Nicholas H. PefanisJuly 5, 1930 ~ July 25, 2017 (age 87)
Nicholas Harry Pefanis passed away peacefully on July 25, 2017, he was 87 years old and is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 61 years, Penny Pefanis, his brother Angello Pefanis and his wife Basilia, his four sons; Harry Pefanis and his wife Jane, Terry Pefanis and his wife Susan, Dean Pefanis and his wife Tammy and Jim Pefanis; his nine grandchildren, Nick, Alex, Elisabeth, Corbin, Cole, Nick, Margot, Morgan and Trey Pefanis; his brother-in-law Dr. Anthony Lemper and his wife Diana; and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his older brother Jerry Pefanis and his wife Athena.
Nick was born on July 5, 1930 in Buffalo, NY to Greek immigrant parents Harelaos and Marianthy Pefanis. Growing up he was actively involved in the Boy Scouts and athletics. He was just one merit badge shy of being an Eagle Scout, and in high school he was a sprinter on the track team, played halfback on the football team and third base on the baseball team.
He was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1953; he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and was on the demolition team where he learned how to diffuse bombs. Following the Marine Corp he went to work for the Statler Hilton Corporation which was the start of his successful career in the hotel and restaurant business. His career included positions with Statler Hilton, The Fairmont Hotels in San Francisco, Tulsa and Atlanta and the Captain Cook Hotel in Alaska. During his career he served as an Executive Chef, a Food and Beverage Director and a General Manager, he also prepared meals for many dignitaries, including former U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. He was also an accomplished ice carver, creating ice sculptures for many hotel events. Following his career in the hotel and restaurant business, he pursued a real estate career in Alaska where he served as an executive with Hickel Investment Company.
Nick was always actively involved in the Greek Orthodox Church and Community where he lived. In Buffalo he was involved with the Sons of Pericles and AHEPA. In Anchorage he was actively involved in the development of a new Church and served as Board President for several years. In Anchorage he also hosted Archbishop Iakavos and Bishop Anthony, and, as the Greek Orthodox Church representative, he met Pope John Paul II during his visit to Anchorage. In 1988, Archbishop Iakovos presented Nick with The Archdiocesian Medal of St. Paul, the highest honor that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese bestows to worthy laymen for their service and dedication to the Church. In Houston, he was an active member in AHEPA and was two-time Greek League Fantasy Football champion.
In his free time he loved to bowl, play racquetball and workout at the MET, and when he was in Alaska he enjoyed dog mushing and assisting friends that participated in the Iditarod. In his retirement Papou (grandfather) was a short order cook for his grandchildren, spoiled the family pets with leftovers, and would prepare the best made-to-order meals for any family member or guest in his home.
Nick was liked by everyone he met, he will be remembered as a loving husband, caring father, nurturing Papou and a friend to many, and as the Greeks say, may his memory be eternal!
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from four o’clock until eight o’clock in the evening on Friday, August 4, 2017 at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services, 1734 West Alabama Street in Houston, with the Trisagion Prayers at seven o’clock.
The funeral service will be at one o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at St. George Orthodox Church at St. George Orthodox Church, 5311 Mercer Street in Houston. Burial services will follow at Forest Park Westheimer, 12800 Westheimer Road in Houston.
In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest a donation to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.