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Tsintzina Society Update  

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Early Greek American Mass Migration
My name is James Peter Gianukos. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I am the son of a Greek immigrant who came to America at the age of 13 in 1914. On my motherís side of the family, I am also the grandson of a Greek immigrant who came to this country in 1885 at the age of 19. He was brought here by his uncle who had immigrated to the United States in 1873. Both of my parents and all of my close relatives were born in a nearly 2000-year-old village high in the Parnon Mountains outside of Sparta, Greece. A village called Tsintzina.

Iíd like to tell you a story. Since the time of Homer, we Greeks have loved telling stories. And this story is quite amazing. One that you could not make up. And more importantly, it is a true story supported by uncontested historical facts and research. Itís the story of early Greek mass migration to America before the turn of the Twentieth Century. And more than a story, it is as much a personal journey of discovery.

This story can be read in its entirety in the this PDF file. Early Greek Migration

Helen Stam    

ONEONTA Ė Helen Stam, age 96, a life-long resident of Oneonta, NY, died peacefully at home on June 17, 2020, surrounded by her loved ones after a long battle with Parkinsonís.

Helen was born on Sept. 16, 1923, to the late Harry G. and Mary N. Lambros (Zaharis) at Fox Hospital.  She graduated from Oneonta High School in 1941.

For over 50 years, Helen assisted her father, and later her brother George, with day-to-day operations of Diana Restaurant, a well-known eatery in Oneonta for 70 years.  She retired in 1991 when George sold the business.

Helen married Sam T. Stam in 1954 at the Greek Orthodox Church in Binghamton.  Sam was a Sales Manager at LaMonica Beverages for over 30 years.  After he retired in 1985, he and Helen enjoyed many great years with their family and friends, traveling to Greece, Florida, and many other places. Sam died in 2001 from Alzheimerís complications.

Helen is survived by her son, Nicholas (Linda); daughter, Stephanie (Gunter) Steege; stepdaughter-in-law, Carol Stam; her brother, Nick (Sharon) Lambros; her sister-in-law, Mary Lambros; her grandsons, Christopher Stam, Gregory Stam, Alex Steege, Nikolas Steege, and Darle Stam.  She is also survived by many dear nieces and nephews.

Helen is predeceased by her husband, Sam T. Stam; stepson, Thomas (Carol) Stam; brother, George Lambros; sister, Angie Bertuzzi; brothers-in-law, Sam Bertuzzi and Nick Farmakis, and sister-in-law, Mary Farmakis.

In addition to being a dedicated and loving mother, Helen enjoyed get-togethers with friends and family, playing bridge, tackling New York Times Sunday crosswords, catching the latest movies, and watching ballgames at Damaschke Field.  She dearly loved her grandchildren, hosting many cookouts and outdoor games in her big backyard at her home.

Helen will be deeply missed by family, friends, and all who knew her.

Nikolaos Caravasos

Nikolaos Caravasos, fondly known also as Nick and Nikos, was both a proud Greek and a proud American. 
Born on 28 February 1938 in the village of Zoupena, Greece, nestled between two small hills at the foot of Mt. Parnonas, in the heart of the Peloponnese near Sparta, he spent his childhood growing up there and also in the nearby village of Tsintzina. Nick lived through World War II and saw the Germans destroy his village and then also through the Civil War in Greece that followed which was perhaps even worse, and he authored a book in both Greek and English entitled "Recollections of Survival." Ravaged by the effects of the war, his family came to America for a better life. 

Nick's family had to struggle to make a life for themselves in West Virginia where they had settled, so he worked from when he was a boy and learned the value of an honest living. Despite those difficulties, Nick wanted to pursue a higher education and reached for the stars in life, and he was the first in his family to finish college. He graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of West Virginia and subsequently also earned a Masters in Management and Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Nick worked for almost 40 years for The Boeing Company and held a managerial position designing commercial and military aircrafts. Following his retirement from Boeing, Nick continued his career as a consultant for the Department of Defense at the Pentagon.

Nick met the one and only love of his life, Maria Papaspiridakou, when he was a boy in Greece and loved her ever since during the many, many decades together. Even after he came to America, they continued to keep in touch as she grew up in Greece and went to law school there. They ultimately married in Sparta, Greece in 1962, and she then joined him in the United States. Even though they lived the most wonderful life in the U.S. for 56 1/2 years together, they loved Greece just as much and continued to return every summer and sailed to dozens and dozens of islands through the years, finally settling on their beloved island of Chios that became like a second home.

Nick had a tremendous love for life and could dance the Sirtaki with the best of them. He loved traveling throughout Europe, open sea swimming and sailing in the Aegean Sea, gardening, and baking his own bread. He was also the kind of person who always went out of his way to help everyone, even beyond his means.

Nick is survived by his wife of more than five and a half decades of the happiest years of their lives, Maria Caravasos, as well as his brother, George Karras. Nick is also survived by his daughter, NiaLena Caravasos, who is a federal and white collar criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, and of whom he was most proud and would always tell people about. His life and legacy and indelible spirit live on in them and in the countless people who loved him.






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