Antigoni Dafnides, age 93, at rest on May 12, 2022. Beloved wife of 66 years to the late Christopher Dafnides, loving mother to Joanne (Elias) Matsakis and Tina (Greg) Riemer, adored grandmother of Nicholas (Terri) and Christopher (Monica) Matsakis, Antigone (Brian) Vesci, Steven and Alex Tapas, cherished great-grandmother to Peter, Alex, Catherine, Henry, Elias, and Meli; beloved sister to Olga Despotis, (deceased), and Gus (Lois) Pappademos, (deceased) sister in-law to Hope Zoumbas, and devoted aunt to George Despotis, Jim Zoumbas, Louis and Paul Pappademos. Born in the Greek village of Sopiki, Albania, she spent her childhood in Northern Epirus. When German soldiers bombed her village at age 12, she led her mother, aging grandfather, and younger siblings to safety over frozen mountains and into a new life in Northern Greece. She endured both Nazi occupation and the Greek civil war. She was saved from work camps in Yugoslavia just before she came to St. Louis with her family in 1947 at age 19. Antigoni sacrificed her own intense desire for an education to work full time to help support her younger siblings, Olga and Gus, to complete their education in the United States. Antigoni married Christopher Dafnides in 1950. The couple became lifelong stewards of both the Assumption and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox churches and built a life centered on family, church, and service. For 40 years, Antigoni cared for grandparents, parents, in-laws, her beloved sister Olga, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She also devoted a lifetime of service to the elderly and the poor. As a beautician, she volunteered at nursing homes where she attended to residents without charge. She was a constant baker at both Greek Orthodox churches for their fundraisers and regularly prepared the Eucharistic bread for Divine Liturgy. She was honored by the Hellenic Spirit Foundation with its prestigious Athena Award for her numerous philanthropic efforts and she was the St. Nicholas Philoptochos Woman of the Year. Antigoni was the matriarch of the family hosting all major holidays – made special by her incomparable homemade pitas with hand-rolled phyllo. She was happiest in any kitchen, where she lovingly prepared food for family and friends. Antigoni was a force of nature until her 90’s after which she suffered many physical hardships. Still those burdens vanished in the presence of grandchildren and great-grandchildren with her unconditional love giving her strength and purpose. Indeed, she adored all the children of her friends and extended family and always smiled with delight when they expressed their love for her as well. The family wishes to acknowledge May, who served as Antigoni’s primary caregiver for the past three years, and whose care enabled Antigoni to survive the Covid lockdowns when family visits were not permitted. Antigoni spent her final years at her daughter’s home, surrounded by loving family, where she was also tenderly cared for by May, Maria, and Lucy. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 PM on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at Kutis Funeral Homes, 10151 Gravois Road, St. Louis, Mo. (314) 842-4458. The funeral will be held at 10 AM on Monday, May 23, 2022 at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church at 1755 Des Peres Road, Town & Country, Mo. The family is planning a celebration-of-life event in Chicago after her three-month memorial service to enable koumbari and friends to express their respect and support. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the donations may be made to the Ladies of Philoptochos Societies of either Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 1755 Des Peres Road, Town & Country, MO 63131 or of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 4967 Forest Park Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108 or to the Greek American Rehabilitation & Care Centre, 220 1st Street ,Wheeling, IL 60090.
May her memory be eternal.