Sophie Savas (nee Sophia Paraskevopoulou) passed away peacefully on April 16, 2019, at the age of 93 and has joined her late husband, +John. She was born in July 1925 in Filiatra, Messinia, Greece, the daughter of Antonios and Adiamantia "Diamanto." She is survived by her children Diana, Jack (Jane), and Vanessa, her grandchildren Jackie (Andrew), John (Amanda), and Michael, and her great-granddaughter Audrey, as well as her brothers Panayiotis (+Georgia) and Stavros (Dimitra) Paraskevopoulos, her sister Evdokia Gonou, her sister-in-law and husband, Thelma and Sam Adams, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Sophie graduated from Filiatra High School in 1943 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1947, living for five years in Detroit with her father's identical twin brother and his family, which included her dear aunt "theia," her cousins of blessed memory, Lucy, Gust, and Tom, and her nephew Steve Paros. In 1952, she married John Savas, whom she had met while serving as maid of honor and he as best man at a friend's wedding. They resided in Michigan (Detroit and South Haven), Ohio (Canton and Cleveland), and finally Florida (Largo and Orlando).
Sophie was the consummate homemaker, wife, and mother. She took pride in her home and garden. Drivers would slow down to view her flowerbeds, overflowing with petunias and roses. She grew sweet, juicy organic beefsteak tomatoes the size of grapefruits, the likes of which can no longer be found. She was an intelligent, traditionally accomplished homemaker who loved to read, her most recent book Captain Corelli's Mandolin, set in the occupied Greece in which she had come of age.
She and her husband were founding members of St. Paul Greek Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio, where she was a member of the Philoptochos Society and the Daughters of Penelope. She was an active participant in the Greek Festivals at St. Paul's and later at Holy Trinity in Clearwater, where she would bake pastries for months ahead of the Festival. She was an outstanding pastry chef, whose dhiples, kourabiedhes, finikia, and koulourakia were unrivaled. She was also a fine cook with "meraki," with specialties such as avgolemono soup, dolmadhes with meat, rice, and avgolemono sauce, roasted chicken with orange rice, yiouvetsi, keftedhakia, and homemade American hamburgers, among other dishes. She was an outstanding party organizer. Her husband John used to call her "the hostess with the mostess." For her oldest daughter's college graduation, she single-handedly prepared a feast for 60 people in a day and a half. At the age of 50, she was the room mother for her youngest daughter's first-grade classroom, organizing the class parties and passing along her knowledge to the other mothers, who were young enough to be her children.
In addition to being a role model to family and friends in many areas, Sophie was a very social person and loyal friend. Among her lifelong best friends at present were the late Largo-resident Danai Sklavounos (nee Kai), who was one year ahead of her in high school in Greece, Effie Sorolis of Tampa, and Joann Schentur of Ohio. She was called several years ago by her beloved late best friend during her teen years in Greece, Anna Voga, who told her that while they had not seen each other recently, they would meet again in the next life.
Sophie faced life, its joys and tribulations, with grit, a stubborn perseverance and an unfailing belief in God, to whom she prayed nightly for her husband, children, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, adored great-granddaughter, and extended family. She leaves us with her unfailing love and a plethora of good memories.
*Donations in memory of Sophie Savas may be made to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando, Maitland, Florida, or to the Holy Trinity Philoptochos Society.*