We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Vraim Funeral Home, Inc.
Angeliki Atsaves (née Zissimos), resident of Swarthmore, died Saturday, August 13th at home after a long but graceful bout with Alzheimer's.
As afternoon sun washed her room with light, she gave those she loved one final gift: a passing that was peaceful, fleeting and without pain. Her daughter-in-law Kristina (Cole) and son Peter were with her in comfort.
Angeliki was born January 10, 1931, in the village of Kardamas, in western Peloponnesus, Greece. She was the youngest of 5 siblings and came of age during the Great Depression and World War II. While there were wonderful stories of family and school-aged escapades, there were also recollections of German occupation and confiscation of harvests for soldiers' camps.
While her older siblings worked, Angeliki was afforded the opportunity to pursue an education. After finishing high school in 1949, she went to midwifery school in Athens, where she worked after graduation.
Angeliki moved to Brooklyn NY in November 1962 with the encouragement of her brother Michael and his wife Anthoula, who settled there. She planned to continue her career, but fate intervened with an introduction to Anthoula's first cousin, Evangelos, a retired Greek Naval officer and co-owner of The Ambassador and Astor Restaurants in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Angeliki and Evangelos were married on November 3, 1963. They had two children: Artemis (1968) and Panagiotis ("Peter", 1970). Artemis was born with Cerebral Palsy and died from pneumonia in August 1972. Evangelos died on April 1, 1976, after a 6-month illness. Later that year Peter was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, but the marvels of medicine and Angeliki's devotion were the cures.
Angeliki was a faithful servant of God and long-time member and chorister of The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre. She served in leadership roles with the Philoptochos Society and the local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Angeliki was hostess of the Hart Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, which was owned by her beloved cousin and former Astor Restaurant co-owner, James Klarevas.
Angeliki retired in November 1998 and moved to Bethesda, MD with Kristina and Peter just in time to welcome her first grandchild, Evan. Noah (2001) and Angelica ("Annie" 2003) followed, and the legend of Yia Yia was born. Friends, neighbors, colleagues, and their loved ones became Yia Yia’s extended family.
With the move to Swarthmore in May 2001, Park Ave was Yia Yia’s home until her death. Over two decades, the legend of Yia Yia grew with each new friend the children brought home, each new family she came to know, and with each opportunity to share her genuine warmth and kindness. Now the legend is her legacy.
In addition to Evangelos and Artemis, Angeliki was predeceased by her parents, Ioannis and Maria Zissimos; sisters, Anastasia Athanasopoulos, Athanasia Andriopoulou, Sophia Efthimiopoulou (Greece); and brother, Michael Zissimos (Swarthmore).
In addition to Peter, Kristina, Evan, Noah, Annie and Anthoula, Angeliki is survived by nieces: Maria Zissimos (Arthur Kyriazis), Swarthmore; Ellie Ntymenou (Thanasis), Kardamas, Greece; Denise Athanasopoulos (Gordon Percival), Victoria, Australia; Kanella Read (Peter), Victoria, Australia; Athanasia Andriopoulou (Yannis); nephews: John Zissimos (Pam), Mill Valley, CA; Kon Athanasopoulos, Victoria, Australia; and their children and grandchildren.
Friends and family are welcome to attend her viewing on Thursday August 18th, from 10 am to 11am at St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Church, 35 N. Malin Rd, Broomall, PA 19008. Her funeral will follow at 11am in church. Her interment will take place on Friday, August 19th, 11 am, at Oaklawn Cemetery in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Gratitude and appreciation go to Lisa Bell, Bayada Hospice, and 2nd Family. Their loving care of and commitment to Angeliki and our family will never be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Children and Adult Disability & Educational Services (CADES), 401 Rutgers Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081. (cades.org).
Children and Adult Disability & Educational Services (CADES)
401 Rutgers Ave,, Swarthmore PA 19081