Peter “Takis” Economopoulos, age 93, fell asleep in our Lord on October 17, 2021. Beloved husband of Margarita Economopoulos nee Spaniolou. Loving father of Maria (Angelo Kafkis), Chrysoula, and Vasili Economopoulos. Proud grandfather of Eleni and Panayioti Kafkis. Dear brother of Eleni (the late Periklis) Stathopoulou, Rita (the late Leonidas) Nassi, and the late Aphrodite Economopoulou and Theodoros (survived by Foteini) Economopoulos. Darling son of the late Vasilios and Maria (nee Markopoulou) Economopoulos. Dear uncle, cousin, godfather, and friend to many who will miss him dearly.
Born Panayiotis Economopoulos in the village of Kallirroi, Messinias in the southern part of Greece, he was known by his loved ones and throughout his life as Taki. He lived to see World War II, the Greek Civil War and the years after – some of modern Greece’s most difficult times. Taki moved to Athens in the 1950s with his eldest sister, Aphrodite, to help their family economically and open up opportunities for a better life. But his father, Vasilios, had planted the early seeds for Taki to immigrate to America, as Vasilios had done so in the early years of the 20th Century, only to return to Greece to fight in the Balkan Wars and began his family soon thereafter.
As life and opportunities in Greece were difficult in the 1950s and 1960s, Taki – like so many other young, ambitious Greeks during those days – set off overseas and immigrated to Chicago, Illinois in 1962. He started working as a bus boy and waiter, including at the famed Drake Hotel on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, but soon after began his own business. Quick Stop Gift Shop on the corner of Lincoln, Lawrence and Western in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood not only sold jewelry, eight tracks, records, newspapers and magazines from Greece, but also offered a gathering spot for the many Greeks who lived in the neighborhood at the time. He met his wife, Margarita, in 1968 and they were married in 1971, starting their family soon thereafter.
As times changed, Quick Stop closed and Taki delved into the restaurant business. Throughout these times, often tough as the restaurant business is not an easy one, he and Margarita raised their three children – Maria, Chrysoula and Vasili – and became a leader in Chicago’s Greek community, including as a founder and former president of Neo Kyma Messinias and former president of the PanMessinian Federation of USA and Canada. He leaves behind a huge legacy as a long-time leader in Chicago’s Greek community.
Throughout his life, Taki was passionate about his family, friends, his birthplace in Messinia and Greece. One of his proudest, most beloved roles was being an allgiving grandfather to his sweet Eleni and Panayioti, who he never said no to and loved beyond words. He also regularly kept in touch with beloved family and friends here at home and around the world until near the very end.
Taki and his family enjoyed a beautiful final summer together, where he had an exceptionally successful garden, and was active and sharp until his last days before going to the hospital. Taki will always be remembered for his heart of gold, his all-giving nature, his drive for perfection, his inability to sit still, and that he did everything with philotimo – the Greek word which means so much it’s hard to translate. It can be equated to a quest and expectation to always do things honorably, the right way. He led his life this way.
He was so loved by many, as we are already seeing with the outpouring of love and condolences we are receiving. Our family feels fortunate to have had him with us for his 93+ years. We will miss him and his sweet smile and voice dearly every day, but know that he is now resting peacefully, watching over us after his valiant fight the past weeks to stay here with us. Heaven now has another angel that will be watching over us. Thank you to everyone for your love, support, kind words and sharing of memories during this difficult time. May his memory be eternal ~ Αιώνια του η μνήμη.
The Economopoulos Family
Family and friends will meet at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 Sheffield Avenue, Chicago on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 10AM for visitation with funeral service to follow at 11AM. The funeral service may be viewed live at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Interment Ridgewood Memorial Park, Des Plaines, IL. In lieu of flowers, donations in Peter’s name to the family to make contributions to Hellenic charities of their choice, or Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation would be greatly appreciated. The family will notify donors of charities chosen. Arrangement by Memory Eternal Funeral Director, Ltd. 847- 375-0095.
May His Memory Be Eternal.