New York.- New York’s Greek Community paid its last respect to “Mr Greek TV” Dimitris Kastanas who passed away on Monday at age 70. Hundreds of people participated at the Funeral Service that took place at Greek Orthodox Church of St. Catherine and St. George, Astoria, NY, on Friday, officiated by Archbishop Demetrios of America.
He died from complications followed three days a successful open heart surgery he had undergone. a second open heart surgery at a hospital in Manhattan, while he had been dealing with health problems.
Born in Fthiotida, in the village of Molos, Kastanas studied law while working in the Ioniki-Laiki Bank and decided to leave Greece at the age of 25. He was married to Nomiki Papamichael-Kastana, with whom they had two children (Matina and George) and a granddaughter (Mary).
He was the former owner of the National Greek Television (NGTV), the first private Greek-owned TV channel in the US, and after 37 years of running the station last August decided to sell it to a group of Greek-Americans.
His first start in TV dated to Sept. 25, 1975, when he inaugurated a Greek weekly show on a U.S. station, creating new horizons for the Greek-American community. Speaking for NGTV and his efforts to keep it alive, he said that, “It was no easy a task, not only for both the establishment and operation of a Greek television station in the United States, but its preservation as well, given that it still is the only Greek-speaking, 24-hour television station, outside the Greek borders.”
Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, New Democracy (ND) party Political Committee secretary Manolis Kefaloyiannis and ND’s Overseas Hellenism secretary Takis Skandalakis on Tuesday expressed their condolences over the death of Greek American journalist Dimitris Kastanas.
Avramopoulos said that Kastanas “gave a voice to Hellenism of America and at the same time he brought the American public into contact with ‘the image of a Greece that made us all proud with its history and its culture’.”
Kedikoglou said that Kastanas “succeeded in winning the hearts of the millions of Greek American viewers, conveying the image of a Greece that made them proud for its history and its culture”.
Kefaloyiannis stressed that Kastanas devoted his life to the briefing of Overseas Hellenism, while Skandalakis said that the deceased “for many decades constituted one of the basic pylons of Hellenism of New York”.
State Senator Michael Gianaris made the following statement:
“Demetris Kastanas was a pioneer for the Greek American community at a time when many of them were still new to this country. As the founder and owner of National Greek Television, his passing is a great loss to Greek-American community. For 25 years, Mr. Kastanas brought our community together through NGTV’s Greek news, sports and entertainment broadcasts as well as locally-produced programming. He will be sorely missed, and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”