived in the English Tudor house in Waban that she and her husband bought in 1937. The way she prepared pastries did not survive Mrs. Angelus, however. "Don't ask her for a recipe because it was a handful of this and a pinch of that. She knew by feel," her daughter said. When she left Greece, Mrs. Angelus first moved in with her sister in Chelsea. She worked in a confectionery ice cream store, dipping chocolates, and attended school at night. In 1929, she married James Angelus, who had moved from Greece to the US when he was 20. "This was an arranged marriage," Philopoulos said. "Mom was 23 and Dad was 42." They had five children in four years three girls and twin boys. The couple first lived in a Dorchester three decker, then moved the growing family to Wollaston, and purchased the Waban house in 1937 so their children could attend schools in Newton. "Her family and her home were number one she had a beautiful garden," said her oldest daughter, Anita Koulopoulos of Waltham, MA. "She taught us to appreciate nature. She would hold up a flower and say, `Plants are like humans, they need three things to survive: sun, water, and oxygen.' She loved her flowers. No flower would dare to die under my mother's care, let me tell you." When the need arose, Mrs. Angelus welcomed guests to stay in her home awhile. Once, a cousin of her husband and hisfamily stayed for a time at the Angelus house when they moved to this country from Greece. "There was seven in our family, seven in theirs," Koulopoulos said. "She was cooking for 14 people. She was a tireless person." To keep the household running smoothly, Mrs. Angelus kept weekends structured for her children, and emphasized their Greek heritage. On Saturdays, a tutor arrived to teach the children Greek.In between language and piano lessons, the girls cleaned the inside of the house, the boys the outside. "Sunday was church, then company," Koulopoulos said. "There were no cellphones, so Mother knew to make a lot of roast chicken, a lot of chicken soup," Philopoulos said. James Angelus died in 1978, and Mrs. Angelus turned to writing poetry in her native tongue, often celebrating her homeland. One poem, "Our Beloved Greece," was written on March 25, Greek independence day, and presented at church several years ago, her daughter said. The English translation reads in part: How many times have your children shed their blood/to hold onto freedom and remain close to you always./You were the example heard the world over. The poem concludes: When our Greek flag flutters with the golden cross/we turn our love to our homeland and our faith to God/always to keep us away from evil (our enemy). In addition to her daughters Anita and Mary, Mrs. Angelus leaves another daughter, Mina Marken of Southborough; two sons, Nick of Alexandria, Va., and Bill of Waban, MA; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great- grandchildren. A funeral service was held on February 14 in St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Weston
Barzelis, Stephen A. - A veteran of WWII U.S. Navy. Beloved husband of Sophie, nee Actipis; loving father of Nicholas S. (Stacy) Barzelis and Maria Denise (Bill) Maur; devoted son of the late Anthony and Dena Barzelis; proud grandfather of Alexander and Theodore Barzelis and Blair Denise Person; dear brother of Jenny (the late Gus) Lander and Spiro (the late Marion) Barzelis; brother-in-law of Demetra (Nicholas) Kriadis, Nick (the late Mary) Kladis and the late Peter (Sophie) Kladis; fond uncle of many. Former owner of Mr. Stephen's Restaurant in Prairie Shores and the Buffalo Ice Cream Parlor. Visitation was on Sunday, March 5 at Smith Corcoran Funeral Home in Glenview, IL. Family and friends met the following morning at St. John theBaptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines, IL for funeral service. Memorials to St. John the Baptist Philoptochos Society would be appreciated.
Kakolires, Nicholas. - Age 9; born May 17, 1996 in Chicago and was raised in Bloomingdale, IL. Nicholas' battle with Leukemia ended at home with peace and Dignity on March 4, 2006. His battle with leukemia started on March 4, 2001. He enjoyed 4 1/2 years of disease free life while in remission. He was in the 4th grade at Erickson Elementary school and was a member of Cub Scout pack #457. Nicholas enjoyed playing with his sisters, baseball, riding his bike, Monopoly, video games, chess, going to the movies and racing pinewood derby cars. He loved to collect figurines of comic book characters along with many other collectible items he loved and cherished. Nicholas was a very generous young man who never gave up hope in his battle with leukemia. Beloved and cherished son of Nick and Valerie, nee Vizek; loving brother of Athena and Elizabeth; fond grandson of Nicholas and Athena Kakolires and James and Evelyn Vizek; dearest great-grandson of Antoinette and the late Peter Vecchiollo and the late Panagiotis and Angeliki Kakolires of Zakynthos, Greece; dear nephew, cousin and friend to many here and in Greece. Funeral was on Wednesday, March 8 from the Salerno's Rosedale Chapels in Roselle, IL to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Elmhurst, IL for the funeral service. Interment Arlington Cemetery. Donations in his memory to MACC Fund c/o Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226- 0509 or to donate by credit card at www.mcw.edu or Pythagoras Day School in c/o St. Demetrios Church. The family would like to thank all the staffs at The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Erickson Elementary School and Cub Scout pack #457 as well as extended family and friends with all their help and support. Arrangements by Hellenic Funeral Service, Nicholas M. Pishos Funeral Director.
Stamulis, Nicholas G. - “Papou” born July 30, 1924; Passed away March 5, 2006. Son of George N. Stamilus and Irene (nee Emamuel), both deceased; beloved husband of Mary Stamulis (nee Phillips) for 57 years; father of George (Melissa), St. Augustine, FL., and Irene (Scott) Stringer, Danville, CA., and Christopher (Lisa) Stamulis, Creve Coeur; grandfather 'Papou' of Bradley, Gray, Brennan, Brodie, Sarah, Alexandra, Nicholas, Michael, Heather, Ashley (Darrell) and Tiffany; two great-grandchildren, Christian and Alaya; brother of Ellen (John) Jouriles, Cleveland, OH. Nick was a graduate of Washington University, former president and treasurer of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, general sales manager of Weber Chevrolet and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service in World War II.Services: Family received friends at Kriegshauser West Chapel on Tuesday, March 7. Service at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Wednesday, March 8 followed by graveside service at St. Matthew's Cemetery. Donations may be made to Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance of St. Louis and Southern Illinois, 23 Stone Dr., Highland, IL. 62249 (Heather, granddaughter), or Landbank Fund of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
James G. Akouris, Civil Engineer and Father of Sports Reporter, Dies at 72
By Monifa Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO - James G. Akouris read books on math and philosophy the way many people devour works of popular fiction.
A civil engineer by trade, Mr. Akouris, who died on March 3 of complications from pneumonia at age 72, read constantly in his free time and urged his only child, Chicago Sun-Times' high school sports reporter Tina Akouris, to do the same.
"He would always buy me these workbooks from the educational store," Tina recalled. "He said, 'You're either going to be a lady of letters or a lady of numbers.' "
The day Tina said she was considering a career in journalism, Mr. Akouris immediately started researching the best journalism schools in the country.
"Whatever interests I had, he was really gung-ho and supportive," she said. "He was my best friend."
The admiration was mutual, according to Mr. Akouris' son-in-law, Matt Corradino.
"He never wanted a lot of fuss to be made over him, but he never stopped beaming with pride about his daughter and what she accomplished," Corradino said.
A native of Chicago, Mr. Akouris grew up in the city's Austin neighborhood and graduated from Austin High School in 1951.
In high school, Mr. Akouris was a member of the draftsmen club, and he went onto take engineering courses at the University of Illinois and Wright Junior College, his daughter said. Mr. Akouris also took classes at the School of the Art Institute.
"He always liked to draw. I guess it was just a natural progression to go into engineering," Tina said.
During his career, Mr. Akouris worked for a string of engineering firms in the Chicago area, including Donovan Engineers, Sergeant & Lundy, and Brown & Root in Oak Brook.
Though the recession of the 1980's was tough on his profession, Mr. Akouris remained upbeat, a trait relatives said was typical of him.
Mr. Akouris married his wife of 38 years, then Cally Svarkonis, after meeting her at a YMCA dance.
"She bet one of her friends that she would meet him and take him away from another girl," Tina Akouris said. "She won the bet, and they began dating."
In their married life, the couple attended several Greek American dances at the YMCA.
Another family tradition was to take turns trying to crack each other's painted Easter eggs for Greek Easter celebrations. With his deep knowledge of physics, Mr. Akouris "always knew the right way to hold his egg so he would always win," his daughter said.
Perhaps the best advice Tina Akouris remembers getting from her father was to find a profession she loved and stick to it.
"He told me, 'The day you don't enjoy the ride to work in the morning is the day you know you need to get out and look for something else,' " she said.
Visitation was held this past Tuesday at Conboy's Funeral Home in Westchester, Illinois. Services were held at the funeral home this past Wednesday.
Other survivors include Mr. Akouris' sister, Georgia Fallis, and his brother, John.
The Chicago Sun-Times published the above on March 6. The original headline is, “James G. Akouris: Civil engineer, sports reporter's dad.”