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1942 – 2024

Yanis Pyrgos died on January 20, 2024. I knew him for many decades and became acquainted with most facets of his life but most importantly I knew him and his late wife Anthoula as friends.
Yanis insisted that his name be written with one “n” because it expressed his connection with simple people. He was born in Greece and came to Canada in March 1967 (just a few months ahead of the junta) where he met and, in 1970, married Anthoula, a diminutive ball of fire and energy. They had two children, Elizabth and Dimitris who gave them three grandchildren.
Yanis worked in the airplane manufacturing industry and his last job was with Bombardier Aerospace in the maintenance department. One characteristic of even that that speaks volumes about Yanis is that he maintained his friendship with co-workers for years after retiring from his job. He met with former co-workers right until his death for camaraderie and food. They were friends for life and define one of Yanis’s cardinal characteristics.
He kept in touch with friends in Australia that he had not seen but not forgotten for decades.
He was involved in Greek community affairs for decades. For years he was an officer with the Thessalonikeans Society of Toronto and later as Secretary of the Pan-Macedonian Association of Ontario (now known as The Pan-Macedonian Federation of Canada). It was there that I met Yanis where I was president, and he was secretary for some 14 years.
I can attest to his ability and selfless service to the Association, to the countless hours that he dedicated to get the work done but that is not the real point of this article. The relationship among a few Pan-Mac board members evolved into a friendship that outlasted our service as board members.
Yanis had a particular taste for tsipouro, not any tsipouro but metavrasmeno. He was especially fond of the tsipouro that I brought from my friend Christos and whenever I gave him a bottle he would ask “is this from Christos?” Tsipouro is best drunk with tourshi and that was provided by First Vice President Tereza Nikolaidis, to us Madam Alpha.
Thirteen years ago, Yanis became a grandfather and he never failed to tell us what Leonidas was doing or saying or up to. His son Demetrios gave him another grandson with another heroic name: Maximos. His daughter Elizabeth pitched in with Yanis’ and Anthoula’s third grandson: Eric. The grandsons and the love they lavished on them made life worth living.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans for Yanis and Anthoula. She died on November 20, 2023, and he survived her by a mere two months. They leave a huge gap and the only thing that remains is memories. Memories of talking, eating, drinking, travelling by bus full of Pan Mac people to major cities and later talking about them and remembering.
Among all the rich memories, however, one stands out and that is the remembrance of friendship.
Farewell, Yanis, and thank you for the prime memories of a friendship of undiminished splendour.

January 26, 2024

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