Emmanuel N. “Mike” Pantazis passed away peacefully at home in Pearland, Texas on July 15th 2020 at the age of 92. He was born in Stavrodromi, Greece on October 20, 1927 to Nicholas and Cleopatra Pantazis.
His childhood in Greece was spent attending school, learning to garden and tending to the family’s animals with his mother and beloved grandmother Ecaterini. During his teenage years, he witnessed first-hand the Italian invasion and the German occupation of Greece during World War II. After World War II, Mike came to New York City to begin his education in electronics at the RCA Institute. His studies were cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950 for the Korean War. With his distinctive Greek accent, he was quickly nicknamed “Greek” by his sergeant. Mike became a radioman for the Army, and he served on the front lines. During one of the missions, he was captured and he was held as a Prisoner of War for more than two years. His only wish during that time, other than to see his family, was simply to eat a piece of good bread and some feta cheese.
After the war in Korea, Mike returned to New York and finished his degree in electronics. In 1960 he took a trip back to see his family in Greece where he met the beautiful Angeliki “Kiki” Adamopoulos. He was instantly smitten and Kiki and Mike married one year later.
Mike’s electronics work led him and his family to Houston, where he spent nearly 32 years in the aerospace industry working on the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle Programs. He made a tremendous difference in how software was utilized in flight simulation. Mike was also an inventor, with three patents to his name.
Mike’s greatest loves (other than Kiki, of course) were his grandchildren, gardening, dancing, traveling and serving his church. His five grandchildren always enjoyed playing with their Papou, and he was a tremendous part of their lives. He proudly showed them his garden, where together they would pick the carefully ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and beans that Kiki would cook into a delicious meal for all to enjoy together. Mike and Kiki never missed an opportunity to dance and were always the last ones to leave the dance floor. They passed their passion for dancing to their children and grandchildren. Mike enjoyed traveling with Kiki and they ventured many places all over the world. Mike was a member of The Order of AHEPA and was a Chairman of the beverage booth at the Original Greek Festival for many years. His children and grandchildren learned the importance of serving the church through his example.
At age 87, Mike became a published author with his memoir entitled “Stavrodromi”. He dedicated the book to his grandchildren, who had long encouraged him to share the stories of his early years and the war years. His book serves as a beautiful lasting legacy.
Mike is preceded in death by his father, Nicholas, his mother Cleopatra, his brothers Vassilis (Basil) Pantazis and Stavros (Steve) Pantages and his sister Demitroula (Toula) Vassilakis. He is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Angeliki, his son Nicholas (Thomasine) Pantazis, his daughter Patricia (Mike) Dewey, his grandchildren, Lauran Dewey (fiancé Chris), Dr. Adriana Pantazis Stanley (Jake), Michael Dewey (Madison), Elise Pantazis, Evi Dewey many nieces, nephews and friends.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses of The Methodist Hospital for their care of Mike throughout these past nine years, especially Dr. Juan Olivero Sr., Dr. Juan Olivero Jr. and Dr. Albert Raizner.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, July 20, 2020 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3511 Yoakum Boulevard, Houston TX 77006. Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the service will commence at 11:30 a.m. To view the services via live stream, please go to http://agoc.org/stream
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to: The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral (AGOC) Senior Citizen’s Fund or the (AGOC) Benevolent Fund.
May his memory be eternal!
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
3511 Yoakum Blvd., Houston TX 77006