Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Yiayia Tom

It has been a rough 2014. My life has been turned upside down and shaken, and my heart has cracked in several places. Joy is creeping back, but sorrow invades just the same. I have had to say goodbye to both of my grandmothers in a matter of months.
My Yiayia Tom passed away this month, the same month as her birthday and her wedding anniversary. She lived a long life, and I was honored to write her obituary. This is an extended version to describe a bit of her history. Glad I can share it here.

Lula Thomas Karas, 93, of Arlington, Virginia, died of natural causes in Plano, Texas on August 18, 2014.
Born on August 8, 1921, in Dikiti Fragista, Greece, Lula was the fourth child born to her parents, Gus and Martha Lampros. During World War II, Nazi troops invaded their village, forcing them to move to Athens, Greece, until immigrating to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1946. Lula was the only sibling surviving her brothers George(Panarhea), John(Nitsa), Archie, and her twin sister who died as a child.
On Aug. 21, 1947, Lula married Greek American and war veteran, Thomas A. Karas (deceased) and moved to Miami, Florida where her first daughter, Jeannie was born. Later, they moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, the birthplace of their second daughter, Martha. The young family settled in Arlington, Virginia, establishing two successful family restaurants. In 2008, she moved to Plano, Texas, to live close to family.

Lula will be remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful cook and generous hostess, even up until her last weeks. Her family and friends will treasure her village recipes and her many stories of a life well-lived.

Lula is survived by her two daughters and their husbands: Jeannie (William Francis), Martha (Timothy Georgelas), her sister-in-law, Nitsa Lampros (John). She is also survived by her four nephews, a niece, 8 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

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