Tony Papas, 90, died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. Born in Kapsia, Tripoli, Greece, Tony is the son of the late Spiro and Georgia nee Verveniotis Papantoniou. Traveling on the ocean liner Saturnia in 1951, Tony made the 12-day journey from Greece to Italy, through Ellis Island, to Chicago, where his uncle Peter Papas and his family welcomed him.
Supporting his family here and in Greece, Tony worked tirelessly for Papas News. He loved his customers at the Logan Square, Chicago and State, and Washington/Civic Center stations, greeting them with a “hon” and a “pal,” and taking care to have orders ready for his regulars before they arrived.
Tony was a member of the St. Haralambos parish since its early days at Humboldt Park. He served on the parish council and was especially active when the parish relocated to its current Niles location. He was a fixture at church picnics and always had candy and a smile and a pinch on the cheek for the children.
A lifelong sports fan, Tony favored the Olympiakos soccer team and the Chicago White Sox. Whether it be soccer, basketball, football or baseball, college or professional, there wasn’t a statistic he didn’t know or a play he couldn’t predict. He loved the seeing the championship Bulls play and was delighted when the Cubs won the pennant in 2016.
Tony relished playing games, ranging from tavli to kolitsina to Yahtzee to bean bag tosses in Debbie’s backyard, with family and friends. On the rare occasion when he did not join in to play a board game, he wanted to serve as referee and brought his whistle to the table.
Tony’s outdoor interests included gardening – his flower is the sunflower – and grilling. He insisted on perfection with the barbecue. And only recently, after years of being in charge of the souvla, Tony passed on his precise Easter-lamb prep techniques and responsibilities to his son-in-law and grandsons.
He is survived by his wife Dina nee Andrianopoulos, his adoring and heartbroken daughters Georgia (John) and Debbie (Rhett) Papas, his precious grandsons John and Jacob Papas Dennerline, his siblings Nick (Theodora) Papas and Sofia (Demetrios) Verveniotis, and many cousins, nieces and nephews in the United States, Greece and Canada.
Visitation will be on Sunday, November 20, 2022, from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Nelson Funeral Home, 820 Talcott Road, Park Ridge, Illinois, 60068. Funeral service will be held at Holy Taxiarhai & St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 7373 N. Caldwell Road, Niles, Illinois 60714 on Monday, November 21, 2022, at 11:00 am. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, River Grove, Illinois.
May his memory be eternal.