Eleftheria (Terry) Kirkos died peacefully on June 8. 2021 in the loving embrace of her family. Survived by her three children Eve (Nick) Geroulis, Bill (Melanie) Kirkos, and Stacy (Dennis) Nikolopoulos; eight cherished grandchildren, Tasha, Elly, Gabriella, George, Alexandra, Stavros, Lea & Chris; sisters Helen Anastas, and Vicki (Denis) Fachard; sisters-in-law Joanne Gekas, Evdoxia Koumbis & Sophia Bekaris; and countless nieces, nephews, and all who knew and loved her as their aunt, cousin, and friend.
Born on Greece’s frontier of Norther Epirus in the village of Sopiki on March 10, 1940, Terry arrived in the United States in 1958 aboard the SS Queen Frederica with her youngest sister Vicki and mother, destined to settle in Rochester by ancient fates. A WWII refugee from the Balkans, Terry’s journey to America began with a note she discovered in the pocket of a coat that found its way to her refugee camp by the World Council of Churches. On it was written the name and address of Irma Smith of New York who would go on to sponsor Terry’s entire family to immigrate to America. She would leave her first home in the new world to forge a new life in Chicago with her husband Chris after marrying him in Rochester in the fall of 1962. Together, they would attend beauty school, open Terry’s Beauty Salon, later Kirkos Coiffures, and several other businesses over a 55 year marriage.
Terry straddled countless responsibilities with legendary selflessness, always putting the needs of her family before her own. She was utterly and completely devoted to her family. For decades, her home hosted countless family holidays and celebrations. Famous for her generosity of spirit, love of her grandchildren, fiercesome embrace of traditions and customs, she was celebrated far-and-wide for her commanding Epirotiki pita, which had a cult following. She was able to connect with people young and old alike with a genuine affection and relatability.
She worked hard to provide her children the experiences denied her, enrolling them in everything from piano, dance, and ice skating lessons, to Greek School, Sunday School, Boy Scouts, baseball, and gymnastics, while single-handedly chauffeuring kids, preparing remarkable nightly dinners, overseeing homework, serving as a PTA mom, sewing Halloween and folk costumes for Greek School parades, long before the “second shift” was on anyone’s radar. She opened the world to her children and taught them about their ancestry, whether through annual road trips to Rochester, countless trips to Greece and Europe, and Washington D.C. in 1976 to honor the U.S. Bicentennial.
Courageous, curious, and compassionate she worked side by side with her husband to promote the cause of Northern Epirus. She protested on the streets of Chicago against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. She had a deep and abiding commitment to social justice and progressivism. She was an optimist at her core and always found the good in everyone. That optimism carried her through the lonely Covid-19 lockdown. After a two-month medical decline that began in April, she suffered cardiac arrest requiring life support. She died peacefully in the arms of her three children, at Glenbrook Hospital. Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 8:30am at St. George Greek Orthodox Church 2701 N. Sheffield Avenue, Chicago. She will be interned next to her beloved husband at Elmwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St. George Church or the American Diabetes Association.
Her memory will carry on in her children. She will be missed but never forgotten. We hope the journey to meet Chris is a peaceful one. We love you yiayia. Toso poli.
May Her Memory Be Eternal.
We share in your sorrow, pain and loss on this day. Terry and Chris showed us all that it is possible to live life to its fullest with humanity, humility,
wisdom, generosity and grace.
Corine, Olivia, Adrien,Kevin.
May her memory be eternal and May your memories of her live shine like diamonds in your hearts.
To the Geroulis family. So sorry to hear of Eleftheria’s falling asleep in the Lord. May she rest in peace and may her memory be forever eternal.
Nick and Eve and the Geroulis family,
May her memory be eternal. Our deepest condolences. May she Rest In Peace.
To all the family,
Our most sincere condolences. We were sorry to hear of Terry’s passing and will remember her with much love. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Katsoulos family