Obituaries - DANAKAS, APOSTOLAKES, BAKIARES, BAKOSH, LEONTEOS, CHARIZOPOULOS, DARIOTI, ECONOMIDES, ELIAS, GENES, GIANNOULIS, GOUVISIS, DEMAKOPOULOS - National Herald, Feb 18, 2006
The following obituaries and article were published in the February 18, 2006 issue of The National Herald. I am providing them as a possible tool for Hellenic genealogy research.
Peter DANAKAS, Hotelier who Rubbed Elbows with Canadian Prime Ministers, Dies at 69
by John Chaput, The Globe and Mail
REGINA, Sask. - Peter Danakas put everything he had into the things he loved, like the unabashed pride he felt for his two countries.
His passion for his native Greece was evident in his support of Greek culture and his strong Hellenic ties. As for his adopted home, his commitment was even more emphatic.
“Peter came from a strong community background in Greece, and from what I came to understand, he was well involved in it,” says Larry Schneider, a former mayor of Regina and member of Canadian Parliament. “He carried that attitude here with him, and wasn't the slightest bit shy about expressing it. He'd say: 'I don't know what some of you people have to say against this country. I chose it, and I'm happy I did. You were born into it; you had no choice. Don't ever say I'm not a good Canadian.' And we didn't.”
Peter Danakas, who would become a masterful hotelier and restaurateur, emigrated from Greece in 1957. The following year, his fiancée, Voula, followed and they were married.
" We were young people looking for a fresh start, a fresh future,” Mrs. Danakas says. “We thought Canada was the friendliest country, the one that was most accepting of immigrants at that time. We had no plans and spoke very little English.”
They started out in Winnipeg, and Mr. Danakas took his first job as a restaurant busboy. He read books to learn the language, and within four months, he was tending bar in a 150-seat lounge. Demonstrating an aptitude for observing detail and organizing tasks, he was hired in 1960 as assistant manager for the International Inn. There, he came under the wing of Arthur Jenkins, who became his mentor
By 1964, Mr. Danakas came into his own, revitalizing the Edmonton Inn as its general manager and serving as a troubleshooting consultant for several other hotels. He was general manager of the Regina Inn when it opened in 1966, a consultant on the setup of the Royal Centre in Vancouver and several motor hotels in Calgary, and a regular consultant for the Hyatt chain.
In 1973, the Seibu corporation assigned Mr. Danakas to oversee the beginning of its first hotel in Canada: the Prince International in Toronto. As usual, he ensured the amenities and staff were of the highest order, and that all the proper dignitaries were invited to the grand opening, where they were treated to a unique ceremony. Instead of the usual ribbon cutting, a coronation was staged, with a helicopter placing a giant crown atop the 22-storey Prince.
Mr. Danakas opened his own restaurant, the Danakas Palace, within the Hotel Toronto complex in 1976. The establishment's fine dining and elegant atmosphere attracted numerous celebrities but after three years, a more promising though less illustrious opportunity presented itself: ownership of the Regina Inn.
“It had to be the last stop,” Mrs. Danakas says. “We had a goal in life, and we were very comfortable, very happy. I didn't mind him working until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. He would get our daughters involved, give them jobs, help them learn the business, but they were also going to school and traveling. I insisted that the children would not be left home for trips or promotions, or else I wouldn't take part.”
Devotion to family didn't really require any coercion. Birth complications left son John, now 46, developmentally disabled, but he remains a Danakas household resident to this day. Granddaughters Panayiota Argyrides and Christiana Danakas-Weinkauf invariably received phone calls from Santa Claus on their Christmas visits to Regina - while their grandfather was suspiciously out of sight and earshot.
“He had his son with him all the time,” says Gus Kolitsas, a Greek emigrant who began work as a busboy in the Danakas-managed Regina Inn in 1968 and, two years later, began what would become a chain of pizzerias. “He was always perfect at work, never sloppy or slow, and he had high expectations for everyone. I thought he was tough, but never rude. He helped a lot of people, many of them immigrants.”
Mr. Danakas turned over the Regina Inn at a profit after three years and settled into restaurant ownership in the Saskatchewan capital, most notably with The Brown Derby and Stats, a luxurious dining room and a sports bar, respectively. The Brown Derby, in the southwest corner of Regina, was in a locale now surrounded by thousands of residents and easily accessible by Lewvan Drive. It wasn't so in the 1980's, and that inevitably contributed to the restaurant's closure.
“Peter had big-city ideas and he proved it with the Brown Derby,” says Jimmy Baiton, owner of two Regina restaurants. “It was fancy, but all at a reasonable price, which is a necessity in Regina. He had the foresight to realize it was not going to work out there in the boonies. You had to be a cabbie to know how to get there.”
Politics stirred Mr. Danakas, who could be opinionated on issues, but still maintain friendships with men whose political stripes differed, the likes of whom included John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau.
“He was small-p political in terms of city affairs,” says Mr. Schneider, who was mayor from 1979 to 1988 and a Tory Member of Parliament in the Mulroney and Kim Campbell governments from 1988 to 1993. “He and Voula were the first to volunteer for community projects. Peter was on a first-name basis with both Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, and had aspirations for me, more so than I had for myself. He wanted, in the worst way, to have me promoted to a higher position in Parliament. He wrote letters to Mulroney telling him I should be in cabinet, and I kept telling Peter it wasn't going to happen, that first time MPs just don't get those appointments.”
In any event, Mr. Schneider did become Minister of Western Economic Diversification in the short lived Campbell regime before losing his seat to Liberal Ralph Goodale in the 1993 election.
Mr. Danakas enjoyed rubbing elbows with the famous and powerful, partly for its own sake and, to a great extent, as a learning experience. What made society's elite feel pampered, he reasoned, would do the same for all his customers. “He loved people and loved meeting people,” says Mr. Baiton. “His reputation was built on treating people special.”
Panagiotis (Peter) Danakas was born on June 9, 1936 in Molai of Lakonia, Greece. He died of cancer on October 2, 2005 in Regina. He was 69. He is survived by his wife Voula; his son John; his daughters, Angie Argyrides and Mia Weinkauf; his brother Gus; and several grandchildren.
The Toronto Globe & Mail published the above on January 17. The original; headline is, “PETER DANAKAS, HOTELIER, 1936-2005: New Canadian who had a hand in the operation of numerous hotels from Vancouver to Toronto started out as a busboy in a Winnipeg restaurant and became something of a backroom political powerbroker.”
APOSTOLAKES. Constantine J. - Of Valley Stream, LI; died on February 6, 2006. Beloved husband of Tess. Loving father of James, Helene Kanellis and Patricia (John) Limberis. Dear grandfather of six and great-grandfather of one. Also survived by his brother Louis Apostol and sister Catherine Matthews. Reposing, Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, 1201 Franklin Ave., Garden City, LI, on February 7 and 8. Funeral services at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul, Hempstead, LI, on February 10. Interment, Pinelawn Memorial Park.
BAKIARES, Sophie. - Beloved wife of the late John P.; loving mother of Joan (the late Theodore) Kendros, George (Josephine) Bakiares and the late Peter; dear sister of Beca (the late George) Vroustouris and the late James (Jenny) Cromydas; dear grandmother of seven; greatgrandmother of 10; and greatgrandmother of one. Funeral was on February 9 from Drake & Son Funeral Home in Chicago, IL. Service was at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church. Interment Memory Gardens Cemetery. Visitation was on February 7. Arrangements by Pfaff-Garner-Adinamis Funeral Home.
BAKOSH, Ardis L. “Babe” (nee LEONTEOS) - Beloved wife of John M. Bakosh; devoted daughter of the late Thomas and Vasiliki Leonteos; loving sister of Helen (the late Carl) Morris, Mary (the late Edward) Slanec, Connie (the late Raymond) Keenan, the late Ted (Hazel), the late Gus (Helen) Leontios; fond sister-in-law and aunt of many. Retiree of Western Electric Cicero, IL. Visitation was on Wednesday, February 8 at Conboy's Westchester Funeral Home in Westchester, IL. Funeral was the following day from the funeral home to Transfiguration of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Chapel at Elmwood Cemetery River Grove, IL for funeral service. Interment Elmwood Cemetery. Memorial donations to the American Cancer Society, appreciated.
CHARIZOPOULOS, Loukas. - Beloved friend of Melina Kakoulli; loving father of Alexis, Michael and Christopher Charizopoulos; devoted son of Elena (the late Chrysostomos) Lalos and the late Alexander (Nitsa) Charizopoulos; dear brother of Niko in Greece; fond uncle of Elena. Visitation was on February 7 at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home in Chicago. Family and friends met on February 6 in the morning at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago for funeral service.
DARIOTI, Eugenia. - Beloved wife of the late Apostolos; loving mother of Ioanna (Manolis) Zannis, Irene (Sam) Sianis and Dionysios (Maria); proud grandmother of 10; great-grandmother of two; dear sister of Eftihia Koutsoumis in Greece. Visitation was on Tuesday, February 7 at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 6150 N. Cicero Ave in Chicago, IL. Funeral service and interment were held in Greece. Memorial donations to Sts. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church, 11360 S. Lawler, Alsip, IL 60482, would be appreciated. Arrangements by John G. Adinamis Funeral Director Ltd.
ECONOMIDES, Frieda (nee [PLATON) - Age 75; late of Plainfield, IL and formerly of Hinsdale and Chicago, IL passed away Friday, February 3, 2006 at home. She worked 11 years as a reservationist for Eastern Airlines and also worked with her husband in his commercial photography business in Chicago. Frieda also enjoyed volunteering at Treasure House, Glen Ellyn, for Metropolitan Family Services of Dupage. An outstanding pastry cook, she loved music and playing piano, tending her plants and traveling. Surviving are her husband, A.J. Economides of Plainfield; four sons, John (Joyce) of Downers Grove, Steven (Annette) of Scottsdale, AZ, Jason (Patricia) of Mt. Pleasant, MI and Gregory Theo of Chicago; nine grandchildren, Timothy, Sarah, John, Rebekah, Roy, Joseph, Abigail, Zoe and Eleni. Preceded by her parents, Steven and Zaharoula, nee Tsitsibourouni, Platon; two brothers, Nicholas and Eugene. Funeral services were held Thursday, February 9, 2006 from Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black at Essington Rds., Joliet, to All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N. Broadway, Joliet, for services. Interment Woodlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Metropolitan Family Services of Dupage, 222 E. Willow Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187, would be appreciated. Visitation was on Wednesday, February 8 with Trisagion Services at the funeral home.
ELIAS, Catherine Presvytera. - Age 100; formerly of Bethlehem, VA; died Thursday, February 9. Born in Megali Panaghia, Greece, she was the wife of the late Rev. Nicholas M. Elias. Together, they came to America in 1939 with their three children. Survivors: Sons, Michael and Christ, both of Allentown; brother, George Galatsianos of York; sister, Angeliki Tambros of Everett, Wash.; grandchildren, Athan Atsales of Saugus, Calif., Paulette Hood of Hollywood, Md., Dr. Nicholas Elias of Boulder, Colo., Andrew Elias of Bethlehem, Nicos Elias of Allentown; three great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by children, Loukia and Theodore. Services: Saturday, February 11 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem. Contributions: To the church, PA, 18018, to benefit the Mount Tabor project.
GENES, Nick H. - Age 84; of Sun City, Arizona, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2006, in Youngtown, AZ. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Josephine A. Genes, Sun City, AZ; two sons, Steven M. (Debbie) Genes, Peoria, AZ, Harry W. (Wanda) Genes, Hot Springs, South Dakota; two sisters, Anna Laoudis, San Diego, CA, Katherine Genes, New York, NY; brother, John Genes, New York, NY; grandchildren, Nicholas Genes, Surprise, AZ, Anthony Genes, Chicago, IL, David Genes, Tampa, FL; two great grandchildren, Nicholas and Demetrius Genes, both of Surprise, AZ. Nick served proudly in the U.S. Army during WW-II. Visitation was Sunday, February 5, 2006, with Trisagion Service, both at Sunland Mortuary in Sun City, AZ. Funeral Services were conducted on Monday, February 6, 2006 at St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 10320 N. 84th Ave., Peoria, AZ. Interment followed at Sunland Memorial Park.
GIANNOULIS, Athanasios N. - Age 69; beloved husband of Christina, nee Gatsakos; devoted father of Nikolaos, Angelo (JayeLee) Anagnostopoulos and Patricia Flannery; fond grandfather of Nikolaos (Jennie), Jimmy, Christopher, Kosta and Christian and great-grandfather of Sophia; dearest brother of Christos and the late Kostandinos; dear brother-in-law of Vasiliki (the late Chris) Spyropoulos, Keratso (Nikolaos) Andrianopoulos, Haralambos (Maria) Gatsakos, Niki (Vasilios) Blathras and the late Gust and Theodora Gatsakos; dear uncle of many nieces and nephews. Funeral was on Saturday, February 11from Salerno's Galewood Chapels in Chicago, IL to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church for Funeral Service. Donations to Assumption Church appreciated. Visitation was on Friday, February 10.
GOUVISIS, Loraine (nee Ottosen) - Age 64; died on February 2, 2006 at the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City after a courageous two- year battle with cancer. She was born May 25, 1941 in Sterling Sanpete County, Utah to Don and Berniece Ottosen. She was a graduate from Manti High School and was a professional cosmetologist and later retired from Harman Music Group. She married Tom X. Gouvisis July 21, 1962 in the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City. They have two children, Nieca Bronson (Scott), and Phil Gouvisis and one granddaughter. She is also survived by her mother Berniece and sister Peggy Johnson (Mike). Preceded in death by her father. Loraine was a quiet loving and caring lady with a contagious smile. She enjoyed reading, swimming, traveling and especially shopping. A special service, in her honor, was held on Saturday, February 4, 2006 at Deseret Mortuary, 36 East 700 South, Salt Lake City. At her request she will be cremated so there will be no graveside services. A memorial dinner followed services. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to be made in Loraine's name to H.C.F., 500 Huntsman Way SLC, UT. 84108. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.celebratinglife-ut.com.
Dr. Steve DEMAKOPOULOS, Economist, Author And Columnist, Memorialized in Brockton, MA
NEW YORK - Steve A. Demakopoulos, Ph.D, a longtime resident of New York City and former Board member of Saint Spyridon's Church in Manhattan's Washington Heights, was remembered during a 40-day memorial service at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Brockton, Massachusetts this past Sunday, February 12. Dr. Demakopoulos, a retired economist who worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for more than 25 years, was a linguistic columnist for the National Herald and other Hellenic American publications across the United States from 1966 to 1996. He died at the John Scott House in Braintree, Massachusetts on January 1, at age 75. The author of “Do You Speak Greek” and a variety of articles on the Greek language, Dr. Demakopoulos retired ten years ago and moved to Holbrook, Massachusetts, his wife's hometown, where he built a library to accommodate all his works. While living in New York, he always had his dictionary open and sitting on a lectern, and was able to assist in inquiries about both the English and Greek language from his many associates and friends. Having served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, he received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from New York University. His office with the Port Authority was on the 65th floor of the World Trade Center. A parishioner of the Annunciation Church in Brockton, Dr. Demakopoulos was buried in Union Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Madeline (Polisson); his brother, Chris; a nephew and a number of nieces.