10th February 1943 – 04th January 2021
It is with profound sadness that the family of Christos Papachristos announce his passing on Monday, January 4th 2021, after his battle with Covid-19, at the age of 77 years. He passed away in the hospital alone, as is unfortunately the reality of all victims to Covid-19.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 56 years, Dimitra, also known as “Toula”; children: Irene, Jean (Panagiotis), Elias (Athanasia); grandchildren: Lefteris, Christina, Maria, Dimitra; brothers: Konstantinos, George (Eleni); sister: Anna (Dimos); sister-in-laws, brother-in-laws, as well as many nieces, nephews and numerous relatives and friends around the globe. He was predeceased by his brother Athanasios, who also passed away from Covid-19 in November 2020. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family at the Church of Saint Demetrios in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, his brothers at Order of AHEPA Thermopylae Chapter 445 as well as by the wider Greek Community in the U.S. as well as in his homeland, Greece.
Christos was born into a family of farmers on February 10th, 1943 in the village of Vrontou, Pieria (Katerini) which at that time was located on Mount Olympus. He was the eldest of 5 children: Konstantinos, Athanasios, George, Anna, born to father, Elias Papachristos and mother, Evgenia Kleitsinikou. The then village of Vrontou was burned down in 1946 during the Greek Civil War and inhabitants of the village, including Christos, his brother Konstantinos and mother Evgenia were forced to move into tents in nearby villages until 1950, when the current-day village of Vrontou was re-built at the foothills of Mount Olympus.
Being the eldest of his siblings, Christos assumed great responsibilities and held the natural role of “protector” to his younger siblings while their father worked. This in addition to the poverty prevalent in Greece during Christos’s early years, allowed Christos to attend only grade school as there was a need to work early on to support his family. During his teenage years, he attended the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Christos was engaged to his wife, Dimitra, in 1963, when he was 19 years of age. Dimitra was one of four children, living in the same village of Vrontou and was chosen by Christos’s father, Elias, to be the wife of Christos. Once engaged, Christos departed to serve in the Greek army for two years. Upon completion of his service to his country, he returned to Vrontou in 1965 to marry his wife of 56 years, Dimitra. Once married, they moved from their village of Vrontou to the nearby city of Katerini where they lived and worked until 1970. During his years in Katerini, Christos was a truck driver, transporting food products from local farmers and distributors throughout Greece. In September 1970, Christos and his wife, taking the little money they had and one suitcase of clothes, without knowing one word of English, immigrated to the United States of America for a better life. They arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and built their household in nearby suburbs for the next 50 years although initially planning to stay for only five.
In the U.S., Christos worked tirelessly to succeed in every aspect of his life. He worked his way through many restaurants/food establishments, while also putting himself through Interstate Tractor Trailer training school at nights, during his early years in the U.S.. It was just three years after arriving in the U.S. that Christos opened his first restaurant, Logan Restaurant in Northeast, Philadelphia. He later established the Papp’s Pizza brand, opening up a couple of stores and finally acquired the Westgate Pub in 2004. He was a natural born leader, worked and excelled in the food business from 1970 until 2017, when his health prevented him from working any longer.
Years after immigrating to the U.S., Christos began creating a family with his wife. They have three children who he adored and sacrificed for throughout his entire life. He provided not only the essentials but a proper education to all three in hopes that they live a better life than he had lived, filled with everything he was deprived of growing up.
Christos had a passion and talent for cooking. It gave him great pleasure to cook with his wife and to volunteer as a cook for fundraisers, charities and church festivals. He had a passion for gardening and knew everything there was to know about plants. He was proud of his vegetable gardens he planted annually and the vast number of rose bushes he planted around his home. He was an expert in growing gardenias and reviving plants thought to have no hope. He revived and nurtured a gardenia plant for 20 years which turned into a beautiful, unique 3 foot (over 90 cm) gardenia tree.
Christos loved the Church. He was a steadfast supporter of the Church throughout his lifetime. One of the first things he did once he arrived in Philadelphia was to inquire about the nearest church, which happened to be the church of Saint Demetrios in Upper Darby. He immediately became a member and remained as such until this day. He has been a pillar of the Saint Demetrios Church, actively supporting and volunteering for fundraising and charity events and warmly welcoming church goers each Sunday from the candle area of the church narthex. He was a true servant of God, upholding the morals and values of a true Christian.
Christos seemed to know “everything about everything” as he studied and read endlessly throughout his lifetime. He was fascinated by history, politics, the lives of great men and women and horticulture. Throughout his 77 years of age, he possessed a relentless thirst for knowledge and personal development. He kept abreast of all happenings around the world. He was a true historian and philosopher and was full of wisdom. Aside from his family, friends turned to him for advice due to his vast knowledge, experience in life and wisdom. His words always came from his heart, were honest, unbiased and full of genuine care, love and respect.
He loved life, despite its hardship and exuded strength and optimism even in the most dismal of times. In the past four years he fought some very serious illnesses, underwent four major surgeries including chemotherapy for a stomach cancer diagnosis in 2018, the same year he underwent quintuple bypass open heart surgery. He battled with great strength, never complained of the great pain he endured and charged forward with resiliency and positivity in the face of adversity as a true warrior. His one source of strength was derived from his roots in beautiful Vrontou, Pieria, at the foot of Mount Olympus, a place that infused great strength and energy within him each year he visited. This is where he wished to return to with his wife, permanently, in the near future however he was ultimately defeated by Covid and thus his wish was not fulfilled.
Christos was an Extraordinary Man and an Amazing Human Being with a gentle soul and heart of gold and will surely be remembered in this way. He was a gentleman and a worthy husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, uncle, cousin. Everything he touched “turned to gold,” because he nourished everything and everyone with great love and respect. He created beauty simply because beauty emanated from his pure soul. He had a smile that warmed the hearts of all and the strength of a warrior.
He will remain forever etched in the memory and forever live in the hearts of anyone who has crossed paths with him. He will be remembered for his relentless struggle to work hard and continually progress and provide for his family, for upholding steadfast morals and values, for his kindness and generosity, for his compassion, stoicism and honorable word, for his gentle and kind soul. He had his own way of inspiring respect and trust without the use of many words. He will be remembered for his outstanding character and his loving nature. He leaves this life victoriously with dignity and enters the next with a pure heart and soul to rest among eternal beauty and light where his soul rightly belongs.
Friends and family are welcome to attend his viewing at 12 noon on Friday, 22nd January 2021 at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Lane, Upper Darby, PA 19082. His funeral service will follow at 1:00 pm. His body will be laid to rest in Greece. The funeral service will also be live streamed on the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Facebook page, as well as on their web page www.saintdemetrios.org
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to:
Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Ln, Upper Darby, PA 19082 or
Saint Demetrios Philoptochos Society in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and/or
A serious cause related to COVID-19 considering that our father passed away from this terrible virus. The General Hospital of Katerini in Greece has an IMMEDIATE NEED for HIGH FLOW (OXYGEN) RESPIRATORY MACHINES. These machines are needed for the treatment of COVID-19 and in many cases, if they are used, intubation (use of ventilator) may be avoided. In memory of our father, we would like to donate, with your support, these critical respiratory machines in hopes that together we can help prevent others from succumbing to his horrible disease. A donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated.
You may donate through a GOFUNDME we started at https://gofund.me/31534258 or by bank transfer to the below account directly in Greece:
Stadiou 40, 10252 Athens, Greece
BIC / SWIFT CODE: CRBAGRAA
Account Number: 375002340005453
Recipient: Irene Nektaria Papachristos
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Christos Papachristos, please visit our floral store.